Beyond Karma

Swami Vishvarupananda omkar at GIASDL01.VSNL.NET.IN
Wed Mar 25 04:52:05 CST 1998

Ram Chandran wrote:

>On March 17, Swami Visparupananda stated "If there was no free will,
>where would also be no karma associated with our actions."   In his
>reply, Shri Jonathan Bricklin expresses his disagreement with Swamiji
>using an alternate approach to explain actions with the presence of
>Karma and the absence of free will.  The statement of Jonathan regarding
>the requirement of the absence of free-will is in fact the subtle
>message of Gita.   Arjun tried to establish his free will by throwing
>the arms on the ground and pleaded Lord Krishna for approval.   Lord
>Krishna during his discourses in the eighteen chapters of Gita convinces
>Arjun to deny the notion of free will.  The attitude and behavior of the

I think there is a difference in our interpretation of the word free will.
By free will I do not mean willfullness. I mean the freedom to make a choice
in our thoughts and actions. When Arjuna wanted to lay down his weapons, it
was a decission made due to aviveka and Krishna showed him the right path.
Arjuna then, taking to right viveka, surrendered the feelings arising from
the ego and decided to take up his weapons to fight for the sake of dharma.
What is required is the absence of willfullness that makes us follow the
dictates of the mind and ego. Not the absence of the ability to chose.
Otherwise we may say we are not able to chose between dharma and adharma.
Whatever we do was predestined, so it was not in our hands to refrain from
acting acording to the dictates of the mind/body/ego and indulge in the
senses. This too, like the premature denial of ajnana is the equivalent of
spiritual suicide.
Yes, we have to surrender our will. We have to surrender it completely. But
we have to choose to surrender it to Brahman, to the Self, to dharma. If we
simply deny the existence of our freedom to choose our path we are very
likely to surrender it to the mind and ego instead, even if they come to
take charge of it clandestinely.

It has been repeatedly said on this list, that thoughts arrise spontaneously
and we have no control. But we are able to stop thoughts from arising. We
are able to gradually silence the mind with practice of meditation, we are
able to destroy our vaasanas by an effort in our sadhana and thereby destroy
the source from which adharmic thoughts take rise. We are able to raise
dharmic thoughts, devotional thoughts, divine thoughts in our minds and
purify it thereby. We are able to influence our mind and its moods at all
times. And we can learn to take distance from the mind, refuse to identify
with it. These all we can achieve by an effort and not by denying the
freedom to choose what to do and what to
refrain from which is the very base of will power.

With friendly greetings,

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