Free will and destiny
Dr. M. Giridhar
giridhar at CHEMENG.IISC.ERNET.IN
Fri May 8 23:18:52 CDT 1998
shri ravi wrote:
course, I should add that, many mUDhAtmas like me, throw away allthese God
given advantages and seek trivial things like certificates and money. As
shankara says, it is like a suicide. Please correct me if I am wrong.
There is nothing better than an opprtunity to learn.
Well, let me state another point of view, if you do not mind.
Sure, you were seeking trivial things like certificates and money (like
me), but was not it destined that we should do so ?
Before the day you were born, your name, the caste, the name of
your spouse, children, qualifications you will have, money you will make
and the day you parents will pass on, and even the day that your body will
be burnt is written down. If you do not believe me, you can read
and visit that person or any such persons. Since you know Tamil, you can
read the palm leaves for yourself.
For example, when my mother named me, she thought she named me
because she loved mirabai's songs. However, the nadi jyotish palm leaves
written 2000 years back gives my name and the name of my parents. How much
free will went into naming me ? The same palm leaves mention that I will
have a doctorate, work in an automonous institution etc etc. Some of my
friends married "in love" without the constent of their parents. But the
names of their spouses are also given. Then, how much free will was
exercized in the process ?
Naturally, there arises a question on how much of free will is
there and how much is destiny. As given above, it becomes clear that there
is atleast some role of destiny. There has to be free will, otherwise, the
scriptures are all useless and it becomes laughable that sages like
Vasistha etc. ask us to make effort to realize the Self. So, there is a
combination of the two. [All this holds only in the vyavahara plane. At
the paramarthika level, there is no free will or destiny]
The material in "Dialogues with Guru" (can be found in the
archives of this list) will provide the answer. Rama has also provided
some good answers to this question in personal emails to me.
Therefore, my point is not to criticize ourselves for what has
been done by the body-mind complex, but instead put forth our best efforts
towards sadhana, without feeling "i" am making the effort.
>From Sat May 9 10:44:56 1998
Date: Sat, 9 May 1998 10:44:56 -0400
Reply-To: ramakris at erols.com
To: List for advaita vedanta as taught by Shri Shankara
<ADVAITA-L at TAMU.EDU>
From: Ramakrishnan Balasubramanian <ramakris at EROLS.COM>
Subject: Re: Free will and destiny
Comments: To: Advaita-L <advaita-l at tamu.edu>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=us-ascii
Dr. M. Giridhar wrote:
> Before the day you were born, your name, the caste, the name of
> your spouse, children, qualifications you will have, money you will make
> and the day you parents will pass on, and even the day that your body will
> be burnt is written down. If you do not believe me, you can read
[ ... ]
> have a doctorate, work in an automonous institution etc etc. Some of my
> friends married "in love" without the constent of their parents. But the
> names of their spouses are also given. Then, how much free will was
> exercized in the process ?
The site was very interesting. My father went to one such gentleman in
Vaiddeswaran Koil and he had the monologue of the josiyar taped. I
listened to it and it was quite remarkable. He didn't ask my father any
question, BTW. He gave very accurate details, with specifics. He told
his father's name, mothers name, and all his childrens name. He also
mentioned that I was in an electronics related field and that my brother
and sister were in accounting related fields! He had also mentioned some
personal details regarding the time when my grandfather passed away
which even my mother didn't know!!!
My uncle went to this chap and he asked him "Are you the chap with
mother and wife with the same name?" Both of them did have the same name
- Rajalaksmi. Then he started reeling out stuff. He said that according
to his own nadi such a fellow would come to him for nadi josiyam!! First
I was suspicious that there was some trickery involved in this. But
about 10 relatives went to this chap and he repeated the same
performance! So I decided that must not be the case. Apart from this
scores of other people also have the same experience. He must have some
agency like the CIA or KGB if he is fooling everyone :-).
My sisters father-in-law is also a very competent josiyar (his
forefathers were all josiyars) and has given accurate predictions. But
he uses horoscopes.
> Naturally, there arises a question on how much of free will is
> there and how much is destiny. As given above, it becomes clear that there
> is atleast some role of destiny. There has to be free will, otherwise, the
> scriptures are all useless and it becomes laughable that sages like
> Vasistha etc. ask us to make effort to realize the Self. So, there is a
As my father remarked, he was extremely accurate as regards the past,
but his predictions were not specific. It was more an "outline" kind of
thing. My father said that this must be because the future cannot be
determined completely accurately. But my uncle said one prediction which
seemed impossible came true. The chap even gave the year it was going to
Anyway, most of his predictions were "vague" at least compared to his
telling of the past. As sage Vasishta points out, self effort is
I think there is an essay by Swami Sivananda in Pannerselvam
Kanagarathinams site on the Divine Life society, which is also very
> Therefore, my point is not to criticize ourselves for what has
> been done by the body-mind complex, but instead put forth our best efforts
> towards sadhana, without feeling "i" am making the effort.
More information about the Advaita-l mailing list