Be not just inquisitive but also submissive

The Bhagavad-gita (1.1) begins with Dhritarashtra’s inquiry to Sanjay about the events on the Kurukshetra battlefield.

Sanjay responds by narrating the conversation between Krishna and Arjuna, which begins with Arjuna overwhelmed by worldly attachment for his relatives. Krishna’s profound metaphysical analysis centered on a devotional worldview removes Arjuna’s illusion, as he acknowledges in the Gita (18.73).

Dhritarashtra is afflicted by a similar worldly attachment for his evil-minded son Duryodhana. But hearing the Gita doesn’t remove Dhritarashtra’s illusion.

Both Dhritarashtra and Arjuna are inquisitive; both face more or less similar ethical dilemmas; and both hear the same message. Yet Arjuna alone is enlightened. Why?

Because he is not just inquisitive but also submissive.

The Gita (04.34) exhorts seekers who approach enlightened seers to be both inquisitive (pariprashnena) and submissive (pranipatena). In fact, this verse places submissiveness before inquisitiveness.

Without submissiveness, inquisitiveness remains superficial, skirting around substantial issues. Dhritarashtra’s inquiry is little more than a call for a news report.

Arjuna also speaks briefly in a non-submissive argumentative mode in the Gita’s first chapter, wherein he justifies acting according to his attachments. But he soon realizes the futility of such rationalization and surrenders (02.07), inquiring submissively about the best course of action. Based on the answers, he revises his conceptions and redirects his affections.

In contrast, Dhritarashtra, despite hearing Gita wisdom, holds on to his attachment, and so has to endure the agony of the destruction of all his sons. Only after his attachment is thus hopelessly frustrated does he become submissive to the counsel of his brother Vidura and thereby becomes enlightened.

We can save ourselves of much frustration if we follow Arjuna’s example. We can choose to be submissive by being ready for intellectual revision and emotional redirection. The earlier we become submissive, the faster Gita wisdom enlightens us.

Bhagavad Gita Chapter 04 Text 34

"Just try to learn the truth by approaching a spiritual master. Inquire from him submissively and render service unto him. The self-realized souls can impart knowledge unto you because they have seen the truth."

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6 Comments

  1. excellent pieece of advice

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  2. I am now reading the Gita with the sincere hope and prayers that I will understand the Lord’s affections and directions. Yet, there are times when I get confused.

    From some of the verses in the Gita, the Lord has acknowledged our tendency to become confused. That is why He has spoken about our approaching a spiritual master and inquiring from him submissively.

    Hare Krishna!

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  3. Its a great explanation!!!

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  4. Very enlightning prabhuji,
    Thank you

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  5. Be inquisitive & Submissive

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  6. thank you pr ji. once a person is submisive , then inquisitiveness follows. inquisiiveness involves application of mind. mind is one of the three parts of he subtle body. inqisitiveness before submissiveness may not be on spiritual platform, but inquisitivesness after submissiveness is definately KC. ( situated on spiritual plaform ).this KC changes the subtle body gradually, to the spiritual body ( GBTGH )

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