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The Qualification To Study The Gita

The Right Way To Acquire Knowledge
Every knowledge has restrictions with regard to who can learn it. This is as true in material matters as it is in spiritual matters. Before beginning a Masters degree, one must have completed his undergraduate degree in that subject. Otherwise, he will not grasp the knowledge being given by his professor at the post-graduate level, and instead of progressing in his understanding, he will only become more confused. The spiritual knowledge given by the various Hindu scriptures is also of different levels, from beginner to advanced. This is why every Hindu scripture has a specific qualification that must be met before someone can study it or learn it correctly. If an unqualified person attempts to study any scripture, then, instead of gaining clarity about the philosophy of Sanatan Dharm, he will only become more confused.

Further, some types of knowledge can even be harmful to an unqualified person. For example, if someone learns that aspirin cures headaches, but doesn’t know what the proper dosage is, he may swallow the whole bottle, assuming that if one is good, then more must be better. In other words, knowledge partially or incorrectly understood can be more harmful than no knowledge at all. In spiritual matters as well, if the teaching of a particular scripture isn’t precisely and fully understood, it may be misinterpreted, and instead of helping a person on his spiritual path, his wrong understanding becomes an obstacle. This is why we must pay heed to the statements of each scripture telling what the qualifications are to study it.

The Qualification To Study The Gita

Arjun Asking For Krishna Before Mahabharat

The qualification to learn the Gita is as follows: in chapter 18, verse 67, the Gita says that one who does not have faith in Shree Krishna should not hear the Gita. When translating this, Jagadguru Shankaracharya said this means if a person does not have faith that Krishna is, he is not qualified to listen to or read the Gita.

Did Arjun have faith that Shree Krishna is God? Certainly he did. Otherwise, when given the choice, why would he have chosen a weaponless Shree Krishna over His entire army? When both Arjun and Duryodhan went to Dwarika to ask Shree Krishna’s help in the war, He gave them a choice: one could have Him on their side, but with the condition that He would not lift a weapon for the whole war; and one could have His entire army. Arjun was given the first choice, and he chose Krishna over His army. Who in his right mind would make such a decision, unless he believed that Krishna was God?

Even God Cannot Convince An Unfaithful Person
On the other hand, look at Duryodhan’s reaction: he was relieved that Arjun had chosen Krishna and thought that he was extremely foolish to have not chosen His army. In other words, he had no faith in Shree Krishna. Later, when Krishna went to Duryodhan as a messenger of peace in order to avert the war, Duryodhan would not heed His advice. He insulted Krishna and tried to have Him imprisoned. Krishna even revealed His Divine almighty form before Duryodhan in an effort to influence him, but even then he did not accept Krishna’s Divinity. It is amazing to think that even if God Himself comes to a person, if that person is not humble and faithful, then even God cannot help him. Then is it any wonder that Krishna chose to reveal the Gita to Arjun, instead of Duryodhan? A person must be humble to be open to the spiritual teachings, and faithful to accept them.

Thus, we see that an unfaithful person, no matter how learned or intelligent he is, is unqualified to receive the teachings of the Gita. Read about Second Qualifucation To Study The Gita

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