Are We Dependent or Independent ?



The word 'dependent' is the core of the word 'independent'.  No nation, no community, no society, no individual is independent in the true sense of the term, maintains His Divine Grace B.S. Tirtha Maharaj as he poses the provocative question.


Every year before 26 January, New Delhi is decked with national flags and buntings everywhere. Stands are erected in Janpath leading from Raisana Hill to India Gate for the grand Republic Day parade that is the pride of the nation. There is national fanfare of pomp and grandeur, military prowess and defence forces, cultural and state tableaux and youth power displayed in dances and acrobatics.


The President and the Prime Minister make their ritualistic speeches and appearances, which lack any true substance. The statements have become a monotonous dialogue prudently expressing politically correct statements. They merely rephrase the speeches of yesteryears, the same old wine in a new bottle. Similarly, all the other political leaders throughout the country, vying with one another, mindlessly mouth platitudes suitable for the occasion.


Celebrating India's Republic Day, or for that matter, any national celebration by any country is nothing but frivolous child's play. Can India take any political decision that conflict with the policy of her neighbouring countries or any powerful Western nation? Before taking a decision, the government has to think about how China will react, how Pakistan will receive it and how the US will view it. So, no decision is made independently in the national interest by ignoring others' viewpoints. Then where is the independence?


Political independence is no independence. Under the plea of political expediency, one nation is always overtly or covertly aligned with some other countries.Mere geographical territorial independence is no true or substantial independence. It is economic independence that is true independence, some people claim. Others refute this. They say that if the oil-producing countries increase the price of crude oil, we are compelled to increase our domestic petrol prices. A recession in a major economically advanced country like the United States has a telling impact on India too.Then where is India's economic independence in an interdependent world that has become a global village?


Still, we steadfastly cling to the foolish notion that India has enjoyed independence for the last six decades. This misunderstanding has to be corrected. Whichever way we look at it, no nation, no community, no society, no individual is independent in the true sense of the term. In our childhood we depend on our parents. During our youth, we depend on our spouse. In old age, we depend on our adult sons or daughters, sometimes even our grandchildren.


A very rich man depends on servants, cooks, drivers and gardeners. A top class corporate executive relies totally on the assistance of his private secretary for all details, and his staff for carrying out his orders. Political leaders depend on the citizens to stay in office. As citizens, we are dependent on the government, for all social benefits, services and security. We are controlled at every stage of our operations. We work under certain constraints. We are restricted even in our physical movements. We are restrained. Thus, our life depends on various factors of the state and society. Where is our independence? The moment fuel prices rise, share prices in the stock market take a plunge and there is price inflation for almost all the consumer goods. In this way, things are interdependent. Then, how are we economically independent?


We are also bound by the laws of nature. We periodically suffer from storms, hurricanes, volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, droughts or floods. Why can't we stop these calamities? No, at the most, we can only predict their occurrences. With expensive monitoring systems, we can only predict the approach or the delay of the south-west monsoon but we cannot direct it to the north-east or in any other direction.


With mechanical devices, we can only measure the intensity of an earthquake but cannot prevent it from happening. We are bound by the laws of nature. No one can challenge them. Despite scientific progress and technological advancement, all of humanity has only been constantly learning to adjust to nature to live for whatever short duration of life we have on this planet. With all the astounding innovations to the credit of our great scientists, in scorching summer, we can only cool a particular area in which we reside by installing an airconditioner but we cannot cool the sun. We cannot afford to disobey the stringent laws of nature. We depend totally on natural laws. Then, how are we independent?


Every form of life in this world depends on the five basic elements: earth, water, fire, air and ether. All structures are supported by the earth. All vegetation and agricultural products depend on water from the rivers, which in turn depend on periodical rains. Can we produce grain without rain? Fire is essential in every household for various purposes. All life is accommodated within the ether or the sky. The Supreme Lord Krishna says in the Bhagavad Gita (7/4) that all these five elements are parts of His material energy. How then can we claim to be independent?


The Lord further confirms in the Bhagavad Gita (15/12) that the splendour of the sun which dissipates the darkness of the whole world comes from Him. And the radiance of the moon, as well as the heat and light of the fire, also emanate from Him. He also proclaims that because He enters every planet, they stay in orbit by His inconceivable energy and because of His presence, and the moon supplies the juice of life to all vegetables.


Now, who can exist in any part of the world without depending on the sun and the moon? The Lord affirms that He is the fire of digestion in all the bodies of living entities. With both incoming and outgoing breath; He causes the digestion of four verities of foods namely, Charvya that is chewed, Lehya that is licked, Peya that is drunk and Chushya that is sucked. We may have an insatiable appetite and eat a lot but to digest what is eaten, we have to be helped by Krishna. Then, why do we falsely imagine that we are independent?


Those who do not acknowledge Krishna's supremacy, worship lesser gods such as Indra, Varuna, Agni and other demigods like Ganesha and Kali, among others. Krishna discloses to Arjuna in the Bhagavad Gita (7/22) that the benefits that these worshippers get are also awarded by Him alone because the Lord is situated as the Super soul in the hearts of these demigods too and directs them to grant these benedictions. In other words, even the other gods whom people worship also depend on the Supreme Lord Krishna for their existence and functions. Then how can the embodied souls of this world pretend to be independent?


There are atheists - demoniac, complacent, impudent and deluded by false prestige and wealth. They become envious of God. Bewildered by false ego, strength, lust and anger, they claim that this world is unreal, with no foundation, and is simply a product of lust due to the union of man and woman. Taking shelter of their insatiable lust and absorbed in the conceit of pride, they deny the very existence of God and cultivate a destructive mindset. Lord Krishna says in the Bhagavad Gita (16/19) that He casts such dangerous, diabolic and ungodly souls into demoniac life cycles so that they gradually sink to the most abominable existence. These fools, however, entertain the notion that they are not answerable to anyone and that they are independent. How can they be independent?


Everyone is averse to growing old and wants to remain young with the full strength of all the five senses. Yet, everyone ages helplessly and becomes physically debilitated, so much so, that one has to depend on someone even to walk a short distance at an advanced age. No one wants any disease but becomes affected by it periodically. Even a physician, who specialises in diabetic treatment, sometimes finds himself on insulin injections. A heart specialist can also suffer heart attacks and can even die of one. Except for suicide bombers, generally everyone tries his or her best to avoid death by any and every means, but in vain. Nobody can live here permanently. Everyone has to go. Why? Because we are bound by nature's law. The entire cosmic existence depends on it. Then, where is the justification for our claim to be independent?


Even world-renowned philosophers, innovative scientists, great scholars, renowned mathematicians are not independent. Krishna asserts in the Bhagavad Gita (15/15) that these geniuses also depend on Him for their intelligence, knowledge and memory. Then, what about ordinary mortals? Krishna says in this verse that He is situated in the heart of every living being – beast or human, mighty or tiny. It is the vital centre from which all activities are made possible. The Lord has located Himself strategically juxtaposed with every individual living entity, in the heart of its body.


Thus, it can be concluded that nobody is independent anywhere in the universe, except the Supreme Lord Krishna. He amply clarifies in the Bhagavad Gita (7/7) that nothing whatsoever is superior to Him and everything rests on the Lord like pearls strung on a thread. This is the undeniable metaphysical reality. No other explanation in the scriptures can be more articulate than this. The Lord has entered every planet. He is sarva karana karanam, the ultimate cause of all causes. As a cause always pervades its effect, He says He is the thread that strings pearls together and supports them. Hence, only He is fully independent and no one else can be so. This is the Vedic verdict.