Bhagavagd Gita - Session 29- Track 2911

Now, if this theory is now advanced further, then many problems arise. So, there have been thinkers who have advocated Pantheism because they could not accept Deism, but there are other thinkers who neither accept Deism, nor Pantheism, because of certain difficulties. What are the difficulties in Pantheism? If all is God, man being part of God, he is ‘godly’; if he is godly, then the present nature of man, which seems to be not-godly cannot be explained. Secondly whatever man does, if he is a part of the totality, he is not responsible for anything that he does: he does only a part of the totality. Totality being what it is, an individual can do nothing but what totality happens to do as a whole. Therefore, according to this view man is not responsible for his actions and yet man ‘feels’ to be responsible. This is an experience of any human being. If Pantheism was valid, then no individual would have felt that he is responsible: actually pantheists believe that the idea of responsibility is a false idea: you should not feel responsible. This is the teaching of pantheists. If you feel that you are doing right or wrong, this feeling itself is wrong, it is based upon your ignorance. If you know that the totality is what it is, you are a part of it, then, whatever you do is inevitable; you cannot help it. There is nothing like ‘sin’ according to Pantheism, nothing like wrong.

Question: Many of the Renaissance thinkers were also pantheistic?

Many of them, yes, you are right. Spinoza for example, he was a perfect pantheist and this is their belief. Bradley (Francis Herbert, 1846-1924) for example, even in the 19th, 20th century, he was a pantheist of this kind. In fact Bradley wrote a chapter in one of his books, (Physical Studies) ‘Vulgar notions of responsibility’: responsibility is a vulgar notion, that is to say an un-scientific, an un-metaphysical statement. So, he said that human being should be cured of this sense of responsibility: the sense of responsibility arises when you do not know that the totality is the whole thing which is divine and it even means that whatever actions you are doing ultimately constitutes divinity; even your evil actions, what you call evil actions, they are part of the totality and the totality as a whole is God, divine, therefore your wrong doing is a part of the totality of the good; it is evil only when you see it partly, but when you see it fully, in the totality, it is all perfectly fine, perfectly good. Now, this Pantheism is attacked by those people who believe that responsibility is not an illusion, sense of responsibility is not an illusion, it is not merely a question of ignorance, it is something much more. It is by sense of responsibility that you overcome the evil and you come to the good. If everything that happens is ultimately good, then there is no need to transcend what you are, and yet there is a movement in you to transcend. How will you explain this sense of transcendence? Then you should be other than what you are, there should be something other than what you are doing, you ought to be something else. This very sense of ‘ought’ has to be explained. If everything is according to the totality, why should this concept of ‘ought’ should arise at all? This ‘ought’, sense of ‘ought’, according to these critics is not explained by Pantheism.

And secondly, more seriously, if all is a manifestation of God, if all is nothing but… is not a creation, here is a question of manifestation, there is only one Reality, one God, who is all, then the question is: is this manifestation complete at any given time? But we see that it is continuously going on, if it is not complete, then there must be something which is not yet manifested. If that which is not manifested is not yet a part of all, therefore at the root, there must be something more than all. if all is manifested, then the world is manifested fully now and nothing further is to be done which is not the case, something is going to manifest today, tomorrow, or the day after, therefore something is still not yet manifested. Something which is not yet manifested must be yet in the Reality. Therefore that Reality which is manifesting is not fully manifest; therefore that Reality must be containing something more than what is manifest. Therefore Reality must be more than the manifest world; Reality must be more than all. Therefore God is not all, all is not God: God is more than the whole. This is the conclusion that is put forward. Therefore Pantheism on these two grounds is rejected by most of the thinkers.