[Advaita-l] Free will Versus Karma Phala

Vishwanathan Raman raman.vishwanathan at gmail.com
Wed Sep 12 11:39:42 CDT 2007


  I have a doubt lingering for sometime now and I am now posting it to this
list hoping that some of the learned members will help me with my
understanding. Whatever I have stated below is based on my understanding of
the Karma theory, and so if there are any flaws in it, I request you to
correct me.

 According to the Karma theory, every experience an individual experiences
in his life is a result of his actions (either in the past or present life).
There is a bank of Karma phala waiting for fructification (Sanchita) and
those that have fructified for the present birth is known as Prarabhdha
Karma. Those that are earned in the present birth is known as Agami Karma
(and may fructify either in the present birth or in the future births).

 Further every human being is also endowed with a free will which allows him
to choose the type of karma that he wishes to perform, with good karmas
earning him punya while the bad karmas earn him a paapa.

 For e.g. lets taken an incident such as a terrorist attack. In this case
the result of actions of a few set of people is causing grief to lot of
people. I have difficulty in understanding such incidences. Is it that the
attack serve as a means to distribute the Karma Phala of the individuals
(victims) concerned. [similar to what happens during natural calamities].

 If so then the attackers have only been an instrument in the hands of the
Lord to give the karma phala to the individuals concerned (nimitta matram
bhava savyasachin B.Gita Ch.11-V.33) and no papam should accrue to them.

 But clearly this defies logic, as even in the case of a individual
committing suicide, papam accrues to the person, since he is abusing his
freewill. Thus the act of terrorism can only be an act that abuses freewill.
But then how does one explain the suffering undergone by people who are
affected by such acts.

 I don't have problem understanding suffering caused due to events such as
natural disasters, suffering caused to diseases, or events that happen to
which prior motive cannot be attributed (like accidents etc). But when
willfull action by an individual causes harm to others, I am unable to
understand / explain it using the karma theory.

 Shree Gurubhyo Namaha ||


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