Five Classrooms Not Serving My Interests

[Arjuna and Krishna]“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. Men in abusive relationships

“I’m sorry, sir. I believe you are in the wrong classroom. We are a support group for men dealing with abusive relationships. Don’t be embarrassed. If you actually need help, we are here for you. Otherwise, the class you are looking for might be across the hall.

2. Overeating

“This class is for dealing with lack of control in eating. By the looks of things, you are doing okay. But not everyone with a problem necessarily becomes overweight. If you need help, we are here for you. Otherwise, try a different classroom.”

3. Career development

“I’m sorry, sir, this class is geared towards students. We help them choose a career for after they graduate from school. As you already have a job, you might not learn anything by sitting in. Unless, of course, you would like to share your own experiences. The students might enjoy hearing from someone other than the teacher.”

4. Hobbies for adults

“I’m sorry, sir, but you look to be lost. I think you want a different classroom. In here we are discovering and sharing new hobbies for adults. I think you have a few more years to go before you will require our services.”

5. Attending to the elderly

“I’m sorry, sir, but you are more than welcome to listen in. This is about helping the elderly get around. Especially those who now live alone, with no family nearby, we provide assistance for how to manage.”

His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada refers to the jiva soul as conditioned. They are spirit soul, free and clear of contamination and temporary distinction, but there is the vulnerability to conditioned life.

[Prabhupada]Who would actually think this is a bad thing? Why does the conditional aspect need to be specified? Is not every person within the same circumstances, forced to operate under the same restrictions?

Conditional life means there is a way out. As there is a way in, caused by forgetfulness of the relationship to transcendence, there is a way to escape the conditions. This is the ultimate objective of the knowledge, jnana, passed down within the Vedic tradition.

Otherwise, every truth we aspire to has conditions. The knowledge we receive is not universally applicable. Neither is any condition absolutely auspicious or inauspicious.

For instance, today it is bright and sunny outside. It feels like summer is finally here. It took a while to arrive this year. The heat feels great, like nature is healing all of my ailments. I wish every day could be like this.

On the other hand, someone else hates this exact same day. They work outside. They have to suffer through the elements. They have to persevere through the scorching heat. They would prefer any other kind of condition in order to feel comfortable.

In whatever condition we currently find, there is still the chance for transcendence. The sacred conversation of Bhagavad-gita enters through the point of view of a doubting military man. Arjuna is not sure what to do. He is hesitating in proceeding in a significant conflict.

It is within those specific conditions, on the battlefield called Kurukshetra, that Krishna provides knowledge that is free of conditions. It is the highest truth, and so there is nothing else necessary to be known.

Can we imagine anyone else making such a claim? As circumstances are always changing, there is always the need for learning. Continuing education. Professional development. Adapting to the progressing landscape. Letting go of old ways and welcoming the modern, however it is defined.

The five primary topics of Bhagavad-gita apply to every condition and to every time period. Indeed, time is one of the topics, along with the living entity, the supreme being, fruitive activity, and the material nature.

[Arjuna and Krishna]If I were to sit in only one classroom for the rest of my life, it is the one discussing these topics, at length. The educational discipline that reveals my true identity, explains the meaning for living, and shows how to find the best destination in the long-term is the one to which I should focus my attention.

In Closing:

If all others to quit,
And in only one to sit.

Then classroom where Arjuna seated,
Looking lost and defeated.

But then towards Krishna turned,
For highest knowledge earned.

Assertive and confident face,
Truth the ignorance to erase.

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