“Complete knowledge includes knowledge of the phenomenal world and the spirit behind it. The source of both of them is transcendental knowledge.” (Shrila Prabhupada, Bhagavad-gita, 7.2 Purport)
Though much time is invested in television game shows featuring questions and answers, not much attention is given to the actual meaning of the description of such shows. To succeed on these shows, you should know a lot about a whole host of topics. In preparation, study up on the bodies of water. Become familiar with famous literature from the different ages. Know your world leaders, and even become familiar with popular film and theater.
If you’re knowledgeable on a lot of topics and can recall the relevant information more quickly than your opponents, you can be successful on these shows. You’ll earn a lot of money. You’ll become something of a television star. More than print and radio, television brings in lots of income in a very short amount of time.
“Trivia” is the word used to described these games. In the definition of the word, we see that the details are of little importance. Knowledge of the capital cities in a country is trivial. If you know who won the best actor award in 1973, will that really help you in life? The same goes for the important moments in a country’s history.
Is there higher knowledge? Is there something to know that is not trivial? In the Bhagavad-gita, we get that knowledge. It is called transcendental since it covers both the phenomenal world and the spirit behind it. The phenomenal is everything we see around us. The body of mine, the body of my friend, the changes in nature, the things asked in trivia games – these are all part of the phenomenal world.
What makes everything go is the spirit inside. The body is dead when the spirit within has left. There is nothing more to animate the body. It is dull and lifeless. But in fact, it was always that way. It never operated on its own. It wasn’t like a robot. It lived through the life force, which is known as spirit.
The same quality of spirit is there within all living things. Spirit is just as much there in the ant as it is in the human. It is in the wind, the sun, the moon, the clouds, and the rivers as well. We don’t have the eyes to see this because our sole focus is on the phenomenal. Even when there is any interest in the underlying spirit, all we can do is speculate.
Fortunately, there is transcendental knowledge. On the basis of authority this describes the spirit behind the phenomenal world. There is no speculation involved since the original teacher is the origin of both spirit and the phenomenal world. Those who teach with authority in the time and circumstance do so by following the original teachings passed on by this wisest person.
It shouldn’t surprise us that the original teacher is God. When getting past the bright light that His unimaginably large transcendental body emits, we can see Him as all-attractive. He gets the name “Krishna” because of this feature. Krishna is a person just like you and me, except He’s extraordinary. He is the origin of everything. No one can say they don’t believe in the existence of Krishna. It is like saying they don’t believe that parents gave birth to them. There is an origin to everything. Some spiritual traditions may not know much about Him. They may call Him through different names, but He certainly does exist.
If you accept and retain transcendental knowledge, then you know all there is to be known. That doesn’t seem possible, since a spiritually empowered being likely won’t do very well on a trivia game show. They may not know all the capital cities of the world. They may not know who won the World Series twenty-five years ago.
Yet they do know the difference between matter and spirit. They know that spirit lives on, despite the changes in matter. They know that the wellbeing of spirit is more important. They know that Krishna is the source of both material and spiritual worlds.
ahaṁ sarvasya prabhavo
mattaḥ sarvaṁ pravartate
iti matvā bhajante māṁ
“I am the source of all spiritual and material worlds. Everything emanates from Me. The wise who know this perfectly engage in My devotional service and worship Me with all their hearts.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 10.8)
They know that there can only be one religion: love of God. That religion is a science since it describes spirit and matter in detail. That religion is not a faith that one adopts and then gives up later on through a whim. That religion, known as dharma, is followed with full intelligence, with every doubt removed through the sword of transcendental knowledge handed down by the wielder of the flute, Muralidhara. From the knowledge He gives emerges love, which is also transcendental. That love flows to His lotus feet, which are the supreme shelter for the most knowledgeable.
For those with knowledge living,
Lord’s lotus feet shelter giving.
Appearing on trivia contest show,
Testing of subjects what to know.
Trivia having specific meaning yet,
Knowledge in unimportant matters set.
From Krishna everything needed learn,
Away from maya, into Divine light turn.