Lessons - 2

Gregory Goode goode at DPW.COM
Wed Mar 18 12:22:40 CST 1998

At 11:07 PM 3/18/98 +0530, Swami Vishvarupananda wrote:

Harih Om!!

>If there was no free will on the vyavaharika level then nobody could be made
>responsible for what he is doing. Then a mass murderer cannot be blamed
>or punished for his monstrosities. He is then just fulfilling his destiny,
>or you could even call it his dharma.

Yes, fulfilling his dharma, this is what is entailed.  There is a
difference between these two questions:

   (1) What if there were no free will on the vyavaharika level?
   (2) What if no one believed in free will on the vyavaharika level?

Mass murderers running around unpunished is more a consequence of (2) than
of (1).  Who knows what would happen if (2) were true??  As of now, on the
vyavaharika level, a religious aspirant coming to the conclusion that there
is no free will will not cause that same person to become a mass murderer.
Unless it's already his dharma.  A change in the beliefs about this issue
doesn't cause evil actions.

But the idea CAN be very confusing. Some friends of mine who study some
watered-down modern advaita, tend to become confused at hearing the
no-free-will theory propounded by some of the modern teachers.  They think
it's true, they want to understand and believe the teacher, but the idea
doesn't really resonate with them, and the rest of their experience says
that their actions ARE the outcome of their will.

To get back to your question, "No-free-will" doesn't entail that there are
no acts or consequences (the no-consequence theory would be entailed more
by a "no-cause-and-effect" theory, not by a "no-free-will" theory).  Acts
are performed in the sense that rain falls.  Consequences, such as
punishment, can still follow certain acts.  It's just that there are no
personal entities serving as the do-er, along the causal chain.

>Of course the judge who punishes the poor innocent mass murderer is again
>only fulfilling his predestined dharma. What a wonderful chaos indeed. Do
>you really believe in this?

Yes!  And to tell you the truth, it has been a very liberating thing.  With
the notion of free will went the notion of personal do-ership, as Jonathan
and I said in other messages.

>Just tell me, if one believes in non-existence of free will, what is the use
>of talk and practice of sadhana or any discipline? Where does practise of
>dharma come into it? Why should the scriptures or teachers like Adishankara
>take the pain to tell us anything on how to achieve Self-realization, when
>we have no choice in practicing what they tell us?

Sri Ramakrishna is quoted as having said, "Don't believe in free will, but
act as though you do."   Like the notion of karma, which Eliot Deutsch has
supposedly called a "teaching fiction."  There are plenty who DO believe in
it, as will always be the case.

In the case of the Greg mind/body complex, since the erasure of the belief
in free will and personal do-ership, there has been more sadhana, more
study, more love, more devotion, more acceptance of what-is as-it-is, and
more bliss and joy, than ever before!!  There is no reason that it would go
this way for everyone, however.  As I mentioned above, this idea can be
confusing to many.  It's not a teaching for everyone.  Isn't this why texts
such as the Mandukya Up. are taught very late in the sadhaka's path?



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