Bhagavadgita -Radhakrishnan 47

The Bhagavadgita -S. Radhakrishnan

11. The Way of Devotion: Bhakti-margaa

When the soul surrenders itself to God, He takes up our knowledge and our error and casts away all forms of in-sufficiency and transforms all into His infinite light and the purity of the universal good. Bhakti is not merely the "flight of the alone to the Alone," the soul's detachment from the world and attachment to God, but is active love for the Divine who enters into the world for redeeming it.

The view that we cannot win the grace of the Lord by our own efforts results in an intense emotional pietism. While bhakti requires faith and love, in prapatti we simply surrender ourselves to God, place ourselves in His hands leaving it to Him to deal with us as He elects. It stresses the simple and austere purity of the relationship of surrender in a humble and direct attitude of trust. It perceives genuine piety in the completeness of the surrender rather than in the intensity of the bhakti discipline. When we are emptied of our self, God takes possession of us. The obstacles to this God-possession are our own virtues, pride, knowledge, our subtle demands and our unconscious assumptions and prejudices. We must empty ourselves of all desires and wait in trust on the Supreme Being. To fit God's pattern, all our claims are to be surrendered.[1] The difference between bhakti and prapatti is symbolized by the ape way (markatakisoranyaya) and the cat way (marjarakisoranyaya). The young ape clings fast to the mother and is saved. A little effort on the part of the young is called for. The mother cat takes the young in her mouth. The young one does nothing to secure its safety. In bhaktas the grace of God is earned to an extent ; in prapatti it is freely bestowed. There is no reference in the latter to one's own worthiness or the service performed.[2]This view finds support in the earlier tradition, "When alone this Self chooses, by him can He be reacned, w mm we sell snows His form. "[3]. Arjuna is told that the Divine Form was revealed to him by the grace of the Lord.[4] Again, it is said, "From Me are memory and knowledge as well as their loss. "[5] Even samkara admits that the Supreme alone can grant us the saving wisdom.[6]


References and Context

  1. XVIII, 66.
  2. prapattl has the following accessories ; good will to all (anukulyasya samkalpahpah) ; (1i) absence of ill will (pratzkulyasya varaanam ;
  3. Katha Up II, 23
  4. XI, 47
  5. XV, 15.
  6. tad anugrahahetukenaiva ca vijnanena mohsasaddhir bhavitum arhati S.B. The first verse of the Avadhuta Gita reads :isvaranugrahad eva pumsam advaitavasanamahadbhayaparitranact vipranam upajayate"It is only with the grace of God that in men with knowledge is born the inclination for nondual experience which protects them from great danger." Another reading for the second line is malaabhayapantrana dvitranam upajayate.