Bhagavadgita -Radhakrishnan 19

The Bhagavadgita -S. Radhakrishnan

5. Krsna, the teacher

As an individual, Krsna Is one of millions of forms through which the Universal Spirit manifests Itself. The author of the Gita mentions Krsna of history as one of many forms along with his disciple Arjuna.[1] The avatara is the demonstration of man's spiritual resources and latent divinity. It is not so much the contraction of Divine majesty into the limits of the human frame as the exaltation of human nature to the level of Godhead by its union with the Divine.

Theism, however, makes out that Krsna is an incarnation (avatarana) or descent of the Divine into the human frame. Though the Lord knows no birth or change, He has many times been born. Krsna is the human embodiment of Visnu. He is the Supreme who appears to the world as though born and embodied.[2]

The assumption of human nature by the Divine Reality, like the creation of the world, does not take away from or add to the integrity of the Divine.Creation and incarnation both belong to the world of manifestation and not to the Absolute Spirit.[3]

If the Infinite God is manifested in finite existence throughout time, then Its special manifestation at one given moment and through the assumption of one single human nature is but the free fulfilment of that same movement by which the Divine plenitude freely fulfils itself and inclines towards the finite. It does not raise any fresh problem apart from that of creation. If a human organ-ism can be made in the image of God, if new patterns can be woven into the stuff of repetitive energy, if eternity can be incorporated in these ways into succession, then the Divine Reality can express His absolute mode of being in and through a completely human organism. The scholastic theologians tell us that God is present in the creatures, "by essence, presence, power." The relation between the Absolute, infinite, self-existent and immutable and the finite human individual who is enmeshed in the temporal order is unimaginably intimate though difficult to define and explain. In the great souls we call incarnations, God who is responsible for the being and dignity of man has more wonderfully renewed it. The penetration of successiveness by the Eternal which is present in every event of the cosmic is manifested in a deeper sense in the incarnations.


References and Context

  1. X, 37
  2. S writes : sa ca bhagavan jnanaisvarya. asktibalaviryatejobhih,sada sampannah, trigunatmikam vaisnavim svam mayam mulaprakrtim vasikrtya, ajo avyayo bhutanam isvaro nitya. uddhabuddhamuktasvabhavopi san svamayaya dehavam iva jata iva, lokanugraham kurvanniva laksyate, amsena sambabhuva does not mean that Krsna is born of a part or is a partial incarnation. Anandagiri interprets amsena to mean "in a phenomenal form created by his own will" svecchamitena mayamayena svarupena while the Apostle's Creed lays stress on the human nature of the Son of God, "who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead and buried," the Nicene Creed adds that he "came down from heaven and was made flesh." This coming down or descent of God into flesh is the avatarana.
  3. Cp. Hooker: "This admirable union of God with man can enforce in that higher nature no alternation because with God there is nothing more natural than not to be subject to any change.' EcclesiasticalPolity (1888 ed.), vol. ii, p. 234.