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

V. Krishnamurthy profvk at yahoo.com
Sat Mar 19 08:51:54 CST 2005


We continue from where we left in 

TD:  We all have to start our lives with the hypothesis of
absolute free will. It is the sheet-anchor on which we base
all our actions. But as we move forward along the journey
of life, we learn lessons from the world and we become
wiser to the ways of the world as also to the ways of the

DFW: Are you saying that our world experience takes us away
from belief in free will? I feel it is the contrary. For it
is by persistent and continuous self-effort great achievers
have achieved  what they are known to have achieved. 

TD: I don’t deny that. By the same persistent and
continuous self-effort one learns that unless we bid
farewell to a self-centred life we cannot rise spiritually.
So the path to higher levels of spirituality needs a strong
free will to strengthen the inner life rather than the
outer life. That is why the smritis say  the goals dharma
and moksha are sought only by self-effort.

DDW:  The common man thinks Faith in God is superstition.
Superstition is what holds you when you  think negatively.
But Faith  is some kind of intuition which makes you,
through your own free will, reach out and contact the most
positive thing in the universe, namely, the Supreme

TD: Wonderfully said, DDW.  It is that spark of Faith which
we have to keep fanning  until  with the help of a Guru it 
 blows up   into a Fire of Wisdom (jnAnAgni). That way one
develops a God-centred nature.

DFW: Earlier you said that it is world-experience that
gradually takes us into the belief in a divine will. Where
does that stand in the light of this necessity to fan the
so-called Faith?

TD: If we carefully analyse the world-experience of
ourselves as well as of others, slowly it would appear
that, try what we may, certain happenings which seemed to
be totally in our control have slipped away from us and we
see an invincible force pulling us.  This inevitability of
events strikes us in the face. 

DFW: But as we grow older  I think we move from the
childhood beliefs of naivete, myth and superstition to the
adult days of self-effort and freedom of free will. 

TD:  You have to move farther to learn the lessons of
philosophy. All along we have been thinking that prArabdha
karma starts our life with its own prescriptions of initial
conditions and limitations on our mind, intellect and
environment and that all the rest is our free will. All
along we have believed that it is our prakRti which is the
result of our prArabdha karma, that does everything and is
the cause of all action.  But this theory is too mechanical
to be ultimate. Even though Lord Krishna says this in the
third chapter, later he modifies it. PrakRti is inert and
to say that it is the doer and enjoyer is to accept the
sentient self to be in the control of the insentient

DDW:  I see you are referring to the theory of purushha and
prakRti in the thirteenth  chapter of the Gita.

TD: Yes, we have to bring in the sentient Purushha now. In
the innermost recesses of man there is a Consciousness
which is Purushha rather than PrakRti. PrakRti is only the
force of the Purushha. It is this Purushha that makes the
PrakRti work through the lower self.  

DDW: The free will that we have been holding on to is not
any more free. Our will, though powerful as we thought, has
only a limited power.

DFW:  Will aims at the end; but Power is the means to
attain that end.

DDW: Will without power is helpless to provide the means to
attain the end. Power without will is purposeless because
it has no end in view.

TD: There cannot be any Power without Consciousness. And
there cannot be Consciousness without Power.  The
will-power we thought was ours comes really from the
consciousness within. And that Consciousness is the

DDW: The Gita makes a very impassioned appeal for us to
surrender to the Purushha within. After showing His cosmic
form to Arjuna, Krishna declares: I have already conquered
and vanquished all your enemies; be only an instrument of
my action. Go and fight.

DFW: You already quoted this  in Sanskrit on the first day 
of our conversation and I said that is what always confuses

TD:  But now we can understand it. The plea of the Gita is
for us to be the instrument of the Will of God, that is,
this Purushha. We have to be like the needle in a
gramaphone which only traces the channels already chalked
out for it by the designer of the record.

DDW: We only walk over the path already dictated by God for

TD: Listen to Him for His voice. Throw the responsibility
on Him. Abandon all your dharmas, meaning, abandon the
doership attitude of all actions. You are not the doer. He
is the doer. This is the greatest renunciation, greatest

DFW:  But still we have not found an answer to the
fundamental question I raised earlier. I can now rephrase
that question in the light of the theory that  the Purushha
within is what makes the PrakRti  the doer. In that case,
then, the same Purushha should be held responsible for all
my bad thoughts and actions.  Originally I asked whether
God is the one who should take responsibility. Now we have
come to the conclusion  it is the Purushha. But the
Purushha is the same as the cosmic Almighty, if I
understand advaita right. So then, that brings us back to
square one!

TD:  Your logic is certainly reasonable. But you are
missing one more bit of information from the fifteenth
chapter of the Gita. Maybe we should take it up when we
meet afresh.

(To be concluded in the next post)
PraNAms to all seekers of Truth. 

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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