Five Subjects I Learned In College But Have Since Forgotten

[Krishna and Arjuna]“I shall now declare unto you in full this knowledge both phenomenal and noumenal, by knowing which there shall remain nothing further to be known.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 7.2)

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ज्ञानं तेऽहं सविज्ञानमिदं वक्ष्याम्यशेषत: ।
यज्ज्ञात्वा नेह भूयोऽन्यज्ज्ञातव्यमवशिष्यते ॥

jñānaṁ te ’haṁ sa-vijñānam
idaṁ vakṣyāmy aśeṣataḥ
yaj jñātvā neha bhūyo ’nyaj
jñātavyam avaśiṣyate

1. Chemistry

“I actually hold a degree in this field. I completed all of the courses in the undergraduate program. That piece of paper is what gets me in the door when applying for jobs in the real world. At the same time, I remember not a thing from what I studied. Today, I can barely recall the chemical formula for water. I kid you not.”

2. Economics

“I actually hold a degree in this field. I have no idea how. I scrapped and clawed my way through the courses. I crammed for every final exam, to receive a passing grade. Since then I have forgotten all of the principles. When in general conversation, if anyone brings up economics, I desperately try to change the subject.”

3. Philosophy

“I remember really enjoying these classes in college. There were a few I took that related to logic. It was almost mathematics based. I did pretty well, since I am a logical person by nature. I wish I could remember what we learned, but I have since forgotten everything. Something about modus ponens rings a bell, but I could not explain it to you.”

4. Mathematics

“I was always good at math in school, and so I continued in the subject when entering college. At some point I remember hitting a wall. Probably after calculus, the stuff started getting ridiculous. It was all about making assumptions and guessing where certain values were headed. It was too much for me.”

5. Music

“I remember taking a few classes on the theory of music. We reviewed famous songs and then deconstructed them. How the parts were put together. The changes in tempo. The walking bass; I distinctly remember that. Since then, the knowledge is forgotten.”

In the sacred Bhagavad-gita conversation, there is a section where Shri Krishna reveals to the disciple Arjuna what is known as raja-vidya. This is the king of education. It is described to be the secret of all secrets. It is the most confidential information, but since Arjuna is anasuyave, without envy, he is eligible for receiving it.

That knowledge ultimately points to devotional service. Worship of Shri Krishna, who is the origin of everything. This origin is the same across all periods of time and all areas of residence. That is to say, the religion a person inherits at the time of birth is not a determining factor. The origin is always one, in the manner that the same sun has been witnessing the activities of man since the beginning of time.

The devotional service practiced upon receiving raja-vidya is an eternal occupation. It is not knowledge that loses applicability at a later time. Otherwise, that kind of knowledge is based on conditions. As long as I continue in the cycle of birth and death, I will face different conditions and thus have to learn different arts and sciences.

अश्रद्दधाना: पुरुषा धर्मस्यास्य परन्तप ।
अप्राप्य मां निवर्तन्ते मृत्युसंसारवर्त्मनि ॥

aśraddadhānāḥ puruṣā
dharmasyāsya paran-tapa
aprāpya māṁ nivartante

“Those who are not faithful on the path of devotional service cannot attain Me, O conqueror of foes, but return to birth and death in this material world.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 9.3)

Whereas devotional service is actually dharma, which never changes. It is for this reason that the best definition to the concept of religion is through the Sanskrit term sanatana-dharma. The eternal occupation of the living being.

Sanatana-dharma is always my occupational duty, but due to contact with the material world I have forgotten. I try to find the same taste. I go in the same direction. I want to feel the pleasure associated with true dharma, but unless I come in contact with someone who knows the confidential information, I will continue to wander.

[Krishna and Arjuna]Whereas the knowledge I spent so much time and money previously learning is no longer of value to me, raja-vidya will always be applicable. If I sacrifice even a little effort to hearing, to understanding through the explanation of the representative of Krishna, who follows in the footsteps of Arjuna, I am eternally benefitted.

In Closing:

By that eternally benefitted,
Not that constantly retrofitted.

With art ever-changing and new,
Soon to forget that knowledge too.

Waving that relevancy goodbye,
But raja-vidya always to apply.

Even if only one time heard,
Resounding still every word.

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