I started going to school even before I was formally admitted in the school. I was fascinated by school uniform, school bag and the takhti, the wooden slate on which my elder brother used to write with wooden after anointing it with khadia.
Then I too was admitted in the school and my fascination with school uniform etc gradually faded away and going to school soon became a drudgery for me.
Mathematics, Science, Hindi, Social study, and then as I progressed to higher classes newer subjects were added in the list.
I was looking for appreciation of my teacher, school mates, relatives and parents, hence I did reasonably well in school. I don’t know how this idea, “education is means to become self sufficient and get a job in a highly competitive world” got pushed into my mind and so when the time came for me to join the college, I choose to get a Diploma in Pharmacy, as it was just a one year course and after which a Government job was pretty much assured. I had a little suspicion that this could not be real knowledge or goal of real Knowledge.
Many a times while going through my astronomy classes I used to wonder, How little we know despite much advertised progress of Mankind in the field of science, technology and space research. In those times I wished to attain a place from where I could see everything in their reality. It’s not that
I learnt everything from education system only, unknowingly I was getting education from parents relatives, neighbor, friends, enemies, books comics, newspaper, events, tours etc, etc. And then I got a job, not of a Pharmacist but as an “Assistant” in L.I.C. of India.
Life apparently was comfortable bit still there was no escape from stress, unhappiness, discontentment, diseases etc. And then Death strikes my father, coming in the form of a disease called Cancer.I saw, with my own eyes, my father’s struggle with the pain, his disbelief that it could happen to him and then inevitable death devouring his physical existence forever.
I was shaken to the core, and for a moment I realized that it could happen to me also, but my education did not give me any solution for this problem. My previous teachers, did not have any clue about the solution to this problem and by labeling it as negative mindset, impossible, destiny etc. just brushed it aside. I wonder if Death is so natural, real, inevitable for us, as everyone makes us to believe, why every one struggle with it when their time come ?
My education, my knowledge was not complete. A renowned Vaishnav Saint and poet Srila Bhakti Vinod Thakur confirmed it in one of his bhajan, which I heard in an Iskcon temple.
vidyāra vilāse, kāṭāinu kāla,
parama sāhase āmi
tomāra caraṇa, nā bhajinu kabhu,
ekhona śaraṇa tumi
poḍite poḍite, bharasā bārilo,
jñāne gati habe māni’
se āśā biphala, se jñāna durbala,
se jñāna ajñāna jāni
jaḍa-vidyā jata, māyāra vaibhava,
tomāra bhajane bādhā
moha janamiyā, anitya saḿsāre,
jīvake koraye gādhā
sei gādhā ho’ye, saḿsārera bojhā,
bahinu aneka kāla
bārdhakye ekhona, śaktira abhāve,
kichu nāhi lāge bhālo
jīvana jātanā, hoilo ekhona,
se vidyā avidyā bhelo
avidyāra jwālā, ghaṭilo biṣama,
se vidyā hoilo śelo
tomāra caraṇa, binā kichu dhana,
saḿsāre nā āche āra
bhakativinoda, jaḍa-vidyā chāḍi,’
tuwā pada kore sāra.
1) With great enthusiasm I spent my time in the pleasures of mundane learning, and never worshiped Your lotus feet, O Lord. Now You are my only shelter.
2) Reading on and on, my hopes grew and grew, for I considered the acquisition of material knowledge to be life’s true goal. How fruitless those hopes turned out to be, for all my knowledge proved feeble. Now I know that all such erudition is actually pure ignorance.
3) All the so-called knowledge of this world is born of the flickering potency of Your illusory energy (maya). It is an impediment to the execution of devotional service to You. Indulgence in mundane knowledge verily makes an ass of the eternal soul by encouraging his infatuation with this temporary world.
4) Here is one person who has been turned into such an ass, who for so long has carried on his back the useless burden of material existence. Now in my old age, for want of the power to enjoy, I find that nothing at all pleases me.
5) Life has now become agony, for my so-called erudite knowledge has proven itself to be worthless ignorance. Material knowledge has now become a pointed shaft and has pierced my heart with the intolerable, burning pain of ignorance.
6) O Lord, there is no treasure worth seeking in this world other than Your lotus feet. Bhaktivinoda abandons all his mundane knowledge and makes Your lotus feet the sum and substance of his life.
It was clear that my material education could not give solution to my problems, I clearly in need of some other education. What’s that knowledge by which all my problems will end ? What’s that true knowledge, by knowing which nothing left to be known? Who possesses all the knowledge and is also willing to share it with me ?
Brahma Ji, the secondary creator of our world inform us in Brahm Sahinta –
Krsna who is known as Govinda is the Supreme Godhead. He has an eternal, spritual (absolute knowledge) and blissful body. He is the origin of all. He has no other origin and He is the prime cause of all causes.
isvarah paramah krsnah
anadir adir govindah
Krishna is the source of everything and cause of all causes, but he himself has no cause. He is absolute Truth, absolute Knowledge, true knowledge and absolute Bliss, Being his fragmental parts we are also constitutionally eternal, full of Knowledge and full of bliss, but as we are in ignorance (Avidya), so we experience just the opposite. So we should follow his instructions as given in Srimad Bhagavad Gita.
Bhagvad Gita is the True Knowledge
He also declares in Srimad Bhagavad Gita 4.2–
This knowledge is the king of education, the most secret of all secrets. It is the purest knowledge, and because it gives direct perception of the self by realisation, it is the perfection of religion. It is everlasting, and it is joyfully performed.
pavitram idam uttamam.
su-sukham kartum avyayam.
Srila Prabhupada the commentarian of Srimad Bhagavad Gita as it is in one of his lecture B. G. 4.34-38 delivered in Newyork on August 17,1966 says,
” knowledge is to understand Kṛṣṇa. That’s all. As in the Seventh Chapter you’ll find, that, bahūnāṁ janmanām ante jñānavān māṁ prapadyate [Bg. 7.19]. Now, after culturing many, many births knowledge, one comes to Kṛṣṇa and he understands, vāsudevaḥ sarvam iti sa mahātmā sudurlabhaḥ [Bg. 7.19]. Vāsudeva, Kṛṣṇa is everything, all causes of causes. He’s the cause of all causes. Always remember. When I speak of Kṛṣṇa, He’s God. God. God is the cause of all causes.”
So forgetting the fact ” Vasudevah sarvam iti” is ignorance, illusion. In order to fix ourselves always in knowledge, Krishna advises-
Engage your mind always in thinking of Me, become My devotee, offer obeisances to Me and worship Me. Being completely absorbed in Me, surely you will come to Me.
man-mana bhava mad-bhakto
mad-yaji mam namaskuru
mam evaisyasi yuktvaivam
He assures, “For one who worships Me, giving up all his activities unto Me and being devoted to Me without deviation, engaged in devotional service and always meditating upon Me, who has fixed his mind upon Me, O son of Partha, for him I am the swift deliverer from the ocean of birth and death.
ye tu sarvāṇi karmāṇi,
mayi sannyasya mat-parāḥ
māṁ dhyāyanta upāsate.
teṣām ahaṁ samuddhartā
bhavāmi na cirāt pārtha
Best part about this True Knowledge is that it is available to all, Krishna Says, “Even if you are considered to be the most sinful of all sinners, when you are situated in the boat of transcendental knowledge, true knowledge, you will be able to cross over the ocean of miseries.”
This Knowledge is all auspicious and one could not encounter any loss in this endeavour. Krishna assures, “In this endeavor there is no loss or diminution, and a little advancement on this path can protect one from the most dangerous type of fear.”
From where to get true knowledge?
So he advises us to take admission in a university where such knowledge is being imparted, “evaṁ paramparā-prāptam imaṁ” (This supreme science was thus received through the chain of disciplic succession). In these universities, there are teachers who themselves have acquired this knowledge. Approach them with humility and asks questions. This is the method of acquiring the real knowledge.
tad viddhi praṇipātena,
upadekṣyanti te jñānaṁ,