“Out of many thousands among men, one may endeavor for perfection, and of those who have achieved perfection, hardly one knows Me in truth.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 7.3)
कश्चिद् यतति सिद्धये
यतताम् अपि सिद्धानां
कश्चिन् मां वेत्ति तत्त्वतः
kaścid yatati siddhaye
yatatām api siddhānāṁ
kaścin māṁ vetti tattvataḥ
1. Comfortable living
“What is the focus of my knowledge, you ask? What is the objective of the alignment with institutions of higher learning, of following a previously agreed-upon path of progression? Why do I spend so many hours studying and learning a new craft?
“I never gave it much thought. I pretty much followed what others were doing. If I have to sit down and contemplate the matter, I guess the ultimate objective is to live comfortably. Work in such a way that I am not struggling, that I am not destitute.
“The poor have less influence in the world. As the old proverb says, an empty sack cannot stand up straight. I don’t want to be an empty sack. As long as I have something to say about it, if there is an ability to influence the conditions of living in the future, I will apply intelligence and dedicated effort.”
2. Eternal living
“To put it plainly, I am trying to live as long as possible. I don’t want to end up like the others. I know that it seems futile, that the goal will never be achieved, but you never know. Mankind has made so many advancements in health and science.
“Just see how long professional athletes are going nowadays. The careers are longer. People can follow proper diet and exercise in order to limit the wear and tear on the body. The degradation can be delayed, if not outright eliminated.
“That is the direction of my research. I am trying to become as knowledgeable as possible, to avoid the common pitfalls. I want to give myself the best chance to live as far into the future as one can conceive.”
3. The nature of the individual
“I want to know who I truly am. I am not interested in living forever. I could survive off of the gifts of nature. If you think about it, we are already loved by a great magnitude. The sun loves me so much that it shines warm and comforting rays on a daily basis.
“The nearby river is as reliable as can be. The trees provide shade. They give fruits to eat. The animals in the wild protect against foreign attack. There really is so much provided automatically, without additional effort.
“I want to focus on me as a person. Who am I? Why was I placed in this world? What are we doing here? Why do we have to die? Why am I in ignorance? How can I attain perfection of an existence?”
4. The nature of God
As described in Bhagavad-gita, it is a significant step to merely inquire into the nature of the individual. Out of those striving for perfection, perhaps out of thousands one will reach the ideal destination.
From there, they may inquire into the nature of the source of everything. This entity is commonly referred to as God, and in Vedic literature there is a personal side revealed. That person can be addressed by names such as Vishnu, Krishna, and Rama.
To know Krishna in truth is difficult. To find a soul who knows Him is rare. This should make sense, as that knowledge is the most valuable. Not everyone who attends college will successfully pass through the four years.
Out of those striving for an advanced degree, not many will reach the end. For those who are advanced scholars, the research continues. There is the goal to always push the discipline forward, to expand on the already published base of knowledge.
The pursuit to know the nature of God is the most difficult, but also the most worthwhile. There is not much to be known, other than the basic principles. Understand the gross and subtle elements of the material world, the living entity’s place in contrast to matter, and the eternally superior position of Shri Krishna.
This is the best knowledge to gain, and it is sufficient for reaching the perfection of living. That is to say, the best way to use the intelligence nature gifted to us is to understand God and serve Him. This occupation will continue to be applicable into the distant future, spanning subsequent births.
The other areas of knowledge have limited applicability. I can maintain good health, live a long time, and then leave everything behind. I might finally realize who I am, as spirit soul, but then continue longing for a satisfying engagement.
Knowledge of Krishna is everything. Knowing Him is enough to know how to navigate birth and death, through the ever-changing material world. Knowing Him is the ticket out, for finally stopping rebirth and reaching the original and supreme destination.
Through knowledge determination,
Reaching supreme destination.
Because in the right place,
Where no more miseries to face.
Otherwise continues the learning,
Despite the highest degrees earning.
Krishna the one ultimately to be known,
Most worthwhile that knowledge alone.
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