Chapter II: 7
|My heart is overpowered by the taint of pity. My mind is confused as to duty. I ask thee, tell me decisively what is good for me. I am thy disciple. Instruct me who has taken refuge in thee.|
This is one of the greatest verses in the scripture. It is the spark that ignites the magazine of wisdom.
Much of the perversion that our philosophy has been subjected to of late can be directly attributed to the tragic fact that we have ignored an ancient wise injunction, "Do not proffer advice unless you are asked to."
If spiritual knowledge is treated as a commodity, the seller goes on his knees pleading with the prospective buyer! The latter feels that he (and therefore his own ignorance) is superior to the former's "wares." He might condescend to buy, but remodels it to suit his taste, affixes his own label to it and remarkets it. The result is evident in any bookshop.
The guru waits not only for the disciple to ask, but to get into the proper attitude of receptivity. If the disciple has made no effort to deal with his problem or has his own solution to it, he is not receptive. If he has reached the end of his own resources he does not doubt the guru! Unless the disciple completely surrenders or empties himself, he cannot benefit by instruction from even God himself! The disciple has to discard his own "knowledge" (ignorance) at the door when he enters the guru's abode. And, of course, he will leave the abode through the gate of true wisdom, thus leaving ignorance behind.
One who thus surrenders himself to the guru should wish for "shreyas," i.e., his ultimate, enduring and supreme good which is God-realization. Arjuna, the ideal aspirant, thrice insisted upon shreyas (1:31, 11:5 and 7). The Katha upanishad makes a clear distinction between shreyas, which is sought by the wise, and preyas (pleasure) sought by the fool.
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