Bhagavadgita -Radhakrishnan 251

The Bhagavadgita -S. Radhakrishnan


The Supreme does not impose His command. We are free at any moment to reject or accept the Divine call. The integral surrender should be made with the fullest consent of the seeker. God does not do the climbing for us, though He is ever ready to help us when we stumble, comfort us when we fall. God is prepared to wait m patience till we tut n to Him. The conflict between the doctrine of human freedom and that of predestination has roused much discussion in Europe and India. Thomas Aquinas holds that freedom of the will and human effort play a chief part in man's salvation, though the will itself may need the support of God's grace. "Whence, the predestined must strive after good works and prayer; because through these means predestination is most certainly fulfilled . . . and therefore predestination can be furthered by creatures, but it cannot be impeded by them.[1] Man has the freedom to refuse the grace offered to him by God. Bonaventura thinks that it is God's intention to offer grace to man but only those who prepare them-selves for its reception by their conduct, receive it. For Duns Scotus, since freedom of the will is God's command, even God has no direct influence on man's decision. Man can co-operate with God's grace but he can also refrain from it. Spiritual leaders act on us not by physical violence, miracle-mongering or spell-binding. A true teacher does not assume a false responsibility. Even if the pupil takes a wrong turn, he would only counsel but not compel him to turn back, if such a procedure should interfere with his individual freedom of choice. Even error is a condition of growth. The teacher encourages the pupil's early steps even as the father does the tottering steps of the child. He stretches out a hand to help, when he trips but he leaves it to the disciple to choose his path and control his steps. Krsna is only the charioteer; he will obey Arjuna's direction. He bears no arms. If he influences Arjuna, it is through his all-conquering love which is inexhaustible. Arjuna should think for himself and discover for himself. He should not act from simple and blind beliefs acquired from habit or authority. Inarticulated assumptions adopted inevitably and emotionally have led to fanatic bigotries and caused untold human misery. It is therefo e important that the mind should seek rational and experiential justification for its beliefs. Arjuna must have a sense of real integrity, that his ideas are his own and not those imposed on him by his teacher. Teaching is not indoctrination.

64. sarvaguhyatanam bhuyah
srnu me paramam vacah
isto 'si me drdham iti
tato vaksyimi te hitam
(64) Listen again to My supreme word, the most secret of all Well beloved art thou of Me, therefore I shall tell thee what is good for thee.

65. manmanã bhava madbhakto
madyaji mam namaskuru
mam evai 'syasi satyam te
pratiyane priyo 'si me
(65) Fix thy mind on Me ; be devoted to Me; sacrifice to Me; prostrate thyself before Me; so shalt thou come to Me. I promise thee truly, for thou art dear to Me.
The ultimate mystery, the supreme teaching with which the teacher wound up Chapter IX (34) is repeated here. Thought, worship, sacrifice and reverence, all must be directed to the Lord. We must let ourselves go in a simple, sustained, trustful surrender of oneself to God, open ourselves out to Him in the words of the Christian hymn. 0 Love, I ghee myself to Thee; Thine ever, only Thine to be. God discloses His nature, His graciousness and love and eagerness to take us back to Him. He is waiting, ready to enter and take possession of us, if only we open our hearts to Him. Our spiritual life depends as much on our going to Him, as on His coming to us. it is not only our ascent to God but His descent to man. Look at the words of the poet Tagore : Hat thou not heard His silent steps? He comes, comes, ever comes. The love of God is pressing in on our souls and if we throw our-selves open to His perpetual coming, He will enter our soul, cleanse and redeem our nature and make us shine like a blazing light. God, who is ever ready to help, is waiting only for our trustful appeal to Him.


References and Context

  1. Summa Theologica E.T. by the Fathers of the English Dominican. Province. Second Edition (1g29), Part I Q. 23, Art. 8.