The Gita equips the thoughtful to become more faithful and the faithful to become more thoughtful

Some people say, “Thoughtfulness and faithfulness don’t go well together. If someone thinks too deeply, many of the things they are called to believe will be found intellectually indefensible and their faith will be undermined. Conversely, if someone wants to deepen their faith, they need to stop asking too many questions and focus on just believing.” 

It’s true that thoughtfulness taken to the extremes of skepticism and cynicism makes faith impossible. And faithfulness taken to the extremes of sentimentality and gullibility makes thoughtfulness impossible. 

But if we avoid both extremes, we can have a healthy balance and blend of thoughtfulness and faithfulness. In fact, the Bhagavad-gita itself demonstrates such an integration. 

The Gita is essentially a philosophical discussion. Understanding its reasoning requires sustained serious thought. Simultaneously, the Gita’s worldview centers on a personal divinity, Krishna, with whom we can connect by faith and devotion. Thus, it addresses both the thoughtful head and the faithful heart. 

This integration of thoughtfulness and faithfulness is especially seen toward the Gita’s conclusion. Therein, the Gita doesn’t issue commandments but outlines choices and consequences (18.58) and urges serious deliberation on its message before making a conscientious choice (18.63). Simultaneously, it calls for loving surrender to Krishna, assuring that he will protect us from all negative ramifications (18.66). Deliberation requires thoughtfulness, whereas surrender requires faithfulness. 

Overall, for the faithful, the Gita provides analytical structures, equipping them to become more thoughtful. And for the thoughtful, it provides philosophical conviction in its devotional conclusions, helping them become more faithful. 

Whatever we are more inclined to —  the head or the heart — we can find in the Gita resources for our spiritual growth. And the synergy of the head and the heart can powerfully propel us to ultimate fulfillment. 

Think it over:

  • When do thoughtfulness and faithfulness not go well together?
  • How does the Gita integrate thoughtfulness and faithfulness?
  • How does the Gita help both the thoughtful and the faithful?

***

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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