What is the need for spiritual knowledge?

The Gandharva Angaraparna appreciated the celibacy of Arjuna and further advised Arjuna and the Pandavas that they need to find a spiritual guide. The gandharva added that men with learned and self-controlled priests can conquer the earth and acquire every good fortune, finally attaining even heaven itself. Arjuna then asked the gandharva where he can find one. The gandharva then pointed them to Dhaumya. The gandharva narrated some more interesting stories till dawn and then departed. The Pandavas proceeded towards Ganges as directed by the Gandharva. They took their baths in the sacred Ganges.They could locate Dhaumya’s ashram and approached the sage Dhaumya seeking guidance and shelter. Dhaumya gladly accepted them seeing their sincerity. Why someone so skilled and valorous as Arjuna and Pandavas need a spiritual guide and spiritual knowledge? Let us see, why.

Finding a purpose in the world   

The world around us glamorizes so many purposes. Can’t we pick one? We can. But does it work that way? It is like giving a smartphone to a toddler. The toddler does not know what the purpose of a smartphone is.  He may consider the smartphone to be just another mirror. He also may consider it as a toy that can be tossed from one hand to another. Worst, he may become curious to find out what is inside it and begin breaking it. This way he ends up underutilizing the phone. Through the phone he can actually watch videos and play games. The child need to learn about the purpose of the phone and the way to access its various functionalities. Then he can utilize it effectively and derive maximum benefit. In the same way, if we either randomly pick up a purpose or pick up a purpose based on our understanding for life. For eg: the world is meant for enjoyment or the purpose of life is to just while away time. This way, we end up being distraught, dissatisfied and in the course of it disturbing others too. We need to know the purpose of our body and mind from the knowledge provided by the creator – God i.e. spiritual cleansing. God not only created us but also the world we are in. He knows our potentials and limitations. He also knows the opportunities and threats in this world. He is the right person who can help us find a compatible purpose in this complex world. If we align ourselves to that purpose, we can gain stability, meaning and satisfaction in our sojourn in this world. God reveals this purpose in BG 3.11 that our purpose is to contribute to the world and cooperate with the world. That we can derive our basic necessities and happiness in a healthy and harmonious fashion.

Finding a purpose beyond the world

Every one of us have an existential need to love and be loved. We can. We can put our best efforts to love the people of the world in the course of contributing and cooperating with the world. The world and the people of the world have limitations. So, we cannot receive complete reciprocation for our love. Then we cannot be happy. Adding to that, the world is beset with dualities, difficulties and distresses. If we use our own knowledge and try to rationalize conjecturing that the world is meant for suffering, goal of life is to end suffering not happiness. These explanations does not really suffice. If we look within, we want to happy, in fact we want to experience increasing uninterrupted happiness. It is beyond our perception, ability and experience to find a source of such happiness. We need spiritual knowledge to find such a source of happiness – a source of happiness beyond this world and the reach of the worldly technology and thought. God is not just the source of this world but he is the source of all love. Whatever love we experience in this world is a tiny reflection of the love we can experience from God. We can experience God’s love by establishing a relationship with him through the process of Bhakti-yoga. This will fulfil our heart completely (BG 6.21-22).

Sharing the purpose with the world

The world is beset with different economic, political and social problems from time immemorial. Throughout the ages, there have been efforts, based on the knowledge and experience acquired from the world to contain, curtail and cure these problems. The efforts are successful to some extent but not in the complete and ultimate sense. New problems always crop up despite the best solutions. There are efforts to bring peace, prosperity and happiness throughout the ages. These are also based on the worldly knowledge and experience. These efforts though successful to some extent are still incomplete. Dissatisfaction and depression continue to haunt the world throughout. The creator is the only resort to solve these problems in the ultimate and complete sense at both individual and collective levels. As we learn and practice the path for ultimate and complete happiness i.e. connecting with God and experiencing his love through yoga, it is our responsibility to share this solution with the world as per our capacity. God not only offers us the ultimate solution but also more efficient, effective and holistic immediate solution as he not only creates this world but also maintains this world through his different energies. Sharing these solutions also enhances our relationship with God because this is God’s ultimate desire – to make everyone happy within this world and beyond this world (BG 18.69).