Why are we studying spirituality?

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We now live in an age where education has become very structured and systematized, wherein educational success is measured through certificates and accolades. While certification may be necessary to maintain educational standards, it can distract us from the real purpose of education: understanding the subject. 

Such distraction is especially detrimental in the domain of spiritual education, which the Bhagavad-gita declares is the king of education. In the spiritual domain, the primary purpose is to internalize and realize timeless truths about our essential identity and ultimate destiny. Such assimilation of truths foster within us conviction that empowers us to pursue the path of inner growth strongly and swiftly. In this journey, certification may motivate us to study wisdom-texts like the Gita.

If, however, we get caught too much in certification, as often happens in the academic study of religious-texts, then we may miss the core purpose of those texts: the faith necessary for spiritual growth. That faith enables us to make the necessary lifestyle changes so that we can let go of those worldly indulgences that go against our spirituality and can commit to those practices that nurture our spirituality. Without such conviction, our intellect may be fattened with information, but our soul will be starved. And we will end up being spiritually lost without even realizing that we are spiritually lost, or even while believing that we are spiritually informed or even advanced due to the information we have. 

The Bhagavad-gita itself demonstrates the emergence of such conviction: at its start, Arjuna is confused about his duty. After hearing the Gita, he becomes confident about making the required hard choices for persevering in his duty (18.73). 

When studied with the right purpose, the Gita can similarly empower us to face life’s battles with reinvigorated conviction

One-sentence summary:

The purpose of spiritual education is not certification but conviction.

Think it over:

  • In our spiritual journey, how can seeking certification distract us?
  • In our spiritual journey, how can seeking certification assist us?
  • How does the Gita demonstrate the core purpose of studying scripture? 


18.73: 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.

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