Author: Anupama Devi Dasi, teacher of Bhagavad-gita (Chapters 13-18) at Bhaktivedanta College
Knowledge means to understand oneself in Krishna Consciousness
The middle 6 chapters of the Bhagavad-gita, and especially the 12th chapter, appear as the crescendo of Krishna’s glorification of Bhakti. Therefore, one may question: “Why are the last six chapters known as the Yoga of Knowledge?”
An answer is to be found in the 13th Chapter wherein Srila Prabhupada writes: “Knowledge and development of knowledge mean to understand oneself in Krishna Consciousness.” And throughout the entire Bhagavad-gita, Arjuna is progressively understanding himself in Krishna Consciousness.
Develop knowledge and understanding
The 15th chapter’s amazing analogy of the banyan tree gives us an insight into the process of developing knowledge and understanding. First of all, Krishna asks Arjuna to become a spiritual dendrologist: “One who knows this tree is the knower of the Vedas (veda-vit)”. Then, he is instructed to, like a lumberjack, cut down the tree with the axe of detachment sharpened by knowledge and discrimination.
Arjuna’s next role is that of a seeker: “Thereafter, one must seek that place from which, having gone, one never returns.” Finally Arjuna is advised to surrender: “…and there surrender to that Supreme Personality of Godhead from whom everything began and from whom everything has extended since time immemorial.”
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Preparing to act according to Krishna’s instructions
To further facilitate Arjuna’s search, in chapters 13 to 18 Krishna unfolds new depths and breadths of transcendental knowledge. After attentively hearing these, Arjuna utters his final statement of surrender by declaring, “My illusion is now gone. I have regained my memory by Your mercy. I am now firm and free from doubt and am prepared to act according to Your instructions.”