The Karmas and our destiny

Gummuluru Murthy gmurthy at MORGAN.UCS.MUN.CA
Fri Jul 11 07:45:41 CDT 1997

On Wed, 9 Jul 1997, Vidyasankar Sundaresan wrote:

> Just as avidyA is his who sees it, destiny is also his who lets it control
> him, and will is his who decides to exercise it. If you say, "destiny
> controls my life," you still see avidyA, and I would say in response, "you
> can change your destiny through the use of your will." If you say, "all my
> life is an outcome of my own free will," you still see avidyA, and I would
> say in response, "there is something called destiny too, which monitors
> and regulates your will, so that your will is not all that free after
> all." To both attitudes, I would next say, "both destiny and free will are
> avidyA."

An addendum to my comment of yesterday to Shri Vidyasankar's article.
Shri Vidyasankar is lumping the beliefs in will and destiny all in the
same boat. I agree that both destiny and free will are both in the realm
of avidya. However, there are various levels of avidya and I submit that
free will and destiny are not at the same level. Let us first take it that
these two persons (believing respectively in free will and destiny) are
honest to themselves and true to their belief.

A person who argues that "all my life is an outcome of my own free will"
is at a level of ignorance where the ego is playing a major role and sees
himself/herself to be the creator of his/her own world. The upanishhads
have characterized such cases:

andham tamah pravishanti yo'vidyaam upaasate
        [Isha upanishhad verse 9, also in Shri Lalitha trisati]

Into blinding darkness enter those who worship ignorance.

na saamparaayah pratibhaati baalam pramaadyantam vittamohena muuDham
ayam loko naasti para iti maanii punah ppunar vasham aapadyate me
        [Katha upanishhad I.2.6]

What lies beyond does not shine to the simple-minded, careless and who is
deluded by the glamour of wealth. Thinking 'this world exists, there is
no other', he falls again and again into my (Death's) power.

Now let us take the other extreme: a person who fully accepts destiny,
i.e. a person in *full harmony* with destiny. Such a person has no inkling
of free will. Such a person is in eternal happiness. He/she has accepted
there is no free-will, ego has melted, perfect harmony with destiny,
perfect eternal happiness because there is no "action" the individual can
perform to change the destiny. There is no interest or inclination to
change destiny. Such a person, if ever there is one, is a jnani and I
prostrate before him/her.

All the troubles come if a person has a mixture of the ingredients of
free will and destiny. For a person who has belief in 100% free will, the
upanishhadic statements quoted above tell the story.For a person who has
belief in 100% destiny (I mean 100% with no semblance of free will) is,
in my view, a jnani.

> Vidyasankar

Gummuluru Murthy
Yadaa sarve pramucyante kaamaa ye'sya hr^di shritaah
atha martyo'mr^to bhavatyatra brahma samashnute   Katha Upanishhad II.3.14

When all the desires that dwell in the heart fall away, then the mortal
becomes immortal, and attains Brahman even here.

More information about the Advaita-l mailing list