The Bhagavadgita -S. Radhakrishnan
4. Ultimate Reality
The Upanisad speaks of two birds perched on one tree, one of whom eats the fruits and the other eats not but watches, the silent witness withdrawn from enjoyment. Impersonality and personality are not arbitrary constructions or fictions of the mind. They are two ways of looking at the Eternal. The Supreme in its absolute self-existence is Brahman, the Absolute and as the Lord and Creator containing and con-trolling all, is Isvara, the God. "Whether the Supreme is regarded as undetermined or determined, this Siva should be known as eternal; undetermined He is, when viewed as different from the creation and determined, when He is everything. If the world is a cosmos and not an amorphous uncertainty, it is due to the oversight of God.
The Bhagavata makes out that the one Reality which is of the nature of undivided consciousness is called Brahman, the Supreme Self or God. He is the ultimate principle, the real self in us as well as the God of worship. The Supreme is at once the transcendental, the cosmic and the individual reality. In Its transcendental aspect, It is the pure self unaffected by any action or experience, detached, unconcerned. In Its dynamic cosmic aspect, It not only supports but governs the whole cosmic action and this very Self which is one in all and above all is present in the individual.
Isvara is not responsible for evil except in an indirect way. If the universe consists of active choosing individuals who can be influenced but not controlled, for God is not a dictator, conflict is inevitable. To hold that the world consists of free spirits means that evil is possible and probable.
References and Context
- Cp. Rani: "Thy light is at once joined to all things and apart from all." Shams-i-Tabriz (E.T. By Nicholson), Ode IX.
- Mundaka Up., III, i, 1-3. Cp. Boehme : "And the deep of the darkness is as great as the habitation of the light; and they stand not one distant from the other but together in one another and neither of them hath beginning nor end." Three Principles, XI V, 76.
- nirgunas sagunas' ceti Sivo jneyah sanatanahnirgunah prakrter anyah, sagunas sakalah smrtah.
- vadanti tat tattvavidah tattvarm yaj jnanam advayarn brahmeti paramatmeti bhagavan iti .labdyateCp also :utpattim ca vinasam ca bhutanam agatim gatim vetti vidyam avidyam ca sa vacyo bhagavanits
- Cp. 8. on Brhadaranyaka Up., III, 8, 12. Roughly we may say that the Self in its transcendental, cosmic and individual aspects answers to the Christian Trinity of Father, Son and Holy Ghost.