“The Blessed Lord said: I instructed this imperishable science of yoga to the sun-god, Vivasvan, and Vivasvan instructed it to Manu, the father of mankind, and Manu in turn instructed it to Ikshvaku.” (Bhagavad-gita, 4.1)
इमं विवस्वते योगं
प्रोक्तवान् अहम् अव्ययम्
विवस्वान् मनवे प्राह
मनुर् इक्ष्वाकवे ’ब्रवीत्
imaṁ vivasvate yogaṁ
proktavān aham avyayam
vivasvān manave prāha
manur ikṣvākave ’bravīt
“I hope I am able to phrase this question properly. It is more something I know in my head, based on natural responses to what I hear and see around me, but I have yet to express it to someone fully. But I know that I am right, that there is some defect with the other side.
“For the purposes of this discussion, I will use the label ‘credentialing.’ You see it on television all the time. The experts say this. The experts say that. According to the experts, we should behave a certain way. We should listen to the experts instead of acting on our own.
“Well, I have come to the conclusion that this is a mechanism for stifling debate and suppressing common sense. As an example, from common sense I know that breathing should not be obstructed. In the general case, making exceptions for medical practice and other occupations which can become hazardous.
“There is nothing more healthy than walking around and breathing normally. Yet the experts are now telling everyone that they are diseased patients who need to cover their faces. Not just once or twice, but practically all the time. In some places people cannot exercise inside of a gym without covering their face.
“Common sense tells me that will lead to so many problems. Breathing is fundamental to living. I shouldn’t have to say that, but just see how low we have descended in society. If you raise any objection based on common sense, you will be censored. The other side uses their so-called experts to debunk your idea, even though the experts have admittedly lied and been wrong on so many important issues in the recent past.
“How do we get passed this concept of credentialing? It seems very dangerous to me. If we are choosing spiritual life, which is the most important decision in the human existence, someone can easily bring their expert along to say that it is a bad decision. ‘The experts say that there is no God. Science has disproven the concept of an eternal, supreme living being.’ Do you see what I am saying?”
This proves to be an undeniable reality of life. No matter who you are, what you believe, what desires need to be fulfilled, there is always some trust extended. Faith towards the news-anchor. Trust in the scientists. Faith in the politician.
Genuine spiritual life is no different. Though the science of self-realization stands unique in that blind faith or dogmatic insistence is not the primary mechanism for assimilation, there is still some faith involved.
As an example, on the battlefield of Kurukshetra the bow-warrior Arjuna heard Bhagavad-gita directly from His teacher, Shri Krishna. The principles alone established the validity of the presentation. A person can make up their own mind when hearing, comparing against what competing philosophies teach.
Yet even within that presentation we find some level of credentialing. Shri Krishna explains that the same teachings were given to the sun-god at the beginning of creation. That science descended through the generations, passed down from teacher to student, who in turn became teacher.
If I am to know the highest principles of an existence, I should be able to ask every question there is. Leave no doubts on the table. At the same time, I should approach the right person. This step involves some faith extended, but there is little risk.
If I follow the wrong expert in health and medicine, I could end up diseased. If an expert tells me that placing a hand in fire will do no harm, I will not be benefitted. The king named Pratapabhanu went to a fake spiritual guide and became cursed in a future life, as a result.
This means that we should apply some discrimination. Use common sense. See if the so-called expert is free of defects. Determine what they consider to be the highest objective in life and see if it aligns with what a spiritually minded person would think.
Shri Krishna has the highest credentials, as He explains in detail exactly how the creation comes to be, how it is populated, how the inhabitants fall into illusion, and also how they can be rescued. Simply turn in the direction of the all-attractive one, whose wisdom spans the ages, and be forever enlightened from the pages.
Striking from turning pages,
Wisdom spanning the ages.
In Bhagavad-gita book bound,
This valuable treasure found.
From Krishna authority commanding,
Alone on principles standing.
But still credentials in parampara to be,
So that any suspicion to free.