How to share knowledge effectively

Spoon-feeding someone means giving them so much information so pre-digested that it neither requires nor allows any further thinking or effort. Usually, the word spoon-feeding has a negative connotation, because it implies that people are inept, and that they can’t or won’t grow. Still, we may need to provide people with spoons according to their needs. That is, we may need to provide them resources to learn according to their requirements. 

Let’s see how this balanced mode of teaching is demonstrated in the Bhagavad-gita. After explaining various levels of spiritual growth and various methods of spiritual practice, Krishna urges Arjuna to deliberate deeply on what has been spoken and then do as he desires (18.63). This implies that Arjuna is being encouraged to think and is not being spoon fed. 

Ten verses later (18.73), Krishna asks whether Arjuna has heard clearly and understood properly. The implication, as explained by Gita commentators, is that Krishna is ready to repeat whatever is unclear. That is, Krishna is ready to provide Arjuna the spoons he needs.  

When we too help people to become independently thoughtful, then they can use their own god-given intelligence to come to a mature decision. If we spoon-feed them, then even if they take up spirituality, they may not have the necessary intellectual and spiritual framework when they face life’s challenges constructively. Losing their faith in those situations, they may abandon their spirituality. If, however, we don’t provide them any spoons at all, that is, if we don’t provide spiritual knowledge intelligibly and if we don’t address their queries adequately, they may again falter in their spirituality. 

Therefore offering spoons but not spoon-feeding is the balanced way to share spiritual wisdom in a way that fosters the audience’s growth. 

One-sentence summary:

Don’t spoon-feed people, but do give them a spoon so that they can feed themselves.

Think it over:

  • What is wrong with spoon-feeding knowledge?
  • While sharing knowledge, why do people need to be provided spoons?
  • Do you tend to spoon-feed others or provide them spoons? How can you improve your sharing of knowledge?


18.63: Thus I have explained to you knowledge still more confidential. Deliberate on this fully, and then do what you wish to do.

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1 Comment

  1. Excellent Gita daily spoon (article)

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