Bumper stickers

Ramakrishnan Balasubramanian rbalasub at ECN.PURDUE.EDU
Sat Jul 12 15:24:59 CDT 1997

Jonathan Bricklin wrote:

> >nothing could be more foolish. naishkarmya siddhi is attained only when
> >there is complete purity of mind, not by repeating "there is no
> >free-will" ad-nauseam. Do you agree?

> One of the few quotes from an Indian that I have seen frequently on bumper
> stickers is Gandhi's "It's not important what you do, but it's important
> that you do it."  I think about this quote a lot, and not only because I'm

[ ... ]

I fail to see what this has to do with my question. My question is

1. It is advisable to disregard the belief in freewill in order to
attain advaita siddhi.
2. In this case the path of dharma, as dictated by shastra, should be
followed and the results ("good" or "bad") must be accepted with
equanimity. Otherwise it is easy to get into hedonism all the while
under the delusion that there is no "volition".

Do you agree that the path of dharma has to to be _strictly_ followed or

> The desire to realize naiskarmya siddhi, being a desire, not only has no
> absolute, transcendental value, and there have probably been as many people
> who have reached some sort of enlightenment by landing at the bottom of
> hedonistic induced despair, than by striving to climb toward spiritual
> purity. And those who don't come through the bottom to the top are not
> turned around by an act of will (whatever that is) but by seeing clearly
> what their condition is.  An alcoholic tells many lies to himself, but
> telling him he has free will to turn his life around would just be adding
> to the pile.  The one truth that can change his life is that he is an
> alcoholic, and often it takes a crisis, like running his car into a tree,
> for him to realize that.  Once he does realize that, the change happens by
> itself.  Will is not part of the equation. .

While there may be some examples of people being hedonistic and changing
later, that's of no consequence. All such people _had to change_ after
they _realized_ the folly of their ways. That involves effort. In any
case this has little, if no relevance to my question.

Further, the desire to attain advaita siddhi has no permanent value. But
it has the effect of "removing a thorn with a thorn and then discard
both" (as Charles aptly put it). It is one of the foremost prerequisties
for realization (see any advaita text).

>  I often hear the objection you have raised against belief in the
> non-reality of free will, but I have never once met or read of anyone who
> actually manifested it.  A divine bum, like Astavakra, does not believe in
> will, and manifests that belief by expressing a disinterest in any goal.

Ashtavakra was supposedly a realized soul beyond desires. My question
does not concern such people.

> The hedonists you mention sound like the ordinary kind, filled with the
> separate sense of self that a belief in will engenders.  Do you actually
> know, or have you ever heard of anyone acting *badly* and using a belief in
> the non-reality of free will to justify it?  This is an earnest question.
> Do you actually know anyone who repeats ad nauseum "there is no free will"?

Yes, I have (to both your questions). My question is very simple and
direct. I'd appreciate a direct answer to that question please. A yes or
no would suffice.


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