Question: Can you give us an example?
Answer: Very often, in fact most of us are born in action. Our natural tendency is towards activity; our entire being is as it were a breath: breathing itself is an activity! We are born in action you might say, and we have natural tendencies by which from childhood, we simply run into activity. Usually, in our childhood, it is instinct, or impulse, which impels us to do actions. It is our inclinations that make us to do actions: it is our wish, our desire, our longing, our attraction, our repulsion, or at a certain stage, a burning desire to be, or to become. These are our ordinary motivations in our young stage of life.
Therefore you might say that normally we start with action. That is the most natural starting point for everybody. Even Arjuna’s question has started from Karma. In the Bhagavad Gita, the starting point is action: Arjuna has come to the field for action.
Having come to the field of action, he is confronted with grief, and this grief has come as a result of a certain attitude towards his action, certain ideas, which are beginning to a play in regard to action. This attitude and these ideas constitute the part of Jnana, that Jnana being incomplete, being confused, he gets bewildered, and affects his action. That is why Sri Krishna to put him on the right keel he immediately lifts Arjuna from the field of action to the field of knowledge.
That is why the first part of the 2nd chapter is entirely given to Knowledge, is given to Sankhya, to the path of Knowledge, where Sri Krishna tells him that: “Your main difficulty is with the ideas, so let me first clarify the ‘ideative’ aspect of your being. You have taken a few ideas into account, and you are manifesting them without really understanding them properly. You use the words of the wise, and you might even think that you are wise because you are using the words of the wise, but let me tell you what the real wisdom is.”
In one word that wisdom that he says is that: “There is the eternal, which never perishes.” This is the first point of wisdom. “There is the eternal, which never perishes, and all your ideas are on dying, killing, ‘I am the killer and they are killed’, but the real wisdom is, the first statement is, ‘There is the eternal, which never dies.’, if you want wisdom, this is the real wisdom, unless you are settled upon that Knowledge, you will not be able to do your action properly.”
The whole of the 2nd chapter is nothing but settling the mind of Arjuna upon that which is eternal, and then drawing out of that, all other consequences.
In our life also, we start with action, and everyone at a certain stage needs the knowledge to support the action. That is why, in childhood, we want our children to study. It is the emphasis on knowledge because the children are normally engaged in activities, in actions, and we know that these activities will ultimately come to a crisis. So, before the crisis comes, you want your children to be educated so that the knowledge aspect is emphasised, and that the children begin to study, begin to think, but because you do not know how to educate properly, and because you do not know the connection between knowledge and action, our methods of education are all arbitrary and artificial. We go on emphasising knowledge aspect, and that too, intellectual knowledge to such an extent, that very often many children’s activities becomes blunted, which is also wrong.
The right education is one in which a proper balance is brought about: the activity, and knowledge. That is how in the modern methods of progressive methods of education, activity oriented, child’s centred, where the inclinations of the children are emphasised, and knowledge is, as if it were, provided through activities, for the enlightenment of activities, but that also is a limited field and limited idea.