The Path to wisdom and its Difficulties

The One, The Invisible, The Unrevealed, Unnamed, Unthinkable,
Uttermost, All-pervading, Highest, yet, hard.

The travail is for such as bend their minds
To reach th' Unmanifest. That viewless path
Shall scarce be trod by (embodied man)

But whereso any doeth all his deeds
Renouncing self, fixed
To serve only the Highest, night and day

Bhagavad Gita, tr Edwin Arnold

In the Sanskrit of the Bhagavad Gita

In the Sanskrit of the Bhagavad Gita, the word gatim is variously translated as Path, Goal, State, Condition:

Here are some of the uses of gatim in a typical translation:

2: path of virtue, path of final emancipation
3: evil path
4:11 men follow in my path; men retrace my path in every way
4: thorny and dark the path is
5: the farther path
5:17 a state beyond return
6:37 He whose mind has deviated from yoga; deluded on the path not reaching to yogic attainments, having failed what path does he take? (What end does he meet? what way is there for him?)
6:38 pathi
6:38 He is confounded regarding the path of the Absolute he is perplexed in the path to Brahman
6:45 param gatim; a higher way
7:18 mam gatim (my path, unsurpassed goal, highest goal, way)
8:13 paramam gatim (Supreme abode, highest path, supreme goal, absolute way)
8:21 the highest way
9:32 the path celestial (param gatim) the highest path, way
12:5 that viewless path, unperceived goal, unmanifested way; Transcendant path. The unmanifest is hard for the embodied to realise
13:28 supreme goal (param gatim) highest way
16:20 lowest path (adhaman gatim) lowest way
16:22 param gatim; highest way
16:23 param gatim; highest way

A Few Quotes from ancient and modern sources

"In starting any thesis, it seems to me, one should put forward as one's starting point of departure something incontrovertible; the expression should be simple and dignified."
Diogenes of Apollonia 5th C bc p87 Freeman 1948/1962
"If one does not hope, one will not find the unhoped-for, since there is no trail leading to it and no path."
Heracleitus of Ephesus, circa 500bc in Freeman 1962 p26
"and they follow me in thousands, to inquire where is the path of advantage ... desiring oracles and healing for their painful diseases."
Empedocles of Acragas circa 450bc (p64 Freeman 1948/1962)
Right Reckoning, when discovered, checks civil strife and increases concord; for where it has been achieved, there can be no excess of gain, and equality reigns. It is this (Right Reckoning) that brings us to terms over business contracts, and through it the poor receive from the men of means, and the rich give to the needy, both trusting that through it (Right Reckoning) they will be treated fairly. Being the standard and the deterrent of wrongdoers, it checks those who are able to reckon consequences before they do wrong, convincing them that they will not be able to avoid detection when they come against it; but when they are not able to reckon it shows them that in this inability to reckon consequences lies their wrongdoing, and so it prevents them from committing the wrong deed."
Archytas of Tarentum, 4th C bc in Freeman p80 1948/1962
"We have seen before that the description of the motion of elementary particle in terms of paths, i.e. in classical fashion, is improper; that it leads neither to correct empirical results nor to a causal theory."
p199 Margenau 1944

Krishnamurti on this subject

Concerns, Difficulties and Fatal Errors

1. An inability to distinguish between an obstacle (pitfall, detour, or dead-end) and the Path itself.
2. An intention to quit the Path, as it has not provided the rewards one was hoping for. One was lonely and hoped for companionship. One suffered from doubts and sought conviction. One was bored and sought adventure and/or romance. One sought a teacher and couldn't find one.
3. A feeling that one's ability to detect danger on the Path needs no improvement.
4. An inability to distinguish a feeling from a belief, or an inability to distinguish either of these from an intention, or an intuition.
5. An inability to tell whether one is walking the Path or whether one is imitating portions of the legends of people who are widely believed to have done so.
6. A belief that one can easily tell whether another person is on the Path or not.