Bhagavadgita -Radhakrishnan 39

The Bhagavadgita -S. Radhakrishnan

10. The Way of Knowledge: Jnana-marga

Wisdom, pure and transcendent, is different from scientific knowledge, though it is not discontinuous from it. Every science expresses, after its own fashion, within a certain order of things, a reflection of the higher immutable truth of which everything of any reality necessarily partakes. Scientific or discriminative knowledge prepares us for the higher wisdom. The partial truths of science are different from the whole truth of spirit. Scientific knowledge is useful since it dispels the darkness oppressing the mind, shows up the incompleteness of its own world and prepares the mind for something beyond it. For knowing the truth, we require a conversion of the soul, the development of spiritual vision. Arjuna could not see the truth with his naked eyes and so was granted the divine sight.

Ascent to higher levels of being, losing oneself to find the higher self can be achieved through jijnasa or disinterested passion for knowledge. It lifts man out of his narrow limits and makes him forget his self in the contemplation of the universal principles of existence. Knowledge pursued for the sake of power or fame does not take us far. It must be sought for attaining truth. The metaphysical creed accepted by the Gita with certain fundamental modifications is that of the Samkhya philosophy. Profound faith in God and belief in redemption require us to assume three entities, the soul which has to be re- deemed, the fetter which binds it, from which it has to beredeemed, and God, the Being who releases us from this bondage. The Samkhya philosophy elaborates the dualism between purusa (self) and prakrti (not-self) ; only the Gita makes them both subordinate to God. The selves are many and remain for ever separate. The self is the permanent entity behind all the changes of conscious life. It is not the soul in the usual sense but the pure, inactive, self-luminous principle, which is not derived from or dependent on or determined by the world. It is unique and integral. Man is not self but possesses self and can become self. Not-self or prakrti is another ultimate principle which is conceived as being at first undifferentiated matter with all its constituents in equilibrium.


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