The great mathematician André Weil said this:

Nothing is more fruitful – all mathematicians know it – than those obscure analogies, those disturbing reflections of one theory in another; those furtive caresses, those inexplicable discords; nothing also gives more pleasure to the researcher. The day comes when the illusion dissolves; the yoked theories reveal their common source before disappearing. As the Gita teaches, one achieves knowledge and indifference at the same time."

What's important to me is that last sentence. I was wondering how is this referred to in the Gita? And what is its significance?I've never read the Gita and any help from you guys would be great.



He is probably referring to Gita Chapter II verses 71-72. The term Knowledge refers to a person who has realized Brahman, not any intellectual knowledge. His referral to indifference means being free from desires. Verses 71-72 read as:

That man who lives completely free from desires, without longing, devoid of the sense of 'I' and 'mine', attains peace. This is the Brahmic state, O son of Pritha. Attaining it, one is no longer deluded. Being established therein even in the hour of death, one attains final liberation in Brahman.

The only people completely free of desires are people who have realized their oneness with the Pure Consciousness - Brahman. So knowledge of Brahman and indifference to the world go hand in hand.


The Gita refers to indifference and equanimity and uses them interchangeably. As for knowledge, it's knowledge of a very specific type -- of one's own true nature.

I don't think the Gita states that one achieves knowledge and indifference at the same time. Rather, knowledge of one's true nature leads to equanimity (indifference). However, reading the Gita (at least the translation I'm currently reading, I've read at least 2 previous ones), it's not always clear what's a consequence. So the Gita talks about equanimity and in some spots it seems to be a result of self-realization (knowledge), while in others it seems to be a pre-requisite to it.

Further, the knowledge the Gita speaks of is the knowledge of realization, not book knowledge. So the knowledge of one's true nature one must achieve is an experiential knowledge of such.

  • Thanks. This might not be the place to ask this, but do you recommend reading the Gita? Could you tell me why so? Thanks!
    – DLV
    Feb 27 '15 at 19:07
  • 1
    @David if you are interested in Eastern spirituality, meditation, or inner development, then the Gita is worth reading. However, you may not agree with everything; I focus on the parts that can be given a psychological interpretation. Also, the translation matters. I'm currently reading one by Swami Swarupananda, which is pretty good.
    – R. Barzell
    Feb 27 '15 at 19:35
  • Andre Weil taught himself Sanskrit, but we can only speculate whether he really internalized the language and thought in the language itself, or instead if he merely formed his own personal French translation as he read. Oct 3 '17 at 14:25

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