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

Mahesh Ursekar mahesh.ursekar at gmail.com
Tue Mar 22 10:51:26 CST 2005


That indeed was very very enlighenting and my sincere thanks for this
wonderful elaboration!

A beautiful expostion but I was wondering, if you would entertain a
few questions, given how valuable time must be:

1. In the dialog, the kshara purusha is said to be the one travelling
from body to body after death. As per what I heve read, it is said
that the causal body along with the subtle body travel from birth to
birth. As per my understanding the causal body is that covered by the
Anandamaya kosha and the subtle being is that covered by the manomaya
and vijnanamaya koshas. Is that equivalance correct i.e. is kshara
purusha = causal + subtle bodies? If so could you talk a little of the
Anandamaya kosha some more becuase the concept of causal body is quite
unclear in my mind.
2. The dialog also says in various places and explicity in one place that:
>> The bottomline lesson is that we have to be in harmony with that 'divine
>> will' in order to live and die in peace.
Could you give some thoughts on how this harmony can be achieved?

With respects and thanks, Mahesh

On Mon, 21 Mar 2005 13:36:33 -0800 (PST), V. Krishnamurthy
<profvk at yahoo.com> wrote:
> Namaste.
> We continue from where we left in
> http://www.escribe.com/religion/advaita/m16228.html
> DFW: What is it that I am missing from the fifteenth
> chapter of the Gita?
> TD:  It is the fact that there are two purushhas instead of
> one.
> DFW:  Both sentient?
> TD: Yes, both sentient.  By themselves mind and intellect
> are not sentient. The spark of the Infinite Consciousness
> that resides in us as  the sentient Purushha is the source
> of this sentience. This spark is the Jiva. But the Jiva
> cannot express itself in any manner  except through the
> BMI. When it so expresses itself, an identification takes
> place between jIva on the one side and the BMI on the other
> side. This identification results in a conscious
> personality which is what goes by the ordinary name of 'I'.
> This is one purushha. It is the perishable purushha
> (kshara-purushha).  If on the other hand jIva disassociates
> itself from the BMI and remains as the spark of
> Consciousness that it really is, then it is the
> imperishable purshha within. It is known as the
> akshara-purushha.  Thus there are two purushhas.
> DFW.  So who is responsible for my actions, good or bad?
> Who is the doer?
> TD:  It is only the perishable purushha.  The other one is
> imperishable, unattached, unaffected, unpolluted,  and
> immutable. It is the real 'I'.  The perishable purushha is
> the false 'I' or the lower self.  The real 'I' is the
> higher Self.
> DDW:  Shall we say then that the real doer of actions is
> this perishable purushha?
> TD:  In a sense, yes. Not only he is the doer but suffers
> the result of his doings. He it is that goes from body to
> body and suffers all the fruits of actions.
> DFW: Then what does the other purushha (the imperishable)
> do?
> TD: He is untouched by anything.  All our Upanishads as
> well as all the great teachers of advaita from Shankara
> downwards tell us to identify ourselves with the divine
> within and thus be unaffected by the ups and downs that the
> kshara purushha goes through.
> DFW:  I still don't understand it. What exactly do you mean
> by 'identification'. Is it just a posture? How does it
> translate into action? The discussion has now taken such a
> turn that we have forgotten why we started the discussion.
> Where have the Free Will and Divine Will gone now?
> DDW:  We have not strayed. We are still trying to
> understand Divine Will. Because it is the purushha within,
> whose presence in us makes us will,  act and feel through
> our BMI, it is common in Vedanta to say that the outer self
> has no control and it is the inner self that is the motor
> behind it.
> TD:  One of you mentioned earlier  the concept of 'action
> in inaction'.  This is it. The inner Self does nothing but
> in its presence everything happens.  But for its presence
> nothing would happen.
> DDW:  This concept of the inner self as the power behind
> all our actions gets translated for general understanding
> to say it is all divine will.  Common folk understand by
> this statement that God is sitting there in his throne  and
> dispensing  all decisions and actions!  The bottomline
> lesson is that we have to be in harmony with that 'divine
> will' in order to live and die in peace.  The
> identification means that you should be constantly aware
> that you (the real You)  are neither the doer of actions
> nor the experiencer of  the consequences. 'na ahaM kartA,
> na aham bhoktA'.  Your mind thinks, your hands and feet
> act; but You are only a witness to all of these.
> DFW: I feel this identification business is tricky. I think
> there is some blurring here.
> TD:  Let me try to explain. Whenever we act, we think we
> are the doer of the action. Actually we are thinking of the
> false 'I' here. The 18th chapter of the Gita elaborates
> four others that have a part in the action. One is called
> 'adhiShTAnaM', the support or base of all action. In other
> words it is the conglomerate of natural forces that
> constitute the field of action.
> DDW:  The next is the toality of the different senses which
> form the instrument of action. The third is the set of
> circumstances or the context.  The fourth is variously
> called Fate or Divine Element; actually it is the set of
> vAsanAs as we know, that have inspired the action.
> TD:  Thus the false 'I' together with these four
> accessories become the agents of action..
> DFW:  The difference between this false 'I' and the real
> 'I'  is only in the attitude. Right?
> TD:  But the attitude or bhAvanA  is everything. This is
> the crux of the entire philosophy of advaita. The doer or
> kartA is the individual mental attitude which unifies
> itself with the external things like body, senses and the
> mind to the extent that it thinks they are itself. This
> process of attitudinal unification is what is called
> identification.
> DDW:  On the other hand, the real 'I', the deeper Self,
> stands aloof as Witness, sAkShI.
> TD:  If now our mental attitude is perfectly tuned to
> identify itself with the sAkShI behind, then the five
> participants to the action are outside us. We can then
> clearly say "na ahaM kartA, na ahaM bhoktA" (I am not the
> doer or the experiencer).
> DDW: But all the four  agents of action  belong to PrakRti
> or its effects and the fifth  namely the kshara purushha,
> is also an effect of the mAyic spell over us. So it is also
> right to say that PrakRti is the doer.
> DFW:  But yesterday or so we concluded that PrakRti, being
> insentient, cannot be the doer and it is He, the inner
> self, that is the doer.
> TD: It is now clear, after the analysis in the 18th
> chapter, in what sense we are saying that PrakRti is the
> doer. It is  the false inner self along with the four other
> agents of action  that  is the doer.  Thus  PrakRti
> together  with the sentience of the false self becomes the
> doer.
> DFW: It is all pretty complicated.
> DDW:  That is why, to the common folk, we simply say, that
> the spirit within us, which is divine, is the doer. And
> they further simplify it by saying that it is all divine
> will. ...
> TD:  ... which is right after all, since it is the spark of
> Consciousness that sparks the mAyA that causes our false
> self to say what it says.
> DDW : I feel greatly relieved now. I feel I understand it
> all.
> DFW.  Do you, really? Then  can you answer the question:
> Does the 'divine' have free will?
> DDW:  I know you are trying to trap me.  To say it does not
> have free will is absurd because we ourselves have free
> will in some measure.  To say the divine has free will also
> leads to absurd supplementaries.
> DFW: Like what?
> DDW:  Like what you yourself pointed out earlier. Free will
> implies options to choose from. Does the divine choose from
> several options? Why does it choose one of them?  In that
> case is the divine so ignorant of the future to have to
> choose from its options? What governs its choice? Nature or
> PrakRti? Is the divine a slave to Nature? It cannot be.
> What desire makes the divine choose? If the divine is
> omniscient, omnipotent and omnipresent, why does He have to
> have options, choices, freedom to choose or not to choose?
> Why? Why? Does it not all add up to saying that the divine
> is a bundle of contradictions?
> TD:  Wonderful. The divine Godhead in Hinduism is difficult
> to conceive of  because it simultaneously possesses
> 'contradictory' qualities. There is no parallel in this
> finite world of ours. The divine has no desire, yet He has
> will! He chooses and chooses not! He intervenes and He also
> never intervenes, only watches! He has options but each
> option is His own Will! He knows the future, yet He chooses
> to act! The future is what He makes of the present. Nature
> or PrakRti   is His slave, yet He allows Nature to take its
> course. He is Personal, but not personal in the 'worldly'
> sense, because He is all-knowing. He is perfect, not in the
> sense of free from limitations, because limitations don't
> exist outside of His will! Yes, He is a bundle of
> contradictions, if you yourself don't have Faith in your
> Self!
> DDW: Therefore the plea for us is only this:  Be the
> instrument of  the Will of this Self  and nothing more.
> TD:  The so-called free will itself is in the ultimate
> sense an expression of Grace as MA AnandamayI would say. If
> one makes the right spiritual effort Divine Power would be
> with him. Thereafter whatever he does would be nothing but
> expressions of the divine will. This identification with
> the divine will and to work in the world simply as an
> instrument of His will, form the crux of the theory of
> Surrender to God.
> DDW: But we should beware. Such injunctions like 'Be the
> instrument of God's Will' and associated ideas about the
> not-so-free free will are only for those who are already a
> few steps up in the spiritual ladder.
> DFW:  How does one know that one is up in the ladder?
> TD: Ask yourself, whether these injunctions make sense to
> you. If they do, then you are ready to rise further. If
> they do not, then your will is still free!
> Om ShAntiH ShantiH ShantiH!
> Postscript:  My eight presentations in this series have
> been collected together and made available on the web at
> http://www.geocities.com/profvk/HNG/FWDW.html
> I thank Mr. Praveen R Bhat and Mr. Mahesh Ursekar for being
> the nimitta-kAraNa for this set of articles.
> PraNAms to all seekers of Truth.
> profvk
> Prof. V. Krishnamurthy
> You are welcome to have a look at any of the following  books on my website:
> http://www.geocities.com/profvk
> 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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