Seek Out the Wise

Chapter II, Verse 7


Sri Nerode’s Translation:


My mind is tossed with doubtings and I am lost in faintness. My thought is in confusion as to my duty. I pray Thee, tell me in positive terms what course is better for me. I am Thy disciple. Thou art my Refuge! Enlighten me. (An aspiring soul always looks up to the Divine Self for the Voice of Intuition and Guidance.)


Helpful Translation:

Surrender, or the acknowledgement that “I don’t know it all”, overcomes the devotee Arjuna. He seeks the help of someone who is wise. When advanced, the devotee seeks this guidance within.


Even in the labyrinth of the mind of limited self-awareness, the ego can understand that its rationalizations and deductive reasoning are not complete. The conclusions the devotee has reached about the necessity of sensory experiences may be incorrect. The devotee asks to be taught about another way to view the senses and their role.

The ignorant human life is guided by a series of false assumptions. These false assumptions are refined by both experience and formal education. Death of a loved one is often the greatest challenge to personal assumptions that a human faces. Confronted with the physical finality of death, even the most ignorant ask, “What does it mean?”

The Sankhya philosophy began with a single question. The question is, “What is the one thing that I can learn that will reveal the truth of all other things?” In other words, if one understands the origin, or the sole universal substance of creation, it stands to reason that all other things may be understood. Even the blind intellect may comprehend the truth behind this line of reasoning.

In this verse, the devotee feels faint and confused when confronted with the fact that all sensual experiences contain both “good” and “bad” elements. “What is my duty?” is a natural question when doubt is overwhelming. Seeking the counsel of the wise is a logical step.

However, from the path of Jnana Yoga (enlightenment through progressive intellectual and intuitive understanding), the jnana devotee may believe that seeking the counsel of the wise could be considered yet another delaying tactic of the ego. This is a trap. Until the jnana yogi has developed intuitive wisdom that allows him to seek guidance within, he must seek guidance from external sources.

Arjuna has reached the point where all that he has known to be “real” and “true” has been shown to be “fake” and “false”. He faces three choices: 1) continue on his path by doing nothing; 2) struggle to figure it out on his own; 3) seek the counsel of wise Krishna.

“Doing nothing” is to choose death and regression. Figuring it out on his own will certainly be fraught with more trials and dangers. Appealing to Krishna for “positive” actions is the only sensible option.

Easter Eggs:

Easter Eggs (hidden references to deeper meanings) in the original version of this this verse include:

Verse 7 has a challenging combination of Sanskrit words. Intuitively, the Sanskrit may be interpreted as “My individuality has failed me and I turn to the Source for understanding.”

The tone of surrender is one of the hidden meanings for proper Sanskrit use and pronunciation of specific sounds.

Seeking “positive” actions on the deeper level means initially using Sanskrit to active the qualities of conscious energy associated with the pingala nadi. Once the devotee has success with that, he must learn to transmute the negative (ida) and positive (pingala) into the neutral (sushumna nadi, or central canal).

Verses 5, 6, 7, and 8 switch meter in the Sanskrit poem. Each line contains eleven syllables verses the usual eight. Significant when using the Gita as a Sanskrit primer but also notable superficially for slowing the pace of the thoughts expressed – highlighting the importance of these lines.

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