(A critical review of Dr. Radhakrishnan's edition of the Bhagwat Gita)

(Cont'd. from previous issue)

We had no intention to enter into arguments with Dr. Radhakrishnan but the Brahmachary repeatedly requested to review the Bhagwat Gita of Dr. Radhakrishnan as there are so many self contradictory statements committed by the great scholar. We have all respects for Dr. Radhakrishnan because he is not only the second citizen of India, the great world renowned philosopher and a scholar in the Hindu philosophy but also he is truthful Brahmin with considerable knowledge in the Impersonal Brahman. There is a popular saying that there is no harm in creating some antagonism with a great scholar but there is harm even by creating a friendly relation with a fool. An antagonistic scholar will never deal in revenge but an ignorant fool may commit many blunders even in the friendly dealings. So we are not afraid of Dr. Radhakrishnan when we put forward the critical review of his great scholarly exposition of the Bhagwat Gita.

There is a popular story in Bengal that a man who was a great scholar in the Ramayana of seven cantos asked somebody as to whose father was Sita (?). In the above explanation of Dr. Radhakrishnan as quoted above that it is not the personal Krishna to whom we have to give ourselves up but to the unborn etc. Dr. Radhakrishnan means that Krishna is born, has beginning and is transient (?).

In such misunderstanding about Krishna by Dr. Radhakrishnan, we find a similarity between him and the Ramayana scholar who enquired about the fatherhood of Sita (?). The whole theme of the Bhagwat Geeta is culminated in the following words which Shri Krishna said to Arjuna (Bg. 18.66)

Sarban Dharman Paritajya

Mamekam Saranam Braja

Aham Tva Sarva Papebhya

Mokshyishyami Ma Shucha

The Personality of Godhead said to Arjuna that he should give up all desires and take His saranam or take shelter unto Him. He was assured not to become hesitating in doing so, because in that way he would be saved from all the reactions of sins.

His saranam means Saranagati and Dr. Radhakrishnan has explained this Sadabidha Saranagati as follows in his essays page 62.

"Prapatti has the following accessories (i) goodwill to all (anukulyasya Samkalpa) (II) absence of ill will (pratikulyasya vivarjanam) (iii) faith that the Lord will protect (rakshisyatiti visvasapalanam) (iv) resort to him as savior (goptritve varanam tatha) (v) sense of utter helplessness (Karpanyam) and complete surrender (atma nikshepa)."

All these six different items are meant in relation with the Personality of Godhead. Goodwill to all is a byproduct of a devotee but it is not possible for a devotee or any person to surrender to everyone and all. Therefore the word 'anukulyasya samkalpa' means directly that one should accept Sri Krishna without fail as the Supreme Personality of Godhead and not in the manner suggested by Dr. Radhakrishnan. When he says the Lord he must mean the Personality of Godhead and not His impersonal featureBrahman. Resort to Him in an utter sense of helplessness was actually done by Arjuna to the personality of Sri Krishna even in the beginning of the Bhagwat Geeta as he (Arjuna) know it perfectly well that Sri Krishna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The Absolute Lord with Whom there is no difference of the impersonal Brahman. There is no difference in the Person and imperson of the Supreme Brahman. But Dr. Radhakrishnan has made a difference in Krishna which is a dormant sign of ill will to the Personality of Godhead, although he admits that the Bhagwat Gita is meant for describing the Personality of Godhead. This process of 'pratikul' behaviour is certainly not 'anukulyasya samkalpam.' It is something like goodwill to all except Shri Krishna (?).

The "Bhagwat" affirms that by the grace of the illusory energy, the great scholars can sometime cover the meaning of a word or can coin something else and we think Dr. Radhakrishnan's meaning of the word Anukulyasya Samkalpa is something like covering its real import.

Prapatti means the first principles of Bhakti. Prapatti means to agree to serve. For the Jnanis or the empiric philosophers it takes however many births to attain to the stage for Prapatti. The description of Saranagati as quoted by Dr. Radhakrishnan is a statement of the Vaishnava Tantra and the whole process is meant for Vishnu Upasana (worship). Those who are worshippers of the Lord (Vishnu) are known as Vaishnavas. Anukulyasya samkalpa means that one should render services to Krishna favourably.

"Anukulyena Krishnanushilanam bhaktiruchyate.' Bhakti means to serve the Lord favourably. After all everyone is bound to serve the Supreme Lord either directly or indirectly and such service is rendered sometimes unfavourable. Those who are serving unfavourably are nondevotees like Kansa and Jarasandha. They also thought of Krishna constantly (which is called Smaranam) but because such smaranam was made unfavourably such persons were not counted amongst the devotees. To remember the Lord favourably is therefore called anukulyasya samkalpam. We think that is the real meaning of the word and not as it is explained by Dr. Radhakrishnan.

In the Bhagwat Geeta the Personality of Godhead Sri Krishna says surrender unto Me only. But Dr. Radhakrishnan says surrender not to the person Krishna. Is it not the opposite view to suit the particular type of philosophy followed by Dr. Radhakrishnan? This indirect interpretations of the Mayavadi school for all kinds of revealed scriptures are acts of pratikul samkalpa and this pratikul samkalpa of the Mayavadins is properly condemned in the Bhagwat Geeta as follows: [Bg. 7.15]

Na Mam Duskritina Mudha

Prapadyante Naradhama

Mayaya Pahrita Jnana

Ashuri Bhavamashrita.

Kansa, Jarasandha and persons who followed them were designated as Ashuras because they did not treat Krishna very favourably. Such Ashuras are made to forget their real knowledge by the influence of material energy. Kansa or Jarasandha both of them were highly enlightened so far as material knowledge is concerned, but because they disobeyed or despised Sri Krishna they were called Ashuras.

Reading the Bhagwat Geeta by the process of anukulyasya samkalpa was approved by Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu in the following narration.

When Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, the great Apostle of preaching transcendental love of Godhead, was touring in South India, He met one simple Brahmin at the temple of Sri Ranganath. This Brahmin was reciting Bhagwat Geeta in his devotional way. The pure Brahmin was reading the Bhagwat Geeta in the ecstatic style with tears in his eyes but other fellows who knew him well were laughing and joking at him. His neighbours knew it that the Brahmin was illiterate and therefore it was not possible for him to read out the text of the scripture which is written in Sanskrit. Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu observed the incidence and he went forward to the Brahmin scholar and asked him very politely what he was reading and why he was crying by reading the book. The Brahmin promptly replied that although he was making a show of reading the Bhagwat Geeta, in fact he could not read even an alphabet of it. The Lord then asked him why he was reading it? The Brahmin replied that his spiritual master had asked him to read daily the 18 chapters of the Bhagwat Geeta although his spiritual master knew it well that he was not conversant with the language or even the alphabet of it. The Lord then asked him what was the matter that caused him weeping while going through the book? The Brahmin replied that although he was unable to see even a word of the Bhagwat Geeta yet he was feeling the presence of Sri Krishna as Parth Sarathi sitting on the chariot of Arjuna. This presence of Sri Krishna as the chariot driver of Arjuna made him constantly weeping. He felt it in ecstasy as to how much kindly was Sri Krishna so that He has had accepted a sort of menial service of His devotee. The Mayavadi impersonalist cannot think of the Absolute's becoming a menial servant of His devotee but actually there is stage in the transcendental plane like that which is inconceivable by the Mayavadi philosophers or which can never be imagined by any mundane wrangler who is always busy to exploit the service of a mundane servant in mammon's relation. And those who know it they say that let people worship all kinds of Vedic literatures for culturing knowledge or out of fear of the mundane bondage, but they are concerned with King Nanda in whose courtyard the Supreme Lord was made to play just like a crawling child. As such this transcendental relation of the Brahmin reading Bhagwat Geeta in the Temple of Sri Ranganathji as it was seen by Lord Chaitanya Himself gave verbatim evidence of the Sruti Mantras which runs as follows:

Yasya Deve Para Bhakti

Yatha Deve Tatha Gurou

Tasyaite Kathitha Hyartha

Prakashyante Mahatmana.

The Mahatmas, who have pure transcendental faith in the Supreme Lord and the same amount of faith in the self realised spiritual master, to them only the words of the transcendental sound reveals by the self illuminated spiritual power.

Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu embraced the illiterate reader of the Bhagwat Geeta and certified fully that he was actually reading the book. It does not matter that the Brahmin was illiterate to the bottom but literary scholarship or empiric knowledge has nothing to do with the transcendental sound which can be heard by the suitable ear which is made submissive prepared by the transcendental loving service of Godhead and not by mundane scholarship. It is said in the Padma Puranam as follows.