2. “I already know all of this.”

Socrates famously said: “My wisdom is that I know I don’t know.” When we know very little we think we know a lot, and when we actually start exploring things deeply, we realise how much more there is to learn! Many people excuse themselves from spiritual pursuits thinking they know it all. “I grew up with the Bhagavad-Gita, it’s been in my family for generations, my grandma used to tell me the stories when I was a kid – been there, done that, got the T-Shirt!”
Arjuna was nurtured in a family of immaculate piety. He observed all customs and traditions, honoured dharma religiously, was guided by the most distinguished sages of the time, and had Krishna as his close companion. Despite this esteemed background, he humbly approached Krishna and conceded – “I am confused, I have lost my composure – I am your disciple, please instruct me.” Of the assembled warriors, perhaps none were as qualified, successful, empowered and influential as Arjuna. Yet this formidable fighter opens himself up, in order to elevate himself higher.
Without the humility that Arjuna embodies there is no question of knowledge transmission - a proud person can’t learn. In colloquial English we say they are ‘full of it,’ a graphic term indicating that there’s no space to insert anything fresh. Pride, and the stubbornness which accompanies it, blocks us from discovering, improving, transforming and evolving. Not only does pride create artificiality, but it maintains and breeds it. Despite having ample exposure to spiritual opportunities, proud people never really develop any substance.
Imagine all the knowledge in existence to be a large circle. One section represents the things you know. Another section represents the things you know you don't know. Interestingly, the biggest section is the third one, which represents the things you don’t know you don’t know! There is a wealth of knowledge in the world that we are completely oblivious to. Opening books like the Bhagavad-Gita helps illuminate aspects of reality that we previously had no access to whatsoever. This is the most mysterious and fascinating part of the circle!
One of the biggest problems with modern education is that we tell people what to think rather than teaching them how to think. We’re fed formulas and scripts, programmed to become bigger repositories of information, and systematically moulded to earn a living and rack up the numbers in the bank account. Yet if we were trained how to think, we would become explorers of wisdom, curious and hungry to grow, discover and venture into the unknown. We’d be equipped with the tools to realise our potential by going beyond the boundaries of what the world boxes us into.
Progressive life is a recurring venture into the unknown. In Chapter Ten, Krishna tells Arjuna that someone awakened to the spiritual reality is a buddha, an intelligent person. In the very next verse he says such persons eagerly come together and enlighten one another about Him! Enlightenment, then, is not a destination, but rather a direction. There is always more to learn about the unlimited spiritual dimension.

“Those who are seers of the truth have concluded that of the nonexistent [the material body] there is no endurance and of the eternal [the soul] there is no change. This they have concluded by studying the nature of both.” (Bhagavad-Gita 2.16)


2.11 – Arjuna seemed to be speaking learned words, but was actually unaware of basic spiritual truths.