shraddhavaanllabhate jnyaanam tatparaha samyatendriyaha |
jnyaanam labdhvaa paraan shaantimachirenaadhigacchati || 39 ||

One who has faith, who is completely focused on attaining knowledge and has restrained the senses, obtains this knowledge. Having obtained this knowledge, he instantly attains ultimate peace.

shraddhavaan : one with faith
labhate : obtains
jnyaanam : knowledge
tatparaha : one who has complete focus on attaining knowledge
samyatendriyaha : one who has restrained the senses
jnyaanam : knowledge
labdhvaa : having obtained
paraan : ultimate
shaantim : peace
achirena : instantly
adhigacchati : attain

In this shloka, Shri Krishna describes the attributes we need to cultivate in order to attain knowledge of self-realization. He point out three attributes : faith, focus, and sense control.

The most important qualification that we should have is shraddha, or faith. But what specifically should we have faith in? It is four things: faith in scriptures, in our teacher, in ourselves and in the truth of the eternal essence. Furthermore, this faith has to come out of utter conviction that the material world is not the be-all and end-all. There is an changeless eternal reality behind this ever-changing material world. Unless we are convinced that there is something beyond the material world, we will never develop true faith.

However, we have to be careful not to get stuck at level of faith. If our faith becomes too rigid and is guided by dogma rather than intellectual questioning, it will morph into superstition and fanaticism. Just like we learn to appreciate a technical subject such as algebra through inquiry and verification, so too should our faith use the same means to strengthen itself.

In addition to faith, Shri Krishna mentions two more attributes. First is tatparah, which is the keen intent and focus of the seeker to do what it takes to pursue the path chosen. Second is samyatindriyah, which is restraint and control over the senses. If sense restraint is absent, then our attention would quickly stray away from the spiritual path into the material world.

Now, if we develop these qualities and follow the path of knowledge, then we will know that we have gained knowledge through attainment of everlasting peace. As long as the ego is present, it generates noise or chatter in the form of selfish thoughts. It is like the background noise generated by our fridge that we have gotten used to. Knowledge of self-realization annihilates the ego, which eliminates the ego’s noise, giving us everlasting peace. Ultimately, we are all seeking peace, which is beyond happiness.

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