Bhagavadgita -Radhakrishnan 2

The Bhagavadgita -S. Radhakrishnan

1. Importance of the Work

As the colophon indicates, the .Bhagavadgita is both meta-physics and ethics, brahmavidya and yogasastra, the science of reality and the art of union with reality. The truths of spirit can be apprehended only by those who prepare them-selves for their reception by rigorous discipline. We must cleanse the mind of all distraction and purge the heart from all corruption, to acquire spiritual wisdom.[1] Again, theperception of the truth results in the renewal of life.

The realm of spirit is not cut off from the realm of life. To divide man into outer desire and inner quality is to violate the integrity of human life. The illumined soul acts as a member of the kingdom of God, affecting the world he touches and becoming a saviour to others.[2]The two orders of reality, the transcendent and the empirical, are closely related. The opening section of the Gita raises the question of the problem of human action. How can, we live in the Highest Self and yet continue to work in the world? The answer given is the traditional answer of the Hindu religion, though it is stated with a new emphasis.

By its official designation,[3] the Gita is called an upanisad, since it derives its main inspiration from that remarkable group of scriptures, the Upanisads. Though the Gita gives us a vision of truth, impressive and profound, though it opens up new paths for the mind of man, it accepts assumptions which are a part of the tradition of past generations and embedded in the language it employs. It crystallizes and concentrates the thoughts and feelings which were developing among the thinking people of its time. The fratricidal struggle is made the occasion for the development of a spiritual message based on the ancient wisdom, prajna purani, of the Upanisads.[4]

The different elements which, at the period of the composition of the Gita, were competing with each other within the Hindu system, are brought together and integrated into a comprehensive synthesis, free and large, subtle and pro-found. The teacher refines and reconciles the different cur-rents of thought, the Vedic cult of sacrifice, the Upanisad teaching of the transcendent Brahman, the Bhagavata theism and tender piety, the Samkhya dualism and the Yoga meditation. He draws all these living elements of Hindu life and thought into an organic unity. He adopts the method, not of denial but of penetration and shows how these different lines of thought converge towards the same end.


References and Context

  1. Cp.Iyotir atmani nanyatra samam tat sarvajantusu svayam ca . sakyate drastuin susamahitacetasa."God's light dwells in the self and nowhere else. It shines alikein every living being and one can see it with one's mind steadied." .-
  2. IV, 34.
  3. Cp. the colophon : bhagavadgitasu upanisatsu.
  4. The popular verse from the Vaisnaviya Tantrasara makes out that the Gita restates the central teachings of the Upanisads. The Upanisads are the cows and the cowherd's son, Krsna, is the milker; Arjuna is the calf, the wise man is the drinker and the nectar-like gita is the excellent milk.sarvopanisado gavo dogdha gopalanandanahpartho vatsah sudhir bhokta dugdham gitamrtam mahai .