Outreach requires that we speak in the conceptual language that our audience understands
Suppose a speaker delivers an eloquent talk, but in a language that the audience doesn’t understand. The speaker’s effort gets wasted.
Just as speaking to an audience in an unfamiliar verbal language bears little fruit, so too does speaking in an unfamiliar conceptual language. We all have our conceptual language – our inner framework of assumptions, reasonings and conclusions. Our conceptual language, which can also be called our worldview, is the tool with which we make sense of things. Whatever we encounter in life, we try to fit it within our worldview. If something doesn’t fit in, we frequently neglect it and move on with our life.
When we share Gita wisdom with people, we introduce them to a whole new worldview, a magnificent Weltanschauung that answers life’s big questions coherently and cogently. But these answers don’t always make sense to people habituated to a different conceptual language. Consequently, truths that are to us self-evident seem to them questionable, even incomprehensible. When we see them not accepting those truths, we may label or reproach them, thereby agitating and alienating them. Pertinently, the Bhagavad-gita (03.26) urges us to not disturb people’s minds, but to elevate them gradually.
To elevate them thus, we need to understand their conceptual framework. Because the mainstream culture is materialistic, most people, who are themselves materialistic, don’t usually feel the need to understand spiritual knowledge, just as most people don’t usually feel the need to learn a foreign language. So, to communicate effectively with them, the onus is on us to learn their language and therein make Gita wisdom intelligible. When we invest due time and thought to phrase spiritual wisdom in the contemporary conceptual language, things start making increasing sense to them.
Once people become inspired enough to learn the Gita’s conceptual language, they themselves realize Gita wisdom to be relatable, reasonable and relishable – supremely relishable.
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