XVI - Page 158 Home | Index | Previous | Next

You must Live the Teachings

A great sage, while on a pilgrimage, reached a village in the south of India. In the temple of this village a number of people had assembled. A learned teacher was expounding the teachings of the Gita. The teacher was reading the text, the disciples would repeat the verses and then the teacher would give the appropriate commentaries. One particular disciple was found sitting in a corner profusely shedding tears. All the other people were holding the Gita and were repeating the lines, listening to the teacher's words very attentively. Their facial expressions would constantly change as the text was being expounded. Sometimes they would be joyful, sometimes serious. But the disciple sitting in the corner was not having any experience like that. His facial expression did not change at all. He was only shedding tears.

The sage observed all this. He addressed the man and asked him, "Why are you crying? When the Gita is being expounded in such a joyous way, what is the reason for your sadness?" The man replied, "Master, I do not know who you are. I do not know Sanskrit. I cannot pronounce the verses. Since I do not know Sanskrit I do not want to repeat these verses in the wrong way because I may be committing a sin that way. Therefore, I was just picturing in my own heart Krishna giving this Gita to Arjuna there on the battlefield. Krishna was seated in the driver's seat, Arjuna was sitting behind him in the chariot. I was crying because I was imagining Krishna having to turn his head back for such a long time, trying to convince Arjuna of these great truths. Keeping his head turned like that must have given him a great deal of pain. If only Arjuna had been sitting in front and Krishna in the back, then it would not have caused so much trouble to the Lord. Thinking of that hurts me very much."

The sage recognized that here was a true devotee. The man was experiencing so much love for Krishna and had immersed himself so deeply in identifying with the Lord giving the Gita teachings to Arjuna, that he had become a part of Krishna, himself. The sage concluded that experiencing such feelings was far greater than merely listening to and repeating the Gita verses.

Even now, while the Gita is being expounded, some of you are writing everything down reverently in your notebooks while some of you are holding the Gita in your hands and following the verses, trying to learn them. But these are all just outer activities which will not evoke very deep feelings of devotion. If you want your heart to become completely saturated with the essence of the teachings, you must seek the inner experience. Do this by putting the verses into practice in your daily life. Even if you practice only one of them it will be more than enough. What is the use of taking down a hundred of them? If you fill your head with all the contents of the book, your head will be just another book. What counts is what you get imprinted on the book of your heart. Even if only one of these teachings is imprinted in your heart that will be all that is needed. Let your heart become saturated with love. That is enough. Instead of filling your head with scholarship and book knowledge it is far better to fill your heart with love.