18.76: The two wonders of Gita wisdom

by July 28, 2012

Beholding the wonders of the world is often an anti-climactic experience. The splendor of the Taj Mahal is fascinating to see once, maybe twice, just maybe thrice. But then it becomes pale and stale – and we start wondering if there is anything else to see.

Though the much-touted wonders of the world usually disappoint us, we still long to behold or experience something that fills us with wonder.


Gita wisdom answers that the sense of wonder (adbhuta) is one of the aesthetic emotions (rasa) foundational to our spiritual nature. Relishing the Bhagavad-gita can awaken this emotion in our heart, as Sanjaya testifies (18.76).

The word wonder has two connotations: experience of awe (I am struck by wonder on seeing the beauty of the rainbow) and absence of understanding (I wonder how a rainbow is formed in thin air during the rainy season).

Gita wisdom wakens both these senses of wonder in us. Let’s see how:

  1. Experience of awe: Gita wisdom answers life’s toughest questions while delineating a majestic worldview that is both emotionally appealing and intellectually satisfying. The more we meditate on the Gita’s verses, the more we become awe-struck at how its simple-seeming verses embody the profoundest insights in all of existence.
  2. Absence of understanding: We can never fully understand Krishna’s glory and beauty, yet every moment that we remember, serve and love him, our understanding deepens. Consequently, we become filled with a sense of wonder that is a celebration not of ignorance, but of the mystery of divine love that is increasingly (but never completely) unraveled at every moment for all of eternity.

Once our heart becomes awake to these twin wonders of the Gita, then life itself becomes an ongoing, unfolding wonder.



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