Bhagavadgita -Radhakrishnan 32

The Bhagavadgita -S. Radhakrishnan

7. The Individual Self

Then we rise above the play of prakrti and see the real self from which creative forces arise ; we cease to belong to that which is moved about and are no more helpless tools of nature. We are free participants of the world above into the world below. Nature is an order of determinism but not a closed order. Forces of spirit may break upon it and change its course. Every act of the self is a creative one, while all acts of the not-self are truly passive. It is in our inner life that we confront primary reality, the deeps of being. The law of karma holds in the realm of the not-self where heredity, biological and social, holds but in the subject is the possibility of freedom, of triumph over the determinism of nature, over the compulsion of the world. Man, the subject, should gain mastery over man, the object. Object indicates determinism from without ; subject means freedom, indetermination. The ego, in its self-confinement, in its automatism, psychical and social, is a distortion of the true subject. The law of karma can be overcome by the affirmation of the freedom of spirit. In several passages[1] the Gild affirms that there is no radical dualism between the supernatural and the natural. The cosmic forces to which man is exposed represent the lower Prakrti. But his spirit can burst the circle of nature and realize its kinship with the Divine. Our bondage consists in our dependence on something alien. When we rise above it, we can make our nature the medium for the incarnation of the spiritual.

Through struggle and suffering, man can pass from his freedom to choose good or evil to the higher freedom that abides in the steadfastly chosen good. Liberation is a return to inward being, to subjectivity; bondage is enslavement to the object world, to necessity, to dependence.


References and Context

  1. See VII, 5.