Bhagavadgita -Radhakrishnan 126

The Bhagavadgita -S. Radhakrishnan

The Way of Knowledge

4. aparam bhavato janma
Param janma vivasvatals
katham etad vijaniyarh
tvam adMau prokzczvan iti
Arjuna said :
(4) Later was Thy birth and earlier was the birth of Vivasvat. How then am I to understand that thou didst declare it to him in the beginning?
The Buddha claimed to have been the teacher of countless Bodhisattvas in bygone ages. Saddhann4putgarika, XV, x. Jesus said: "Before Abraham was, I am." John viii, 58.
The Theory of Avatarsribhagavãn uvãca
5. bahani me vyatitani
janmani Lava ca 'rjuna tang aham veda sarvani
na tvam vettha pararhtapa
The Blessed Lord said :
(5) Many are My lives that are past, and thine also, 0 Arjuna; all of them I know but thou knowest not, 0 Scourge of the foe (Arjuna).

6. ajo 'pi sann avyayatma
bhutanam isvaro 'pi sann
prakytirh scam adhishay
sartbhavanny atmamayaya
(6) Though (I am) unborn, and My self (is) imperishable, though (I am) the lord of all creatures, yet establishing Myself in My own nature, I come into (empiric) being through My power (maya).
The embodiments of human beings are not voluntary. Driven by prakrti through ignorance, they are born again and again.
The Lord controls prakrti and assumes embodiment through His own free will. The ordinary birth of creatures is determined by the force of prakrti, avasam prakrter vasat,[1] while the Lord takes birth through his own power, atmamayaya.
prakrtim adhisthaya: establishing in My own nature. He uses His nature in a way which is free from subjection to karma [2]There is no suggestion here that the becoming of the one is a mere appearance. It is intended realistically. It is an actual becoming by maya, "the capacity to render the impossible actual."
S.'s view that "I appear to be born and embodied, through My own power but not in reality unlike others"[3] is not satisfactory. Yogamaya refers to the free will of God, His sveccha, His incomprehensible power. The assumption of imperfection by perfection, of lowliness by majesty, of weakness by power is the mystery of the universe. It is maya from the logical standpoint.


References and Context

  1. IX, 8.
  2. karmaparatantryarahita. Sridhara.
  3. sambhavam dehavan iva, jata iva, atmamayaya atmano mayayd na paramdrthato lokavat.