XVI - Page 156 Home | Index | Previous | Next

Ignorance is being Unaware of your True Nature

When Krishna called Arjuna ignorant did it mean that Arjuna had no education? No, it did not mean that at all. Arjuna had mastered a great number of skills; he was well trained in the martial arts, in the art of administration and many other professional skills. But in the field of spirituality he had no knowledge. Here he exhibited real ignorance. People use their capacities and faculties to specialize in one particular field and develop a proficiency in it. Some people use their faculties for mastering music, others write poetry, others develop skills in painting and sculpture. Among scientists, one person will achieve excellence in the area of physics, another in the area of chemistry, another in mathematics, still another in biology. In that way they may have made extraordinary contributions, each in his own particular area. But they do not know much about other areas of knowledge.

The only one who has complete mastery and proficiency in all areas is God. That is why he has been described as omniscient. One who is omniscient is also omnipotent and all-pervading. Only God has these three qualities, omniscience, omnipotence and omnipresence. Knowing the past, present and future, and knowing that Arjuna was ready, Krishna undertook to teach Arjuna the great spiritual truths. He told Arjuna, "Recognize the ephemeral nature of the body and never forget its unchanging basis. With that divine basis as your focus, discharge your duties. To begin with you must get rid of all your attachments. You are overwhelmed by attachment to the body. This attachment is very dangerous. It will destroy all your powers of discrimination." There is a small story to illustrate this.