Sense Of Wonder – In Gita Verse 18.74 Sañjaya said: Thus have I heard the conversation of two great souls, Kṛṣṇa and Arjuna. And so wonderful is that message that my hair is standing on end.

Sanjay was so overwhelmed by hearing the conversation of Krishna and Arjuna. He is in wonderment.


Try to understand this.

In the dictionary, “wonder” means astonishment. But there is a basic difference between wonder and astonishment. If you fail to understand this basic difference, you may embark on a different journey altogether. Astonishment is the foundation of science, a sense of wonder is that of yoga.

Astonishment is extrovert; wonder is introvert. Astonishment is about the other; wonder is about our own self. This is the first point.

Wonder is born out of that which we cannot understand, which makes us speechless, which our intellect cannot grasp, which proves to be bigger than us, before whom we are suddenly dumbfounded – which destroys us.

If the same state of wonder – which is born when we are faced with the illogical, the incomprehensible – is diverted towards the external objects, it gives birth to science. When we start thinking about matter, when we start contemplating the world and try to investigate that mystery that surrounds us all, science is created. Science is born out of astonishment. Astonishment means, it has embarked on an outward journey.

There is one more difference between wonder and astonishment: if we are surprised by something, sooner or later we will be fed up with that surprise, because surprise creates tension; hence the effort of destroying that which surprises us. Science is born out of this surprise. Then it destroys the surprise. It tries to find interpretations, doctrines, formulas, keys and it does not rest assured till it destroys the mystery, till it is in possession of knowledge, till science can claim: “Yes, I have understood!”

Science is bent upon eradicating the element of astonishment from the world. If it succeeds in achieving that, there will not be a single thing on earth that man cannot boast of not knowing. It means, this world will be godless, because God means that which we cannot claim to know even if we have known him. We may know him but he remains unknowable. We may go on deepening our knowledge of him, he cannot be exhausted. We are in a state of eternal wonder about him.

There are some objects which have become known to us. We can call them the known. There are some other objects which we do not know but we will know them. Let us call them the unknown.

And existence also consists of such objects which we have never known and about which we will never be able to know. We will call them the unknowable. God is unknowable. This is the third element. Science does not accept God because it says that nothing is unknowable in the world. We may have not known it up to now, maybe we did not try hard enough, but sooner or later we will know. Some day we will know the world completely; nothing will remain unknown in it.

Science is born out of astonishment and then it begins to destroy the astonishment. Therefore, I call science patricidal: it tries to kill that which created it. Religion is just the opposite. Religion is also born out of a certain astonishment; this sutra calls it, “sense of wonder.” The only difference is: when a religious seeker is filled with wonder, he does not set out on the outer journey, he goes on an inner pilgrimage. Whenever some kind of mystery envelopes him, he starts thinking about himself: I must know who I am. If the mystery becomes introspective, and the search and the journey is directed inwards, the arrow of the seeking points towards the self, the attention is totally absorbed by the thirst to know our own reality – then it is a wonder.


A sense of wonder becomes a door for one who wants to enter yoga. Revive your childhood! Start asking again. Awaken your curiosity, your quest and the roots of life that have dried in you will start greening again. All the blocks will melt away and streams will start running. Open your eyes and look all around once again – all answers are false, because all your answers are borrowed. You have not known anything. But you are stuffed with borrowed knowledge, to the extent that you feel you know it.

Awaken your sense of wonder. Your yoga-postures and breath-exercises are useless if there is no sense of wonder within you – because all the yogic exercises belong to the body. It’s true that your body will be purified, a healthy but purified and healthy body will not help you to attain divinity.

A sense of wonder purifies the heart. Wonder means: the mind is free of all answers. Wonder means: you have removed all the garbage of answers. Your question has become new, rejuvenated; you have understood your ignorance.

Wonder means: I do not know.

Scholarship means: I know.


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