Following is an excerpt from an Audio Class on Bhagavad Gita Chapter 4 – Verse 34 to 42.
Last time we had discussed that Krishna told Arjuna to perform his duty and sacrifice and ended the section by saying that one should perform his duty and sacrifice in knowledge. But how to acquire such knowledge is the question. Therefore, Krishna emphasizes on approaching a bonafide Guru. Now Krishna tells that there are three important things that has to be taken into consideration while approaching a Guru. First is ‘Inquiry.’ Now few people inquire in challenging mood and Krishna tells us to Inquire Submissively, so it’s not blind following but the attitude has to be there to learn. Along with Inquiry and Submission there has to be service, so Service is also important. Attitude has to be Submission, process of inquiry and balancing it with Service. In ISKCON we have opportunity for all three. It is important to do Service because when we are in Service mood it helps us digest what we read and what we hear.
Knowledge helps us to know what is right and wrong, knowledge has its place. But knowledge can be transformed into realization when there is an element of submissive service attitude. And this is practiced in the guidance of a bonafide Guru who is also himself rendering Service. Guru is doing Service and following his Guru and it’s not that Guru is the only supreme person and there is no body above him. Even Gurus have Guru. While serving the Guru, the secret is to satisfy the spiritual master because when the spiritual master is satisfied, then the knowledge gets digested in the heart and the realization comes forth. We have 64 items of devotional service and the first and most important part is taking shelter of a bonafide Spiritual Master i.e. look for a bonafide Guru and take shelter of him. But unfortunately in modern society, this is a very unpopular goal because there are lot of fake Gurus who cheat on many people.
This kind of problem happen in material world that the material world is contaminated and that effects the spiritual organization. We should not accept the criticism of spiritual teachers nor reject the principle of spiritual teacher just because some people are cheated. There are cheaters everywhere but most people are sincere.
Krishna tells us that there are two benefits of submissively approaching a bonafide spiritual master in the mood of service. First is that you will never fall in illusion means you will not be confused in life. And second, the reason why you will not fall in illusion is because you will see that everyone has a part of a Lord. You will see everyone is a part and parcel of Krishna, so your relationship problems, anger, etc. Everything will be controlled and regulated. You will basically be able to see the whole world with a proper perspective and because of that you will never be in illusion as you have surrendered your humble and menial service to Guru. This is the benefit of understanding about spiritual life under a bonafide Guru.
Krishna says that we should have faith, dedication and you should have control over your senses. You should practice sense control, dedicated to personal spiritual life and have faith and if you don’t cultivate faith in the process of Krishna consciousness.
Krishna says that there are three types of people, first is Ignorant person who doesn’t know anything. Second is one who has knowledge but he doesn’t have faith, but the worst category is the third type of person who have knowledge also and faith also but he doubts if this will work on him or not. This type of person will not work hard to clear his doubts and increase his faith in Krishna. And to remove this doubts one has to work in devotional service means he has to act for Krishna’s Pleasure. If he wants to feel the presence of Krishna, if he wants to experience Krishna more than simply knowledge the we have to make this transitions of acting for Krishna’s pleasure. When our devotional service focus shifts from ‘I’ to ‘Pleasing the Lord’ then the whole thing changes. And there is no place for doubt left.
So in the last verse Krishna tells Arjuna to fight the war but in knowledge because the sword of knowledge will help us slash all doubts and ignorance. And this knowledge you can only learn it from a bonafide Guru.