Digesting Wisdom

Food enters the mouth, but only after chewing and digesting it can the nourishment be felt. In the same way, knowledge has its own process of digestion. There are four broad stages in spiritual learning:

  1. Hearing (sravanam) – Receiving insight & inspiration (Is it clear? What stands out? Do I have any questions?)

  2. Reflecting (mananam) – Deep contemplation & reflection (What is my experience? What opportunities and difficulties does this bring?)

  3. Applying (nididhyasanam) – Practical realisation & application (How does this relate to my life now? What changes could I make?)

  4. Praying (vandanam) - Heartfelt desire & supplication (What prayer could I make in this regard?)

Now consider the following passage and apply the four stages above to digest this wisdom in a deeper way:

"One has to approach a bona fide spiritual master to receive the knowledge. Such a spiritual master should be accepted in full surrender, and one should serve the spiritual master like a menial servant, without false prestige. Satisfaction of the self-realised spiritual master is the secret of advancement in spiritual life. Inquiries and submission constitute the proper combination for spiritual understanding. Unless there is submission and service, inquiries from the learned spiritual master will not be effective. One must be able to pass the test of the spiritual master, and when he sees the genuine desire of the disciple, he automatically blesses the disciple with genuine spiritual understanding." (Bhagavad-Gita 4.34 Purport)





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