Cultivate the intelligence to ask questions – and the courage to question those questions

Sometimes we ask intelligent questions about spirituality and demand immediate answers. But frequently our questions stem from dubious assumptions and downright misconceptions that need to be amended before we can understand the answers.

The Bhagavad-gita illustrates this process of questioning one’s questions. In its first chapter (01.35) Arjuna asks several rhetorical questions that are meant primarily to justify his views and choices. Krishna responds to Arjuna by questioning those questions. He challenges and counters the presumption that gave birth to those questions. That presumption is Arjuna’s misidentification with his material body. When Arjuna shows the courage to let his questions be questioned, he then understands how his materialistic paradigm was fundamentally, fatally flawed. Thereafter, he gets a new vision of life: its spiritual nature, its divine essence and its devotional purpose. With this vision, Arjuna finds his questions automatically answered, his course of action indubitably clarified and his determination unshakably restored.

The Gita thus illustrates the pre-requisites for acquiring spiritual wisdom: not only the intelligence to ask questions, but also the courage to question those questions.

Without this courage, we will simply attempt to fit the Gita’s spiritual wisdom into a convenient corner in the cupboard of our materialistic preconceptions. We may feel satisfied at having understood the Gita, but we will stay deprived of much of its empowering wisdom.

With this courage, we will gradually recognize that Gita wisdom offers an entirely new conceptual cupboard. When we revise our preconceptions according to the Gita’s worldview, then we too will experience the dramatic transformation and dynamic empowerment experienced by Arjuna. We will progressively realize our core identity as indestructible spiritual beings and our ultimate destiny as blissful participants in a life of endless love with Krishna.

Bhagavad Gita Chapter 01 Text 35

“O maintainer of all living entities, I am not prepared to fight with them even in exchange for the three worlds, let alone this earth. What pleasure will we derive from killing the sons of Dhritarashtra?”

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Author: Chaitanya Charan Das

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