There is no compulsion whatsoever; we have to decide for ourself. If we do decide the way Arjuna did, there will be many gains for us, such as supreme peace, Vaikuntha, and God Himself, writes AJIT KUMAR BISHNOI
In the verse #18.65 of the Gita, Lord Krishna states, “Develop my consciousness, become my devotee, make sacrifice for me, and offer obeisance to me.” It may appear to a casual reader that God is imposing Himself on us. Earlier in the verse #18.62, Lord Krishna had stated, “In all respects take shelter of Him (meaning Himself) only.” Is God really forcing us to accept Him? No, God will never do that. Remember that we have free will to desire and decide. This is intrinsic to all souls, which we all are, being parts of God. Therefore, in the verse #18.63, Lord Krishna had told Arjuna, “This knowledge (of the Gita) — the secret of all secrets has been told by me for you. After reflecting on it holistically, do the way as you wish.”
To understand God’s motive, we must go to the second part of the verses 18.62 and 18.65. In the verse #18.62, God promises, “By His mercy, you will achieve supreme peace and the eternal abode.” Similarly, in the verse #18.65, Lord Krishna states, “You will attain me only. This I truly promise to you, because you are dear to me.” We have to focus on the second part of both verses to understand God’s motive in whatever He has stated. He asks us to take His shelter because by doing so, there will be many gains for us, which are extraordinary like supreme peace, Vaikuntha and God Himself. God is making such offers because all of us are dear to Him.
To bring further clarity to the matter, let me refer you to the verse # 5.29 in which Lord Krishna declares Himself to be the friend of all living entities. Again, in the verse #9.29, Lord Krishna has stated, “I am similarly inclined towards all beings. However, those who worship me with devotion are entitled for superior gains.”
Does it appear unfair? Let me tell a story of an employee of a large company. He was one of many in his department. However, what made him special was the extreme care with which he did everything. He did his work just as an owner of the company would do, ie treating the company as his own, though he was only an employee. He had a deep desire to excel and climb up the corporate ladder. He was simply not interested in doing the minimum required of him. Sure enough, he was noticed by the management of the company. He was promoted several times over the years. Such promotions gave him many benefits, both pecuniary and status-wise.
Though the simile is not exact but the message is clear, ie if you do something out of ordinary, you will benefit by that. There are two levels in the God’s system, which has been put in place. Those who do not wish to follow God’s instructions are dealt with strictly according to the karmaphala principle, ie what you reap you sow. God’s position is somewhat similar to that of an owner of a business. All employees have been assigned certain duties, and they are supposed to fulfill them. The owner cannot force them to do something extra. For that they have to agree. That is exactly God’s position also. If you voluntarily decide to follow His instructions, there will be many gains, as mentioned earlier, which otherwise are not available.
The cosmic design is perfect. We have many options to choose from. However, most people choose to live very ordinary lives. They limit themselves to the basics of eating, sleeping, mating, and defending, which is animal-like existence, though in human bodies. God expects us to take advantage of our human births and apply ourselves for higher gains. As God has clarified in the verse #18.63, there is no compulsion whatsoever; we have to decide. And if we do decide the way Arjuna did (18.73), we will benefit in all sorts of ways. Yes, God is much pleased if someone seeks higher gains and is ready to apply himself. After all, God is the real father, mother to us. Our relationship with God is one of love; there is no place for compulsion.
Bishnoi is a spiritual writer and can be reached at email@example.com