Bhagavadgita -Radhakrishnan 48

The Bhagavadgita -S. Radhakrishnan

11. The Way of Devotion: Bhakti-margaa

The distinction of prapatti and bhakti relates to the issue in Christian thought which is as old as St. Augustine and Pelagius, whether man as a fallen creature is to be saved only by the grace of God or whether he can make something of himself and contribute by his own effort to his salvation.

Pelagius believed in free will, questioned the doctrine of original sin and asserted that men acted of their own moral effort. Augustine disputed the Pelagian theory and taught that Adam before the Fall had possessed free will, but after he and Eve ate the apple, corruption entered into them and descended to all their posterity. None of us can abstain from sin of our own power. Only God's grace can help us to be virtuous. Since we have all sinned in Adam, we are all condemned in him. Yet by God's free grace some of us are elected for heaven, not because we deserve it or we are good but because God's grace is bestowed on us. No reason except God's unmotived choice can be given as to why some are saved and others damned. Damnation proves God's justice because we are all wicked. St. Paul, in some passages of the (in) faith that the Lord will protect (rahszsyatiti visvasah) ; (iv) resort to Him as saviour (goptrtvavaranam) ; (v) a sense of utter helplessness (kdrpanyam); (vi) complete self-surrender (atmaniksepah). The last is traditionally regarded as equivalent to prapatti, which is the end and aim, angin while the remaining five are accessories, angas. Cp. the statement sadvidha ,saranagatih which is explained on the analogy of astanga yog yoga where sandhi is really the end and the other seven are aids to it.

Epistle to the Romans, St. Augustine and Calvin adopt the view of universal guilt. That in spite of it some of us are saved shows God's mercy. Damnation and salvation both manifest the goodness of God, his justice or mercy The Gita is inclined to the Pelagian doctrine.Man's effort is involved in the total surrender to the Supreme. It cannot be unintentional or effortless. The doctrine of grace is not to be interpreted as one of special election, as such a conception conflicts with the general trend of the Gita that the Supreme is "the same to all beings.[1]Faith sraddha) is the basis of bhakti. So the gods in whom people have faith are tolerated. Some love is better than none, for if we do not love we become shut up within ourselves. Besides, the lower gods are accepted as forms of the one Supreme.[2]


References and Context

  1. IX, 29; cp. Yogavasistha. II, 6, 27.
  2. IX, 23.