Exposition enters easiest through an envelope of emotion

The Bhagavad-gita is a treatise of profound philosophical wisdom. And it is also a message of undying spiritual love.

Towards the Gita’s end, Krishna tells Arjuna to deliberate and do as he desires (18.63). On facing this moment of decision after a deep discussion, Arjuna becomes pensive. Seeing him pondering the Gita’s multi-level, multi-layer discussion, Krishna’s heart overflows with compassion. He declares that he will speak the most confidential message for Arjuna’s benefit because he loves him strongly (18.64). Then (18.65), he repeats an earlier verse (09.34), but with a significant shift in emphasis. The earlier verse had focused on what we need to do to attain him; this verse focuses on what Krishna will do if we strive to devote ourselves to him – out of his love for us, he will ensure that we attain him. This inspiring assurance takes the Gita’s intellectual tour-de-force to a befitting, riveting emotional finale.

Krishna’s example of loving exposition reflects a universal psychological truth. We don’t learn simply through logical presentation of sound wisdom; we learn also and often primarily through the emotional envelope in which that wisdom is presented. When we know that someone loves us and when they speak lovingly to us, our receptivity to their words increases, even if they speak truths difficult to understand or accept.

When we see the Gita as both an exposition on philosophy and an expression of love, we respond with both our head and our heart, submitting our head to its omniscient speaker and opening our heart to the omni-benevolent lover. And when we share the Gita with others, we strive to explain not just its philosophical teachings accurately but also convey its essential message of love gently, sensitively, appealingly.

Exposition enveloped in affection brings lasting transformation, redirecting the human heart from the world to Krishna.

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4 Comments

  1. Thank you so much Prabhu 🙂

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  2. Very nicely explained comparing 9.34 and 18.65. Thank you Prabhu.

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    • Excellent; thank you!

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