4. “I’m not intelligent enough.”

When the lights go off we become blind, but when the lights turn on many hours later, the glaring effulgence can blind us in a different way! People sometimes feel like that when they approach spiritual literature. The volume of information, depth of the concepts and intricacy of the language can seem beyond our comprehension. “I don’t know Sanskrit, I’m not a philosopher, I’m not even a reader,” someone may say, “so what hope is there for me?” For many people, when it comes to spiritual discourses, the knowledge goes in one ear and out the other. Can this advanced theology actually be grasped by anyone and everyone?
In Chapter Four, entitled “Transcendental Knowledge,” this reservation is directly addressed. Krishna highlights how profound this wisdom is, and goes on to outline the qualification to fully grasp it. Interestingly, it’s nothing to do with one’s intellectual or analytical ability, but more to do with sincerity and devotion. Krishna reassures Arjuna: “You can enter into the mysteries of this spiritual science, because you are My friend and My devotee.”
One need not be a scholar, scientist or philosophical genius, and sometimes being so can actually become counter-productive! One simply has to have a sincere and willing heart, genuinely seeking spiritual connection and a divine interaction with Krishna. The Bhagavad-Gita is knowledge which is understood in the recesses of the heart, not simply within the brain. When we have a deep desire to understand and a seriousness to actually apply it in our life, then one is supplied with the necessary intelligence to grasp it.
Krishna further delineates the specific methodology by which this knowledge is accessed. One must first approach a spiritual teacher and inquire from them in all humility. Beyond passive listening, Krishna encourages one to then present thoughtful questions before that person to clarify their understanding and learn the nuanced application. Furthermore, the transmission of knowledge should include a practical demonstration of one’s gratitude and dedication to their teacher. Humble listening, thoughtful questioning and heartfelt service – the three indispensable ingredients in the science of spiritual learning.
The knowledge of spiritual life is not just about acquiring more and more information. Sometimes people consider the process of education to be linear - learning more and more and more. More verses, more stories and more philosophy. Spiritual learning, however, is more like a spiral – you hear the same verses, the same stories, the same philosophical passages, but study them from different angles of vision and gradually hone in on the essence of the message. Fundamental spiritual truths, simple but profound, are integrated within our consciousness and act to illumine our lives.
The essence of the Bhagavad-Gita is actually very simple; we are spiritual beings, God is the supreme spirit, and when we give our heart to Him in a selfless, unmotivated way then not only do we rediscover our love for Krishna, but we awaken our love for everyone and everything around us. We rediscover our love for life.

“That very ancient science of the relationship with the Supreme is today told by Me to you because you are My devotee as well as My friend and can therefore understand the transcendental mystery of this science.” (Bhagavad-Gita 4.3)


4.34 – The science of learning from a spiritual master.
4.35 – The result of cultivating knowledge through this methodology.