Bhagavadgita -Radhakrishnan 206

The Bhagavadgita -S. Radhakrishnan

The Lord's Transfiguration

nimattamatram; merely the occasion. The writer seems to uphold the doctrine of Divine predestination and indicate the utter helplessness and insignificance of the individual and the futility of his will and effort. The decision is made already and Arjuna can do nothing to change it. He is a powerless tool in God's hands, and yet there is the other note that God is not arbitrary and capricious but just and loving. How are the two to be reconciled ?

The numinous idea of the predestinating and solely acting God which induces in us the feeling of the utter dependence on God, the "wholly other" standing over against us in absolute anti-thesis, is here expressed. The intense intuition of the power of God comes out here and in job and in Paul: "Shall the thing formed say to Him that formed it, why hasty thou made me thus?" We need not look upon the whole cosmic process as nothing more than the unfolding of a predetermined plan, the unveiling of a ready-made scenario. The writer here is not so much denying the unforeseeableness of human acts as affirming the meaning of eternity in which all the moments of the whole of time, past, present and future, are present to the Divine Spirit. The radical novelty of each moment of evolution in time is not inconsistent with Divine Eternity. The ideas of God are worked out through human instrumentality. If we are wise, we so act that we are instruments in His hands. We allow Him to absorb our soul and leave no trace of the ego. We must receive His command and do His will with the cry "In thy will is our peace" ; "Father, into Thy hands I commend my Spirit.[1] Arjuna should feel, "Nothing exists save Thy will. Thou alone art the doer and I am only the instrument." The dread horror of the war repels him. Judged by human standards, it is quite incomprehensible but when the curtain is lifted, so as to reveal the purpose of the Almighty, he acquiesces in it. What he himself desired, what he might hope to gain in this world or the next do not count any more. Behind this world of space-time, interpenetrating it, is the creative purpose of God. We must understand that supreme design and be content to serve it. Every act is a symbol of something far beyond itself.

34. dronam ca bhismam ca jayadratham ca
karnam tatha ' nyan api yodhaviran
maya hatams tvam jahi ma vyathisha
yudhyasva jetasi rane sapatmin
(34) Slay Dona, Bhisma, jayadratham, Karma and other great warriors as well, who are already doomed by Me. Be not afraid. Fight, thou shalt conquer the enemies in battle. maya hatan: doomed by me. God knows the direction of their lives and their appointed goal. There is nothing however small or insignificant that has not been ordained or permitted by God, even to the fall of a sparrow. Arjuna is asked to assume the office of Providence. He will be externally master of nature and Inwardly superior to all possible accidents.

samjaya uvaca
35. etac chrutva vacanam kesavasya
krtanjalir vepamanah kiriti namaskrtva
bhuya eva 'ha krsnam sagadgadam
bh'itabhitah pranamya
Samjaya said :
(35) Having heard this utterance of Kesava (Krsna), Kiritin (Arjuna), with folded hands and trembling, saluted again and prostrating himself with great fear, spoke in a faltering voice to Krsna Rudolf Otto gives this whole scene as an example of the place of the numinous, the mysterium tremendum in religion. It presents to us the transcendent aspect of God.


References and Context

  1. Luke xxiii, 46.