Free Will versus Fatalism

 

Below is another essay from Atman Nityananda whose earlier essay on sAdhana triggered so much interest. This is preceded by an essay on the same topic from Swami Sivananda.

 

 

Free Will versus Fatalism
by Swami Sivananda

The controversy between free will and fatalism is still going on in the West and no one has come to any definite conclusion. It is a great pity that the doctrine of Karma is mistaken for fatalism. Fatalism is the doctrine that all events are subject to fate and happen by unavoidable necessity.

Fate is otherwise known as luck or fortune. That indefinable mysterious something which brings trials, successes and failures to man, which shapes and moulds him by teaching lessons of various sort, which takes care of him like a mother, which brings various sort of experiences, which brings cloudy days and days of bright sunshine, which raises a beggar to the level of a landlord and hurls down a mighty potentate to the level of a street-beggar, which gives different kinds of fruits and experiences to two people of equal talents and capacities, which made Napoleon at one time a terror in the eyes of the people and at another time a prisoner, and which makes a certain portion of the life of a man quite stormy and another portion quite smooth, is called fate. Fate educates and instructs man. However whimsical the fate may appear to operate, it works in harmony with the law of causation. Continue reading

Q. 375 – Conditions affecting next life

Q: I agree that Reincarnation, the next life, isn’t real. But it’s as real as this life…and, for most of us, this life seems pretty real, even if we know better.

And, as we all know, very, very few people are going to achieve Enlightenment (Liberation, Realization, Moksha) in this lifetime.

For the above 2 reasons, I suggest that Reincarnation is a reasonable thing to be concerned about and to ask a question about. That’s what this question is about. I’ll speak of Reincarnation as if it’s as real as this life seems.

 It’s been said that one’s next incarnation depends greatly on one’s thoughts and state in their last moments of this life. I hope that isn’t true, because no one can know what condition they’ll be in when they’re dying. I mean, we aren’t always in the best of condition when we die, are we.

 A person, at death, might be delirious, or heavily sedated at a hospital. What then? How does that affect that person’s next life?

 Has there been discussion, from theory, regarding how this life—and, in particular, a person’s condition in the last moments of this life–affect that person’s next life?

Responses from , Sitara, Venkat and Dennis Continue reading

saMskAra-s, svadharma and karma (Q. 320)

Q: I read about the above topics in your book and struggled with them, not only because there are a number of things to remember, but also because how exactly they function is complex.

 I thought about what you said regarding svadharma and how not going with it, with the example of Arjuna in the Bhagavad Gita, would have been bad for ones karma and thought about Hitler.

 You might say that it was Hitler’s svadharma to do as he did and that to go against that, in other words, to be an ordinary politician or something for example, would have given rise to bad karma for him, the same way as going against his duty would have caused Arjuna bad karma, as explained by Krishna: ‘slay thy foes’. But then that seems unfair to him (Hitler), since surely his ‘bad actions’ (genocide, etc.) that his svadharma would have had him following would have brought him bad karma any way, so either way, things, from that perspective, looked pretty bleak for him? Then one might say that what Hitler did was not really his svadharma, but this I personally would agree with, as a ‘person’ cannot act outside of Brahman, that is, everything we do, feel, think is Brahman, so even Hitler’s ‘evils’ were also Brahman? Continue reading