[Advaita-l] ***UNCHECKED*** Re: Self-effort or Fate?

Praveen R. Bhat bhatpraveen at gmail.com
Wed Nov 29 07:53:26 EST 2017

Namaste Adityaji,

I'm not sure if you're still looking for responses on the thread, but
here's one that slipped my mind till just now!

I'll give a commonly accepted reply, then move onto my understanding and
quote a support to that effect. What is commonly accepted is that fate/
prArabdha makes circumstances while the free-will is to choose your action
in the circumstances. That is, someone's free-will appears to be
less-restricted than those of others who find it so limited that even with
a choice or more, they are unable to act out the same. This provides for
quite a few to move towards extreme opinions with the former group saying
its all freewill while the latter saying its all predetermined.

Although I tilt more towards the second group, I landed on it through the
common view itself and it is not a pessimist's view as it appears on face
value like that of others with a similar "belief". To clarify the quotes,
the issue with the belief system without understanding is that it is a
defeatist attitude or what is shamed as an escapist route! However, I opine
that there is only one act of freewill, and that act is to give up your
freewill itself! The entire journey of jnAna is working towards that. As
long as one hinges oneself as having freewill, one remains as the doer of
all actions and therefore, the author of the result of actions as per the
Gita. A kartA has necessarily to be a bhoktA. That is the very definition
of saMsAra. This is what Bhagavatpadacharya means when he says prArabdhAya
samarpitaM svavapuH. Although it is the end-goal, Bhashyakara himself has
said it in Gita that whatever is spontaneous for the jnAnI becomes a
sAdhana for the sAdhaka. I personally find it gives a great titIkShA, even
samatva, to accept everything as prArabdha.

Finally, in his bhAShya under Brahma Sutra 2.3.41 परात्तु तच्छ्रुतेः, he
says यद्यपि दोषप्रयुक्तः सामग्रीसम्पन्नश्च जीवः, यद्यपि च लोके कृष्यादिषु
कर्मसु नेश्वरकारणत्वं प्रसिद्धम् , तथापि सर्वास्वेव प्रवृत्तिष्वीश्वरो
हेतुकर्तेति श्रुतेरवसीयते ; तथा हि श्रुतिर्भवति — ‘ एष ह्येव साधु कर्म
कारयति तं यमेभ्यो लोकेभ्य उन्निनीषते । एष ह्येवासाधु कर्म कारयति तं यमधो
निनीषते’ (कौ. उ. ३ । ७) इति, ‘ य आत्मनि तिष्ठन्नात्मानमन्तरो यमयति’ इति च
एवंजातीयका। Something of a translation: Although the jIva is endowed with
defects and ingredients to act out the same, and even though Ishvara is not
well-known as the cause w.r.t. actions such as farming/ploughing, etc, in
the world, yet Ishvara is concluded as the source/cause of all actions (*1
हेतुकर्ता) from the Shruti. So says the Shruti-- "Kaushitaki Up. 3.7:
Indeed He Himself makes one do righteous action, desiring to raise that
person above the mortal worlds. Indeed, He Himself causes one do
unrighteous action, desiring to lead that person below the mortal worlds",
"One who controls the self staying inside oneself", and [Shruti] of these

--Praveen R. Bhat
/* येनेदं सर्वं विजानाति, तं केन विजानीयात्। Through what should one know
That owing to which all this is known! [Br.Up. 4.5.15] */

On Wed, Nov 22, 2017 at 1:00 PM, Aditya Kumar via Advaita-l <
advaita-l at lists.advaita-vedanta.org> wrote:

> Perhaps the oldest philosophical question. If everything is predetermined
> by fate, why put any effort? However, if self-effort can change our fate,
> why do we often hit a dead-end in our pursuits? Lastly, is Moksha gained by
> self-effort or fate?
> I know there is a correct answer somewhere but not sure about it. Any
> thoughts?
> _______________________________________________

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