06.08 – Let research reinforce, not replace, search

by August 9, 2013

The essence of the spiritual journey is not research, but search. Research refers to an academic, intellectual quest for information, whereas search refers to a personal, all-consuming quest for transformation.

Gita wisdom provides us an exciting and fulfilling arena for both research and search. Its philosophy incorporates and integrates different schools of thought in a comprehensive and coherent worldview. Understanding its multiple and multi-layered teachings can be a fascinating research project.

The central message of the Gita is a call for search, for seeking the supreme spiritual happiness by redirecting the heart from the world to the source of the world, Krishna. For this redirection, it offers various yogic processes culminating in bhakti-yoga. By yogic practice, we reach and relish higher spiritual realities centered ultimately on Krishna.

Research can reinforce search. It can introduce us to the basic terms and concepts of spiritual life. It can provide metaphysical scaffolding on which to ascend the spiritual ladder. And it can equip us with a compass to gauge our progress and success.

But research can never replace search – information alone doesn’t bring about transformation. Knowledge can show us the way, but it doesn’t move us along the way. Application alone moves us forward. Internalizing scriptural principles centered on remembrance of Krishna and thereby seeking the spiritual experience of love for Krishna is the search that is the heart of spiritual life.

Different yogic processes outlined in the Gita use different frames of reference to describe spiritual truths. Only by experience attained through search can we reconcile these variations. If we restrict ourselves only to research, then we remain caught in confusion and contradiction.

That’s why the Bhagavad-gita (06.08: jnana-vijnana triptatma) urges those who seek contentment to complement research with search, to complete the spiritual journey by going beyond theoretical information to transformational realization.


A person is said to be established in self-realization and is called a yogi [or mystic] when he is fully satisfied by virtue of acquired knowledge and realization. Such a person is situated in transcendence and is self-controlled. He sees everything – whether it be pebbles, stones or gold – as the same.


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