Thursday, February 7, 2013


Verse 2.7: Now I am confused about my duty and have lost all composure because of miserly weakness. In this condition I am asking You to tell me for certain what is best for me. Now I am Your disciple, and a soul surrendered unto You. Please instruct me.

I've been waiting for this verse for over a month now! This is one of the most important verses in the Gita and signifies a major turning point not only in the conversation but in Krsna and Arjuna's relationship.

All this time, Arjuna has been venting to Krsna about his confusion as a friend. He hasn't asked for answers or reached out for guidance. Now, Arjuna is asking for guidance. He is submitting himself to Krsna as his student.

Let's explore that word submit. One definition of the word means to yield oneself to the authority or will of another. That's pretty strong, stuff. This is what a real guru (spiritual teacher) and student relationship looks like. This type of relationship can only exist when there is strong faith and trust, on both sides. The student has faith and trust that this person can help them re-awaken their relationship with God and the guru has faith and trust that their student is genuine and sincere in his/her inquiry. How and why else would anyone want to "submit" oneself to another person? Essential to submitting oneself to a spiritual teacher is also the acknowledgement that "We don't know it all."

Our material conditioning has brainwashed us into thinking that we can figure everything out. This is the influence of the ego. However, to be an authentic student, we need to push that big, fat ego out of the way and face reality. The reality is when it comes to spiritual life, we don't know much. Why? Because real spiritual knowledge is not book learned. Yes, understanding philosophical concepts is important, but more important is to realize that knowledge. We need someone who has faced the trials and tribulations that one will undoubtedly encounter on the path of bhakti, who hasn't given up and has (as the Gita will describe in Chapter 4) seen the truth. One who has realized knowledge.

On the path of bhakti yoga, there are principles and details. Realized knowledge means being able to apply these principles and details according to time, place and circumstance. For example, one who is just learning how to cook is on the theoretical platform. Such a novice may think that certain spices are only used for certain dishes. But for one who has realized knowledge, they understand that spices not only accentuate dishes, they can be combined and even be used medicinally.

Arjuna is realizing that he is a novice. He knows a lot of theory but he is having trouble applying it practically. He has also realized that is leading him to only think in the short-term. Being intelligent, he understands that what is best may not be what feels good right away. So what does he say? He tells Krsna, "I am asking You to tell me for certain what is best for me." He is asking his guru, Krsna, for help.

The word guru is tossed around so flippantly these days. It's become like the word mantra and has entered mainstream vernacular. The downside to this is the fact that many people don't have a clue what guru means. Guru in sanskrit translates not only to mean teacher but to mean "heavy". See, having a guru is not a fad and the guru is not there to make you feel better materially. A true guru, a genuine bhakti yogi, is there to help you on your spiritual journey to reconnect with Krsna.

I remember when I was searching for my Guru in 2004-2005. I had met several authentic, powerful and realized bhakti yogis but I kept coming back to one person. I remember revealing my heart to this bhakti yogi and asking hims "What should I look for in a guru?" I'll never forget what he told me. He said, "You don't need someone who'll pat you on the back and say 'Good job!' all the time. You need someone who will ground you." Eventually that is the person who so kindly agreed to guide me on the path of bhakti yoga and I'm still in the process of learning how to submit myself to his spiritual guidance. Being a student is just a great responsibility as being a guru.

This is a very important point. Not only is it important to realize the need to have a bona fide spiritual teacher to guide one in their life, it's also essential to understand what having a guru means. It is a great gift and one that should not be taken lightly. In fact it is said: From Krsna we are given Guru, and it is Guru who can give us Krsna.


  1. A great post! It is truly humbling to admit that we don't know everything, but that's where real knowledge starts, rather than just staying in our illusions, protecting them from being shattered by the walls of pride we build around them.

    I've read Prabhupada talk about gurus before and he brings up a good point...That to learn something new, any discipline, we look to those who have mastered that area for guidance and to learn from. So, why not also with spiritual knowledge? It's so easy to be wrong when it comes to the things that matter the most! I know in my search for truth I've taken to things that make so much sense only to realize that they weren't true. It seems like having a guru would help save a lot of energy jumping down elusive rabbit holes that could be best spent making true spiritual progress instead.

    1. Do you live in Toronto Jessica? At Bhakti Lounge yoga we have a festival called in spirit where a really cool spiritual teacher gives some talks and discussions about Bhakti yoga! I think you would love it! Vrindavan Vinodini also usually comes and plays some kirtan for us around that time. May be you can come by and check it out!

    2. LOL! That would be so nice Anne-Lise, but Jessica lives in Connecticut. Think the commute might be a bit far for her! :D

      Jessica, I love your comment about "It seems like having a guru would help save a lot of energy jumping down elusive rabbit holes that could be best spent making true spiritual progress instead." It's so true!