Let the pat on the back for our intellectual conquests not become a nail in the coffin of our devotional prospects

Let the pat on the back for our intellectual conquests not become a nail in the coffin of our devotional prospects

The Bhagavad-gita declares repeatedly that Krishna can be known only through devotion, as in 08.22, 11.5311.54, 18.55, for example.

Why is devotion the only means to comprehension?

Because Krishna is transcendental to all our material conceptions and categories, and so his greatness and sweetness can be truly relished only when we become transcendental to such notions – or at least we begin diligently the process for attaining such transcendence. If we don’t practice such a purificatory process, we tend to pigeonhole him into the cupboard of our existing conceptual categories by viewing him as a Hindu god, poetic seer, shrewd diplomat, South Indian myth, Indian Machiavelli or a pseudo-religious Casanova.

By thus assigning to Krishna a place in our conceptual framework, we may pat ourselves on the back for having understood him. But that pat may well be a nail in the coffin for our devotional prospects if it deprives us of the impetus for exploring the divine mystery deeper and thereby denies us the taste of the sweetness of pure devotion. The Gita (03.32) cautions that a judgmental envious attitude can blunt all our knowledge and leave us deluded.

Does this mean that we have to reject our intelligence for understanding Krishna?

No, not at all. We simply have to subordinate the intelligence to the process of bhakti-yoga, being patient and diligent for experiential revelation to grant us understanding of the things that intellectual deliberation fails to comprehend.

The Gita (18.70) assures that when we use our intelligence in a mood of submissive service and spiritual open-mindedness, study of Krishna becomes redefined as a form of worship with the paraphernalia of the intelligence, thereby opening our heart to relish his supreme sweetness.

Bhagavad Gita Chapter 08 Text 22

Money unmakes those who make making money their life's purpose
The confidentiality of devotion is not due to the frugality of divine grace, but the scarcity of human desire
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  1. I had happened to hear a story from Radha Gopinath, when Brahmaji thinks of Krishna as an ordinary cowherd boy and tries to play a trick with him. Upon facing the reality he surrenders. At this point Brahmaji made a very good statement, ‘People may think they know Krishna, but I have just started to know him’. If Brahmaji can say this, then we are too foolish to pat ourselves of knowing him.

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  2. Thank you for the insight into the how intelligence should be used – not merely in a dry way but in a subordinate way in Bhakthi yoga.

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