How to Inspire Worthy Enquiry

“Our contentedness is the most shining example we can give. It is the sign of radiating life for all to enjoy that brings whatever percentage of worthy enquiry can come from our social setting.”

Thom Knoles

Wisdom is of little use unless it’s shared, however it can go to waste if it’s shared where it isn’t wanted. It can even have a damaging effect if it’s shared where it’s unwelcome.

So when you have wisdom that you know would be valuable, knowledge about Vedic Meditation for example, how can you inspire others to receive that wisdom willingly?

Thom frequently talks about “worthy enquiry” on the podcast, and in this episode he dives more deeply into the subject. He explains the concept of worthy enquiry and it’s origin, which is deeply embedded in Vedic history. 

He also explains how we can inspire worthy enquiry, and provides reassurance that even if we don’t, we’re in good company… 

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Episode Highlights


Wise Do Not Bewilder the Ignorant



Loving Controllers



Wise and Trusted Counselor



Maharishi Mahesh Yogi – The Ultimate Inspirer



Subtle Ridicule



Not an Absolute Sure Shot



An Incident on an International Border



Mangoes Don’t Come from Walnut Trees



Knowers of Reality



Radiate Life for All to Enjoy


Jai Guru Deva


How to Inspire Worthy Enquiry

[00:45] Wise Do Not Bewilder the Ignorant

Jai Guru Deva. Thank you for listening to my podcast, The Vedic Worldview. I’m Thom Knoles.

Today we’re going to explore the question of how do I inspire worthy enquiry. Worthy enquiry is a concept that I learned from my master Maharishi Mahesh Yogi and it has to do with an injunction laid down by Lord Krishna in the famous text the Bhagavad Gita, and translated direct from Sanskrit into the most basic English, the injunction is “wise do not bewilder ignorant.”

Interesting, you know, the idea being if you bewilder people who are less well informed than you then you run the risk of having your credibility as a provider of knowledge weakened and that’s an important thing.

The way we might put it in Western terms is that it is best not to give advice which is not sought. Even if you feel as though you have knowledge and you could counsel somebody or advise them, but they don’t appear to be in a teachable moment. They don’t appear to have, what we call in the Vedic terminology, worthy enquiry, then it’s likely to cause them to either be polite and shut down, or to be impolite and shut down, either way.

[02:27] Loving Controllers

And so then the idea is, well, is it within the boundaries of what is considered wise to be an inspirer of worthy enquiry? How do I make myself more inspirational?

And here we need to pause and look at another related but separate issue and that is a tendency that we have to be controllers. We may have. We may have a tendency to be a controller. And most people who are controllers who are also interested and engaged in a spiritual path of their own might decry the idea of being merely a controller, because they feel as though they’re doing things for the best of others and I refer to these as loving individuals as loving controllers.

“Yes, I control, but I do it out of love.” And, you might note a slightly jocular orientation in the way that I’m describing this. The adjective loving, prior to the word controller, doesn’t necessarily eliminate the word controller. To try to control other people is also a violation of the laws of Nature according to the Vedic worldview.

You cannot stop someone from behaving according to their state of consciousness. Someone’s consciousness state absolutely dictates their thinking, the sequence of their thinking, the kinds of thoughts they’re capable of having spontaneously, and therefore then their speech and their behavior. State of consciousness is everything.

[04:32] Wise and Trusted Counselor

All we are ever in interaction with is the state of consciousness of another. And so the idea that you can control their actions, behavior, speech, or dare we even say it, that you can control their thinking, is actually an error. Control, and even a tendency to want to control, is opposed to the evolutionary process.

People need to evolve at their own pace. Certainly it wouldn’t mean that you don’t interject if it looks as though there’s a teachable moment there, if it looks as though there is worthy enquiry.

But in the absence of worthy enquiry, we’re treading a fine line where, you know, someone who identifies us as some kind of controller, whether loving or not, might see you coming when walking in the city streets, and seeing you from a distance might go out of their way to cross the street to make sure they don’t get accosted by you or have to interact with you.

And this goes at cross purposes to the idea that one might have of being a wise and trusted counselor. A true wise and trusted counselor is someone who has the capacity, just based in their own state of consciousness, in their own state of being, to be an inspiration to others.

[06:15] Maharishi Mahesh Yogi – The Ultimate Inspirer

Let me say, the most inspirational person ever I met was my teacher, my guru, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, from whom I have all this knowledge. I never met anyone more magnetic, even by a tenth, as magnetic as he was.

He had a personality that was sweet and kind, authoritative, gentle, super intelligent, and a master. of the use of language and just being around him you naturally wanted to know whatever he might know that you don’t know and so, generally speaking, there was a tremendous amount of worthy enquiry.

So much so that if he gave a lecture to a host of meditators, and I say a host because frequently it was in the thousands of people, there would be a line, a queue to get to the microphone to ask him yet the next question.

And questioners frequently would cheat a little by saying, my question has five parts. Part one. In other words, they were asking five questions instead of one question, just so that they could get as much information and knowledge from him as possible.

And frequently lecture sessions would last five, six, seven, even eight hours or longer. Just him answering people’s questions. Very, very interesting. Lots of worthy enquiry, and I said earlier, in general.

[08:06] Subtle Ridicule

However, I also traveled with him, and I saw members of the public who came into contact with him who were not well informed about him or were not highly conscious people, who had the capacity utterly, either at its mildest, to ignore him or even to ridicule him, but not to his face but subtly to ridicule, you know because he looked unusual.

He was not a tall man about five feet tall. Very long hair. Long hair in the earliest days of my contact with him was not yet a trendy thing.

Most men in the world sported well-trimmed haircuts that they had refreshed and renewed with short back and short sides, probably had it refreshed and renewed monthly.

Maharishi hadn’t had his hair cut in decades when I met him, so he had long flowing locks that came down well over his shoulders and down to his chest, and he sported a very long unkempt beard that was probably half a foot long hanging down from his chin and he wore ivory colored silk robes called a dhoti, a top half and a bottom half.

And he wore even in winter, even when walking on snow, he was barefooted with his feet through two rubber loops that came over the top of two pieces of wood that were cut into foot shape. His sandals were extremely rudimentary, wood with a rubber hoop coming over the top into which one slid one’s foot.

[10:13] Not an Absolute Sure Shot

And so here’s this man walking around perhaps in Europe, perhaps in snow, perhaps in United States or Britain, and although many complete strangers would approach him, starry eyed, gazing at him with admiration, there were nonetheless plenty of people who kind of snickered a bit when they saw him walk past, because they had no idea what he was or what he represented or what he might have to offer to them.

Now, I’m using him as an example, the Force Five hurricane of Happiness, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, whose tendency was constantly to smile and be happy, even he himself was not an absolute 100 percent sure shot with reference to making people inspiring people to come up with worthy enquiry so that he could have, as it were, the permission from Nature to flow into the giving of knowledge.

[11:31] An Incident on an International Border

On one occasion, sitting on the boundary of Austria and Italy, in a forest, at a picnic, some local tourists, I should say local hikers from the local region, wearing their lederhosen, came strolling by and recognized him as the famous man that he was in that time. There was a period of time, perhaps a decade, where Maharishi Mahesh Yogi’s face was one of the most recognizable faces in the public arena.

He was extremely well known, and seeing him sitting on a blanket out in the forest was kind of amazing to them, and they gathered and came up and said, could they please, pose with him and have a picture taken. This is before the days of iPhones, you know, but people did carry little brownie cameras and somebody had one of those hanging around their neck.

And so they gathered around him and of course behind him there were probably 10 of them and as they did so,… one of them, right when the picture was about to be taken, you could see him snickering a little bit as behind Maharishi’s head he held up his index finger and middle finger and the little V sign that sometimes kids do when they want to put like little horns on the person in front of them in a photo thinking that that was really funny.

You know, “Here’s the celebrity Yogi with my two fingers poking up behind the head, looking like he has my two fingers for horns, haha.”

[13:17] Mangoes Don’t Come from Walnut Trees

When they left, Maharishi looked at me and he said, “Why so glum?” And I said, “Well,” and I told him what I saw. And I said, “You know, they missed such a great opportunity coming into contact with you to experience some wisdom.”

And Maharishi said, “And what did you expect?” And I said, “Well I expected a greater level of respect for you.” And he said, “Oh would you say that it was a shame?” I said, “Yes, it was a shame.”

And he said, “No the shame is with you.” And I said, “Why is the shame with me?” And he said, “Because it is a shame to be surprised when a walnut tree produces walnuts.” He said, “See, that’s what the walnut tree does. You’re expecting mangoes to drop from the walnut tree. Why? Mangoes don’t come from walnut trees. If you want a mango, you go to the mango tree. But when you see a walnut tree, expect walnuts.”

“It’s all right,” he said, “everything’s all right. Someone can only behave according to their consciousness state. We haven’t yet had a chance to raise their consciousness state, but something good is happening at least.”

And like that, I learned a very big lesson. One is not to become surprised when a state of consciousness evinces itself.

[14:55] Knowers of Reality

Second thing is, unless you have an opportunity given by a teachable moment, provided by a worthy enquiry state in somebody, you can’t really teach them to be in any other consciousness state than what they’re in. So, being a controller, being someone who would knit, brow, and you know, command, respect, or demand it, I should say, and who would be condemnatory, this also is not the behavior of a great master.

A great master is somebody who is fully aware that everyone is going to behave according to their consciousness state, and we don’t actually have the right to challenge someone’s consciousness state because that means we’re challenging their entire reality and perhaps attempting to invalidate it.

That’s naturally going to make people defensive, and making people defensive is the opposite. of what it is we hope to do as we grow in our status as the Knowers of reality, the Knowers of that deep inner reality.

[16:16] Radiate Life for All to Enjoy

Meditation and all of the concomitant knowledge that appends it is not absolutely for everyone. It’s not for everyone, not everyone in every consciousness state. There are relatively few people out of a hundred who will immediately react positively and hear that you meditate, or see that you do, or see the expression on your face and see the way that you keep your own counsel until asked what you’re thinking.

People who don’t consider you to be pushy, naturally they’re going to want to know more, and the best way to be someone who really spreads this knowledge as widely as possible is to resolve not to be a proselytizer. To proselytize means to be like a missionary who’s really out to get converts.

If you act like that, you’ll end up putting people off, and we don’t need absolutely everybody anyway. From our perspective, if one in a hundred people were to learn this meditation technique and to… seek the knowledge that naturally flows from an innocent experience of that quiet inner state of Being, one in a hundred, one percent, were to act, to learn to meditate, then we would revolutionize the world.

It only takes about one percent of any population meditating to cause measurable radical change in a collective, in a society. What that means in practical terms is, we can afford to have 99 percent of the people totally ignore us.

If 1 out of 100 seems to respond to whatever it is we have to offer, then we’re completely content, and our contentedness is the most shining example. It is the sign of radiating life for all to enjoy that brings, typically, whatever percentage of worthy enquiry can come from our social setting.

Jai Guru Deva. 

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