Bhagavadgita -Radhakrishnan 21

The Bhagavadgita -S. Radhakrishnan

5. Krsna, the teacher

The theory of avatara is an eloquent expression of the law of the spiritual world. If God is looked upon as the savior of man, He must manifest Himself, whenever the forces of evil threaten to destroy human values. An avatar is a descent of God into man and not an ascent of man into God, which is the case with the liberated soul. Though every conscious being is such a descent, it is only a veiled manifestation. There is a distinction between the self-conscious being of the Divine and the same shrouded in ignorance.

The fact of descent or avatar indicates that the Divine is not opposed to a full vital and physical manifestation. We can live in the physical body and yet possess the full truth of consciousness. Human nature is not a fetter but can become an instrument of divine life. Life and body with us, ordinary mortals, remain ignorant, imperfect and impotent means of expression but they need not always be so. The Divine Consciousness uses these for Its purpose while the unfreeze human consciousness has not this absolute control, over the physical, vital and mental forces.

Though the Gita accepts the belief in avatara as the Divine limiting Himself for some purpose on earth, possessing in His limited form the fullness of knowledge, it also lays stress on the eternal avatara, the God in man, the Divine consciousness always present in the human being The two views reflect the transcendent and the immanent aspects of the Divine and are not to be regarded as incompatible with each other. The teacher, who is interested in the spiritual illumination of the human race, speaks from the depths of the Divine in him. Krsna's avatara is an illustration of the revelation of the Spirit in us, the Divine hidden in gloom. According to the Bhagavata,[1] "at midnight, in the thickest darkness, the Dweller in every heart revealed Himself in the divine Devaki for the Lord is the self hidden in the hearts of all beings."[2] The glorious radiance arises from the blackest of black nights. In mysteries and revelations the night is rich. The presence of night does not make the existence of light less real. Indeed but for night there could be no human consciousness of light. The meaning of the birth of Krsna is the fact of redemption in the dark night. In the hour of calamity and enslavement the Saviour of the world is born. Krsna is said to be born of Vasudeva and Devaki. When our sattva nature is purified,[3] when the mirror of understanding is cleansed of the dust of desire, the light of pure consciousness is reflected in it. When all seems lost, light from heaven breaks, enriching our human life more than words can tell. A sudden flash, an inward illumination we have and life is seen fresh and new. When the Divine birth takes place within us, the scales fall from our eyes, the bolts of the prison open. The Lord abides in the heart of every creature and when the veil of that secret sanctuary is with-drawn, we hear the Divine voice, receive the Divine light, act in the Divine power. The embodied human consciousness is uplifted into the unborn eternal.[4].,The incarnation of Krsna is not so much the conversion of Godhead into flesh as the taking up of manhood into God.


References and Context

  1. msithe tamadbhute jayamane janardanedevakyam devarupinyam visnuh sarvaguha ayah... . vasudevagrhe saksat bhagavan purusah Parah janisyate.Bhagavata XL 23.Cp. what is said about the Incarnation of Jesus Christ: "Whilst all things were in quiet silence and night was in the midst of her swift course; thine Almighty Word leapt down from heaven out of thy royal throne. Alleluia." The doctrine of the Incarnation agitated the Christian world a great deal. Arius maintained that the Son is not the equal of the Father but created by Him. The view that they are not distinct but only different aspects of one Being is the theory of Sabellius. The former emphasized the distinctness of the Father and the Son and the latter their oneness. The view that finally prevailed was that the Father and the Son were equal and of the same substance; they were, however, distinct persons.
  2. X, 20; XVIII, 61.
  3. sattvam visvisuddham vasudeva sabditam Bhagavata Devaki is daivi prakrti, divine nature.
  4. This, to my mind, is the meaning of the Christian doctrine of resurrection The physical resurrection of Jesus is not the important thing but the resurrection of the Divine. The rebirth of man as an event that happens within his soul, resulting in a deeper under-standing of reality and a greater love for God and man, is the true resurrection which lifts human life to an awareness of its own Divine content and purpose. God is perpetual creativity, ceaseless action. He is the Son of Man for in man is God reborn When the veil between the eternal and the temporal is lifted, man walks with God and as He directs.Cp. Angeles Silesia: Though Christ a thousand times In Bethlehem be born, If He's not born in thee Thy soul is still forlorn. The Cross on Golgotha Will never save thy soul, The Cross in thine own heart Alone can make thee whole.