[Advaita-l] A Conversation between Divine Will and Free Will

V. Krishnamurthy profvk at yahoo.com
Sat Mar 12 09:32:15 CST 2005


 In the last post on “Kundalini as a product of
not-yet-understood biology?” Mahesh Ursekar’s
‘conversation’ between DDW (the person who believes only in
Divine Will) and DFW (the person who believes ony in Free
Will) is interesting and should be pursued as a separate
topic. So I have started this new thread. I reproduce the
first four paragraphs of his conversation and go from

DFW: Free will is essential for reward and punishment
otherwise anyone would do anything they wish and say "it
was God's will, don't blame me!".
DDW: Ah, but that is not quite a correct viewpoint because,
you are cheating. God's will has been expressed in the
various Shrutis (Gita, Upanishads, Bible and what have you)
and if you follow those actions, you can claim to be doing
God's will, otherwise you cannot be claim to 
act in Her way.
DFW: Hold on, even my acting contrary to the scriptures is
being done by God, right? So I don't understand you
distinguishing some actions from others.
DDW: True, but even the consequences of the actions against
Her will have been described in the scriptures…they are
present for all to see.
 At this point I introduce a  a third disciple (TD) who
believes  in  neither of Divine Will nor Free Will
exclusively and therefore believes in both and has his own
reasons.. The conversation continues with the TD also
participating. – VK

TD:  I think you are both taking extreme positions. If man
did not have free will to attempt to do his will, Veda
statements like ‘Satyam vada’ (Speak the truth) and
‘Dharmam cara’ (Act according to dharma) would lose all
their meaning. So I am not prepared to agree with DDW.  But
what DDW says that it is finally Divine will that expresses
itself is correct.

DDW. Then how can you also agree with DFW?

TD: That is the tricky point.  Without the implied choice
of action implied in statements like satyam vada and
dharmam cara we can go nowhere. Man is free to act in the
way his tendencies (VasanAs) take him. Man is also free to
resist the bad vAsanAs and act in a way which will purify
his mind and rid it of the dirt accumulated therein.

DDW: Then why are the scriptures repeatedly professing that
it is all divine will? “mayaivaite nihitAH pUrvameva ..” 
says Krishna in the eleventh chapter.

DFW. That quote is exactly what confuses me.

TD:  Maybe Krishna is talking to an enlightened person!

DFW: But Arjuna was not enlightened – at least, at that
point. But wait. What do you say to such expressions in our
shAstras: “Neither Hari (Vishnu) nor Hara (Shiva) can erase
what is written on your forehead”?  Does it not say that
the so-called fate that overrules you is dominant. And is
not Fate the same as Divine Will?

DDW: Are you, DFW,  arguing for me now?

TD: Both of you are confusing me now! Let us go about it
systematically. That Fate you are talking about is the
prArabdha-karma. It is the portion of our past karma which
has started taking effect in  this birth of ours and it is
this facet of our life where neither God nor anybody can

DDW:  But that would limit the Almighty’s all-mightiness!

TD:  Here I am with you. To limit His own all-mightiness is
His own Will!.

DDW:  Let us come back now to Free Will and Divine Will. If
prArabdha is so dominant again you come only to my view.
Nothing can change God’s Will!

DFW: But we have still to answer the question about the
choice of action that TD raised.

TD. That is why I said we have to proceed systematically.
The choice of action is there so long as you believe ‘I am
the doer’. Krishna says “Only the man overpowered by his
ego thinks he is the doer” (B.G. 3rd chapter). 

DFW: You have now brought in a third belief – namely
whether one is the doer or not. But if I am not the doer
and God is the doer, then is He not responsible for all my
bad thoughts and bad actions?

TD:  He is not responsible even for your good thoughts and
good actions.

DDW: Wait, wait. You are contradicting my theory of Divine
Will totally and I thought you earlier said that you agreed
with me.

TD: There are stages of evolution in a man’s life – in
fact,  several lives. There is a stage when we have to
grant free will. That is the stage when you are either a
growing child either in the physical plane or in the
spiritual plane. You cannot tell a high school student that
it is all divine will; then there is no purpose in asking
him to make effort at his education.

DFW: But even assuming that at the adult stage of a better
spiritual evolution, to believe it is some other Power
within us, other than our egoism, that it is the doer and
the experiencer, is only fatalism. I would not like to
grant that Hinduism or Vedanta is all fatalism.

TD: Your equating  the fact that there is another Power
within us  with Fatalsim is not correct. The recognition of
this other Power within us is the first step towards our
spiritual evolution.

DDW:  What can this other Power within us be except God?

DFW: But that contradicts your earlier statement that God
is not responsible for any of our actions either good or

TD: This other Power within us is not God. It is our own
individualised PrakRti (SvabhAva – our own nature) for
which we are ourselves the architect, by means of the way
we thought and lived in all our past lives and also in this
life up to the present. 

(To be Continued. I would appreciate it if scholars on this
list also continue this conversation in their own 
different way:  There is ‘choice of action’!)

PraNAms to all seekers of Truth.

DFW: Oh, yes. The Kali Yuga. But, that again is Divine
will, so why
blame me?  All your seers have even counted the period of
time of this
age and so it indeed is depressing to know that things are
only going
to get worse from your Divine will perspective.
DDW: Let me put this another way - Divine Will is your
will. What you
want, the Divine will grant and make possible. There is no
between your will and the Divine because everything is the
Divine. In
my opinion, the Divine is making you move to your deepest
however imperceptibly and sometimes even without you
realizing it…t
do say "as you think so you become".
DFW: But you are still missing my point - why is God
causing people to
behave the way they do in these times? How can you account
for the
fact that the world is in such a mess? Why is everyone now
immersed in
thinking only of themselves and not the greater good…why
is this pl
of God or Divine play as you call it so cruel as to cause
such wide
spread suffering? Why is God who you claim is all merciful
and kind
projecting a world that is just the opposite? Can you just
throw the
blanket of Kali Yuga and close the chapter of discussion?

DDW: Can anyone out there help?

Regards, Mahesh

Prof. V. Krishnamurthy

You are welcome to have a look at any of the following  books on my website:

1. Gems from the Ocean of Hindu Thought Vision & Practice
2. Live Happily, the Gita Way
3. Advaita Dialogue for beginners.
4. Discourses of the Paramacharya on Soundaryalahari.

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