SRI RAGHAVENDRA TÎRTHA ON BHAGAVAD GITA V-14/15
On Free Will, Predestination, & Responsibility
bhagavad.h gItA -- na kartR^itvaM na karmANi lokasya sR^ijati prabhuH | na karmaphalasaMyogaM svabhAvastu pravartate || 14 || nAdatte kasyachit.h pApaM na chaiva sukR^itaM vibhuH | aj~nAnenAvR^itaM j~nAnaM tena muhyanti jantavaH || 15 || bhAshhya -- na cha karoti vastuta ityAha -- `na kartR^itvaM', iti | prabhurhi jIvo jaDamapexya || 14 || 15 || That he does not do in actuality, thus it is stated, `na kartR^itvaM', thus. The Lord indeed [does act and cause action], independently of jIva and jaDa.Sri Jayatîrtha explains this as follows:
nanu `na kartR^itvaM' ityetatprAguktAnna vishishhyata ityata Aha -- `na cha' iti | darshanAdikaM kurvanneva naiva kiJNchitkaromIti manyatetyuktam.h | tarhi mithyAj~nAnI prasajyetetyAshaN^kAnirAsAya parameshvarapreritaH kurvan.h kArayannapi vastutaH svAtantryeNa na karoti na kArayati chetyanenAhetyarthaH | asya jIvavishhayatve `prabhuH' ityetanna sambhavati ityata Aha -- `prabhurhi' iti | anena vibhurityetadupapAditaprAyam.h || 14 || 15 || But under the stated `na kartR^itvaM', there is no specialty shown -- for that, it is said, `na cha', thus. That seeing, etc., it is as though I do, but never do I do in the least, thus he thinks, is stated. So, "this describes one knowing the world as an illusion" to remove such a doubt, that all doing is by the empowerment of the Supreme Lord, only, and not by independent potency, thus is the meaning. That concerning it, the jIva, the use of `prabhu' is not plausible, to explain that, it is said, `prabhurhi', thus. This meaning is reinforced by the use of the word `vibhu' (in the next verse).Sri Raghavendra explains the purports of these verses (given again for ease of reference) as follows:
bhagavad.h gItA -- na kartR^itvaM na karmANi lokasya sR^ijati prabhuH | na karmaphalasaMyogaM svabhAvastu pravartate || 14 || vivR^itti -- nanu darshanAdi kurvannaiva karomIti manyetetyuktirayuktA | tathAtve mithyAj~nAnitvaprasaN^gAdityataH svAbhiprAyamAha -- `na' iti | jaDamapexya prabhuH samartho jIvaH lokasya kartR^itvaM lokena karma na sR^ijati na kArayati | svAtantryeNetyarthaH | svayaM cha karmANi na sR^ijati na karoti | karmaphalaprAptiM lokasya na sR^ijati | lokasya phalaprAptisaMpAdane na svatantra ityarthaH | svAtantryAbhAvApexayA `na karomi' iti manyetetyukti- ritibhAvaH | yadvA jIvasya svatantrakartR^itvAbhAve.api IshvaradattaM kriyAyAM kriyAjanyAdR^ishhTe karmaphalaprAptau chAstyeva svAtantryamataH kathaM `brahmANyAdhAya karmANi' iti `sarvANi karmANi sa.nnyasta' iti cha uktiH? -- ityata Aha, `na' iti | prabhurIshvaraH lokasya jIvasya kartR^itvaM agnihotrAdikriyAyAM svAtantryaM na sR^ijati | na prayachchhati | karmANi kriyAjanyAdR^ishhTAni lokasya na sR^ijati | teshhu svAtantryaM na prayachchhati | karmaphalasaMyogaM cha lokasya na sR^ijati | phalaprAptAvapi lokasya svAtantryaM na prayachchhatItyarthaH | nanu kriyAyAmadR^ishhTeshhu phalasaMyoge cha jIvasya svAtantryAbhAve kathaM kriyAdinishhpattirityata Aha -- `svabhAvastu' iti | svaM svayameva bhavati | parAnapexaM tishhThati | sveti pade upapade bhavaterNyaMtAtkapratyayaH | svasthitAvanyakaraNe cha karmashabditAdR^ishhTeshhu phalasaMyoge cheti dhyeyam.h | kadA.api kutrApi nAnyasya svAtantryaM dadAti | kintu sarvatra sarvadA svayameva pravartata iti bhAvaH || 14 || But to say that things like seeing, which one does, one does not do, is inappropriate. If that is to be accepted, then knowledge of all as an illusion (as claimed by Advaitins, etc.) would follow; for this objection, the Lord gives His answer as follows: `na', thus. That in the absence of the Lord, just on the strength of `jaDa' the jIva does not create, or act. Independently, that is. By itself it does not create or do karma-s. The obtaining of fruits of actions in the world [also] it cannot cause. That in the world, the obtaining of results for actions is not independent, thus is the purport. That in respect of independent action, "I do not do so," knowing such is appropriate -- so is the purport. But when even though independent activity by a jIva is not present, there is the action and the invisible result of action, given by the Lord, then why is it said, `brahmANi AdhAya karmANi' (V-10) ("having dedicated all karma-s to Brahman") and `sarvANi karmANi sa.nnyasta' (V-13) ("having rejected all karma") -- thus? -- for that, it is said, `na' [karmaphalasaMyogaM, etc.], thus. The Maker, the Lord, verily does not create the independent acting of the jIva in matters such as the performance of agnihotra sacrifices; He does not give [such independence of action either]. The ineffable karma effects of action He does not create; He does not give them independence. The conjunction of actions and results He does not create; the independence of the world in obtaining results, also He does not give, thus is the meaning. But if there is lack of independence of the jIva in action, and also in matters of obtaining of results, then how are actions, etc., consummated? -- for that, it is answered, `svabhAvastu' (by His self-same nature), thus. It happens all on its own. He exists without dependence on others. Since in the `sva' prefix of the word, it is needed to show that He exists of himself, the `ka-pratyaya' is used. That other entities, and also the unseen effects denoted by `karma', and the relation of results and actions, exist by themselves (i.e., controlled or impelled by Him, but not created by Him, and not controlled by others, as stated before), is to be understood. Never, and not under any circumstance, does He give independence to others. But He acts of Himself, at all times and everywhere, thus is the purport. bhagavad.h gItA -- nAdatte kasyachit.h pApaM na chaiva sukR^itaM vibhuH | aj~nAnenAvR^itaM j~nAnaM tena muhyanti jantavaH || 15 || phalasaMyoge svAtantryAbhAvaM jIvasya vyanakti -- `nAdatta' iti | vibhuH jaDApexayA samartho jIvaH kasyachid.hdurAchArasya sakAshAttajjanyaM pApaM svAtantryeNa nAdatte | sukR^itaM puNyaM cha svAtantryeNa naivAdatte | evaM kriyAyAmadR^ishhTe cha j~neyam.h | svatantra IshvaraH vibhutvAdeva kasyachitkarmaNaH sakAshAtpApaM sukR^itaM vA nAdatta ityarthaH | na puNyapApalepa- vAnbhavatItyarthaH | nanvevaM sarvatra sthitvA svAtantryeNa kartA Ishvaro.asti chet.h kathaM na dR^ishyata ityata Aha -- `aj~nAnena' iti | tena aj~nAnena AvR^itabuddhitvena muhyanti bhagavantaM na jAnanti || 15 || In the matter of obtaining results, the lack of freedom of the jIva is re-inforced by `nAdatte', thus. That without the Lord, the evil deeds of the jIva occurring due to attachment to jaDa do not give results of themselves. Good action or puNya also does not give results independently. Also, actions, and the invisible (results of action) are to be similarly known [to lack independence from the Lord]. That because only the Lord is potent independently of others, any karma, be it pApa or puNya, cannot give results of its own, thus is the meaning. He also does not get smeared with puNya or pApa, thus is the meaning. But if there is there is an Independent Creator, a Lord who is present everywhere, then why is He not seen? -- for that, it is said `aj~nAnena' ("because of false knowledge" -- of one's potency, independence, etc.), thus. By it, false knowledge, since the intellect is clouded, the creatures of the world are deluded, and do not know the Supreme Being.Thus, we may say that the weight of these verses is to make it clear that the individual does not act independently, and furthermore, that the individual also does not cause the fruition of his dependent actions; these are solely the Lord's province, upon which none ever encroaches. Actions by the jIva do not yield results of themselves either (even if the jIva cannot cause them), because only He is independently potent. A veil of false-knowledge covers the intellect of beings in the world, which is why they do not perceive Him.
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This article is due to Shrisha Rao.
Created February 19, 1999.