The Bhagavadgita -S. Radhakrishnan
7. The Individual Self
The essence of the ego, the distinguishing characteristic of human personality is a certain creative unity, an inner purposiveness, a plan which has gradually shaped itself into an organic unity. As our purpose is, so is our life. Any form which the individual assumes is bound to be superseded, for he always tries to transcend himself and this process will continue till becoming reaches its end in being. The jivas are movements in the being of God, individualized. When the ego is lost in a false identification with the not-self and its forms, it is bound; but when through the development of proper understanding, it realizes the true nature of the self and the not-self and allows the apparatus produced by the not-self to be illumined completely by the self, then it is freed. This realization is possible through the proper functioning of buddhi or vijnana.
The problem facing man is the integration of his personality, the development of a divine existence in which the spiritual principle has the mastery over all the powers of soul and body. This integral life is created by the spirit. The distinction between soul and body which links man with the life of nature is not an ultimate one. It does not exist in the radical sense in which Descartes affirmed it. The life of the soul permeates the life of the body, even as the bodily life has its effect on the soul. There is a vital unity of soul and body in man. The real dualism is between spirit and nature, between freedom and necessity. In the integrated personality we have the victory of the spirit over nature, of freedom over necessity. The Gata which looks upon both these as aspects of the Supreme, affirms that we can spiritualize nature and communicate another quality to it. We need not crush or destroy nature.
References and Context
- XIII, 2I.