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BG Chap 9 - The independence of the dependent living entity

Although all living entities are within Kṛṣṇa, are dependent on Kṛṣṇa and are supported by Kṛṣṇa, they nevertheless act independently. This is an inconceivable feature of the relationship between the living entities and Kṛṣṇa. Kṛṣṇa provides an analogy to help us understand. The sky, like an upside-down bowl, contains the wind. In the same way, “all created beings rest in Me.” Just as the sky is detached from the wind, the wind, though in the sky, blows freely and independently. The sky restricts only the area of movement, not the movement itself. Kṛṣṇa thus limits the activities of the conditioned living entities, regardless of the extent of their power, to the circumference of the material world. Within the material sphere they are free, and Kṛṣṇa is detached from their independently enacted activities and from the reactions their activities generate. The living entities are thus simultaneously fully dependent on Kṛṣṇa and independent of Him.

Now one may ask how can the powers of the Lord remain inconceivable if they are just like ether and wind? Ether has detachment because it is unconscious by its very nature (matter does not form attachments). Among conscious beings, only the Lord is truly detached even though He is at once the abode of everything and its controller. This establishes the inconceivability of the Lord. The example comparing ether to the Lord is given for the understanding of the common man.