February 20, 2007

Gita XIV-----Freedom vs. Determinism

The problem facing man is the integration of his personality, the development of a divine existence in which a spiritual principle has the mastery over all the powers of soul and body. This integral life is created by the spirit. The distinction between soul and body which links man with the life of nature is not an ultimate one. It does not exist in radical sense in which Descartes affirmed it. The life of the soul permeates the life of the body, even as the bodily life has its effect on the soul. There is vital unity of soul and body in man. The real dualism is between spirit and nature, between freedom and necessity. In the integrated personality, we have the victory of the spirit over nature, of freedom over necessity. The Gita which looks upon both aspects of the supreme affirms that we can spiritualise nature and communicate another quality to it.

The problem of freedom vs. determinism has meaning only with human individuals. It has no application to the Absolute which is above all opposites or to the subhuman species of plants and animals. Man is possessor of freedom. The whole teaching of Gita requires man to choose the good and realize it conscious effort. There are however many impediments to this problem of choice. Man is complex multi-dimensional being, including within him different elements of matter, life, consciousness, intelligence and the divine spark. He is free when he acts from the highest level and uses the other elements for the realization of purpose. But when he is on the level of objective Universe, and feels that he is subjected to the necessities of nature, he is not without hope, for one spirit, operates at all levels of being. Even matter is a manifestation of the supreme. There is an element of spontaneity and creativity inexplicable in terms of mechanical forces even in the lowest forms of nature. Each plane of our being has its own consciousness, its habitual ways of feelings, thoughts and action. The ego should not persist in retaining its obscure and limited consciousness, which is a distortion of its true nature. The light of consciousness stands in its own nature empirical self with its shifting tides of experiences is controlled by buddhi (wisdom) in which the light of consciousness is reflected.

(to be contd.)


Anonymous said...

Hello. I just found you via a link on another blog.

It's very interesting to read your thoughts and explanations. I know so little about Hindu philosophy. Especially the notion of the dualism of spirit and nature.

Thank you.


Paul said...

Are these posts more your own understanding of the text; the understanding of a particular branch of Hinduism, assuming there are various "denominations" or schools of thought; or are you presenting a summary of what the text itself says?

I wonder if you'd consider doing some posts that focus in on a smaller number of terms? For example, how "spirit" and "nature" are being contrasted.

Sorry if I'm asking about stuff you've already posted on - until now I've been looking at your other blog...

david santos said...

Hello! This text is very good. Thank you

Good weekend

gautami tripathy said...

You are welcome here any time, Barnes. You can go through the archives.

paul: These are more my own in the sense that my dad used to explain it to us. I used to keep a note. Not when he explained but afterwards, to see if I could recall. If I forgot something I used to ask him. Then he passed away. I forgot all about those notes. Almpost a year back I was sorting out his books and papers. I found his handwritten notes alog with mine. His was in my mother tongue Oriya and minein English. He had kept mine along with his.

Thn I thought of writing it all down here. Even those are summary of what I wrote. I can't read Oriya. So I never got around reading his notes. My mom says he was translating from Sanskrit text jotting down his own thoughts.

My dad was not religious as far as I know. He never ever visited any temple in his lifetime but he believed in Karma. He never discussed GOd other than from Gita.

I have focussed on many aspects breaking those into smaller parts.I will do so yetagain. I have take the shlokas and write about those.

You are welcome to ask anything but do forgive me if I take some time to get back to you.

There are many school of thoughts in Hinduism, main being Vaishnava and Shaiva but I am only interested in the Karma aspect of it.

AMIT said...

Very good posts.

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