The perfection of devotional learning is not just learning but also learning to keep learning

Learning can refer to both the process and the product: the process of learning, and its product, becoming a person with learning.

In learning about Krishna, the product increases our eagerness for the process. Knowledge about Krishna stimulates our desire to know more about him. The Bhagavad-gita demonstrates this through Arjuna’s speech (10.1218). The four preceding verses (10.0811) comprise the four-verse essence of the Gita (Chatur-shloki Gita). After hearing these nutshell verses, Arjuna confirms his understanding of the essence by acknowledging Krishna’s supreme position (10.12-13). He also accepts fully (10.14) everything Krishna has said, including hyperbolic-sounding statements such as “not even the gods know me.” (10.02) Thereafter (10.15) Arjuna stresses Krishna’s infinitude by declaring that only the infinite can know the infinite. These statements reveal his understanding of both the essence of Krishna’s message – his supremacy – and the extent of his glories: infinite and incomprehensible.

Taste for Krishna keeps us eternally enlightened and excited.

At this juncture, Arjuna had two readymade reasons to end the conversation: “In essence, I have understood you” or “In extent, no one can understand you.” But he expands the discussion by asking Krishna to speak his glories further (10.16), especially as they are manifested in the material world (10.17). His purpose is not to know Krishna completely – something that is well neigh impossible, but to relish his glories endlessly (10.18).

Arjuna thus exemplifies eagerness to keep learning even after becoming learned. By such eagerness, he demonstrates that the perfection of devotional learning is not just knowing Krishna, but getting an inexhaustible taste for knowing him more and more.

Getting that taste is the perfection of learning and indeed of life. Taste for Krishna keeps us eternally enlightened and excited: enlightened because attraction to Krishna is the best illusion-dissipater, and excited because his glories are always fresh and relishable.

Bhagavad Gita Chapter 10 Text 18

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