माश्चर्यवद्वदति तथैव चान्य: |
श्रुत्वाप्येनं वेद न चैव कश्चित् || 29||
āśhcharya-vat paśhyati kaśhchid enan
āśhcharya-vad vadati tathaiva chānyaḥ
āśhcharya-vach chainam anyaḥ śhṛiṇoti
śhrutvāpyenaṁ veda na chaiva kaśhchit
āśhcharya-vat—as amazing; paśhyati—see; kaśhchit—someone; enam—this soul; āśhcharya-vat—as amazing; vadati—speak of; tathā—thus; eva—indeed; cha—and; anyaḥ—other; āśhcharya-vat—similarly amazing; cha—also; enam—this soul; anyaḥ—others; śhṛiṇoti—hear; śhrutvā—having heard; api—even; enam—this soul; veda—understand; na—not; cha—and; eva—even; kaśhchit—some
Some look on the Self as a wonder; some speak of It as a wonder; some hear of It as a wonder; still others, though hearing, do not understand It at all.
Spiritual science does not end with mere theory. It is a practical experience. Only by experience does a man know the Self and understand what it is and how it functions in the practical world. But, for such direct experience, much good should have accumulated in the past, the mind should have been purified and freed from all bad tendencies. Therefore only the man who has long practiced the control of the senses, (` Sama’ and Dama’), and who has gone through many forms of spiritual discipline, is qualified to enter the domain of the Self. Others, though they enquire after the truth, are far away from understanding and realizing it. When the mirror is clear, the image is reflected clearly in it. A pure cloth can easily be dyed with any color. The seed sown in a watered ground soon sprouts into a plant. Even so, when the mind is pure, the Self is reflected in it clearly. But such men of pure mind are rare. So spiritual experience is a rare achievement for any human being. The same idea is expressed in the Katha Upanishad.
The man of heroic courage and determination desiring immortality turns the out-going senses and mind inwards and sees the supreme Self.
The Self is not an object to be seen or spoken or heard of. It is beyond the senses and mind. It is the subtlest of the subtle. It is hidden in the inmost recesses of the heart. By selfless action, devotion, dispassion, mediation, and such other methods, the heart should first be purified, and the inquiry for the Self should be continued for a long time before the Self is directly perceived. The Lord does not say that no one knows Him. He means only that such men are rare.
Since the Self is entirely different from any object seen or known, it is looked upon as wonder.
The verse may also mean that the speaker, the hearer, and the knower of the Supreme Being are all men of wonder.
Swami Vivekananda Says —
Some look at It [the Self] with wonder. Some talk of It as wonderful. Others hear of It as wonderful. Others, hearing of It, do not understand.[Source]
In the Ramakrishna Incarnation there is knowledge, devotion and love — infinite knowledge, infinite love, infinite work, infinite compassion for all beings. You have not yet been able to understand him. “श्रुत्वाप्येनं वेद न चैव कश्चित् — Even after hearing about Him, most people do not understand Him.” What the whole Hindu race has thought in ages, he lived in one life. His life is the living commentary to the Vedas of all nations. People will come to know him by degrees.[Source]
But it falleth out, that many who often hear the Gospel of Christ, are yet but little affected, because they are void of the Spirit of Christ. But whosoever would fully and feelingly understand the words of Christ, must endeavour to conform his life wholly to the life of Christ.[Source] (The Imitation of Christ, V. 2.) (*1)
Many there are who do not even hear of Atman; though hearing of Him, many do not comprehend. Wonderful is the expounder and rare the hearer; rare indeed is the experiencer of Atman taught by an able preceptor. (Katha Upanishad 1.2.7)
[*1] This passage is the English version of Swami Vivekananda’s translation of The Imitation of Christ (V. 2) into Bengali. To this he had supplied the following footnote referring to the Gita (2. 29): श्रुत्वाप्येनं वेद न चैव कश्चित्। “Others, hearing of It, do not understand.”