[Advaita-l] FREE WILL AND/OR DESTINY
kuntimaddisada at yahoo.com
Tue Jan 16 22:06:26 EST 2018
This is the final part of the series. --------------------------------
Free-Will and/or Destiny – Part 4
What I have is praarabda and what I do with what I have is my purushartha – Swami Chinmayandaji.
Four Purusharthas: dharma, artha, kaama, moksha.
artha involves earning money and kaama involves fulfilling the desires but these two are bounded one side by dharma or righteousness and the other side by moksha – a freedom from all limitations. Thus, one should earn the wealth as much as one can but by the right means or dhaarmic way, and also enjoy the life in dhaarmic way. In the marriage one takes an oath – dharmecha, arthecha, kaamecha naati charaami – I am taking this woman as my wife for fulfilling my dharma, and enjoy life in dhaarmic way, with the wealth acquired in dharmic way. Moksha is left out in the marriage vow since it involves Vedanta sharavana, manana and nidhidhyaasana that require individual sadhana at personal level.
Moral Laws Governing Action: Dharma forms the fundamental basis for life itself and hence Hinduism is actually called Sanatana dharma or that which is followed by time immemorial. Dharma has several connotational meanings; the most prominent one is that which supports the life itself. The whole Geetopadesha starts with dharma (dharma kshetre..) and ends with mama meaning mine. Thus it involves discussion of what is my dharma or swadharma, with Krishna stating that it is better to do one’s own dharma than to follow that of others- swadharme nidhanam shreyaH.
The basic foundation for dharma is accountability for one’s own action. We have legal laws that we need to follow in any society, and ignorance of the laws is not a defense for a violation in any court of law. For example, I have to pay taxes on time, otherwise, I can be prosecuted. Thus legal laws of the land have to be followed; that forms the local dharma. There are subtle dharmas that need to be followed at the individual level which can be considered as moral laws. A simple example is I have to do what I expect others to do towards me, and I should not do what I expect others not to do towards me. For example, I expect others to be kind to me, help me when I am in need, forgive my mistakes, etc. Then these become my dharma or duties towards others. Similarly, I do not want others to lie to me, steal my property, hurt me or abuse me, discriminate me etc. Then there are my dharmas to follow with respect to others. Some of them are called universal values that are independent of time and location. Any violation of these will leave marks in the mind for which I have to bear the consequence. Religions call this as sin. Swami Chinmayanandaji defines sin beautifully. Sin is defined as the divergence of mind and intellect. That is intellect or buddhi knows what is the right thing to do, while the mind or manas feels like doing something opposite. For example, the intellect knows one should not steal. Even a notorious thief also knows this since he does not want his stolen property to be stolen by others. He is ready to compromise the value for his benefit. While legally he may escape but morally he gets bound. He has to bear the consequence of this violation of moral law in this life or in the next life. This is the basis of the theory of karma in Hinduism.
One is accountable for one’s action, here or in the life after. That the karma-account is expressed as praarabda karma or destiny which is nothing but deliberate compromises against moral laws committed in the past. These are absolute laws that govern the birth-death cycles of all life forms. Hence one’s birth, in terms of the type of life form (human, animal or plant, etc), place and time, gender, parents, siblings, etc. are all determined by one’s karma as well as the karmas of those who are affected by that birth. The system is well governed by laws beyond human intellect. The karma of all being put together becomes the cause for the creation, says Krishna.
Hence dharma forms the essence of purushartha or determining factor for Freewill. Krishna calls this as the eternal wheel of action and results that is set in motion from time immemorial or Sanatana dharma – which forms the essence of Hinduism, nay the very foundation of the creation. This does not depend on one’s belief system or opinion. Krishna says - evam pravartitam chakram naanuvartayateeha yaH, aghaayurindriyaaraamo mogham partha sa jiivati||. Whoever does not act in accordance with this eternal wheel of dharma that is set in motion from the beginning-less creation, he suffers. The choice is ours and we are accountable for the choice we make.
Thus free will and destiny play together reminding ourselves – what we have is destiny and what we do with what we have is our free will. The Free-will is there until we are free from will –which forms the essence of the fourth purushartha, namely moksha, which in essence is freedom from will. Freedom from will involves understanding that I am never a doer or enjoyer. The prakRiti itself does all actions –the prakRiti includes the Body, Mind and Intellect and the whole jagat or the world. prakRityavacha karmaaNi kriyamaanaani sarvashaH –declares Krishna in Getopadesha.
Hence Free-will is there until we transcend the Free-Will and thus become free from Free-Will as well as Destiny. Until then Free-Will and Destiny become two-sides of the same coin. Destiny is the result of actions done out of our Free-Will in the past. Future destiny is the past destiny modified by the action done in the present out of our Free-Will. That is the essence of the Law of Action discussed Lord Krishna in Geetopadesha. Hence, karmani eva adhikaaraste- you have a choice in the action in the present – to do, not to do or to do another way, kartum shakyam, akartum shakyam, anyathaa kartum shakyam. What you have is destiny and what you do with what you have is Free-Will – says Swami Chinmayandaji.
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