The Tenderness of God's Indifference
A Note on Whitehead and the Bhagavad Gita
A unique and sometimes unrecognized side of Whitehead's philosophy is its recognition that there is a side of God which is, in Whitehead's words, "unmoved by love" and "indifferent to particulars." See below for the quotes. This side of God not the whole of God, but it is part of God, and an important part at that. He speaks of it as the primordial nature of God.
How to think about it? I turn to Chapter 11 of the Bhagavad Gita. where Krishna tenderly reveals himself to Arjuna as overwhelmingly powerful and all inclusive: million-armed with the sun and moon as his eyeballs, including life and death plus more, and far beyond Krishna's imagination.
I say tenderly reveals himself because, in fact, Krishna is offering Arjuna pastoral counsel. He is helping Arjuna do his duty, without attachment to the consequences of his actions. In this way he frees Krishna from undue self-concern. Krishna awakens to the fact that life is about more than him.
Sometimes, it seems to me, the best thing that can happen to us to to recognize, along with Krishna, that we are not the center of the universe and that the universe unfolds, in life and death, even apart from our private self-preoccupations. We are liberated by the tenderness of God's indifference.
- Jay McDaniel