Author Topic: Freewill and Pre-Determination - 1  (Read 1240 times)

Subramanian.R

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Freewill and Pre-Determination - 1
« on: April 22, 2009, 12:47:53 PM »
The following is a further abridged version of an article that appeared
in Mountain Path, October - December 2008, by John Grimes.  The
article itself is an abridgement of of some chapters that were in a book
titled The Builders of Indian Philosophy. Ramana Maharshi, Darshan
through Darshana.

Bhagavan Ramana's views on free will vis-a-vis pre-determination
are so astounding that it behoves us to explore the issue.  According
to Bhagavan Ramana, at the level of an ordinary person [ajnani],
individuals from birth to death, will experience a series of pre-ordained activities and experiences, all of which are the consequences of previous acts and thoughts.  The only freedom which exists, if one
does, is to realize that, in actuality, no one is acting and no one is
experiencing.  If the Self is realized, then the words 'freedom' and 'predestination' lose all value, for, the Self neither acts nor experiences, is neither free nor bound.  For the Self, "nothing has ever happened,"  and thus all words and concepts lose their meaning.

Are human beings victims of an inescapable fate, or do we really have the power to create our own destiny?  That is the age-old question,
that has plagued philosophers, thologians, and even the common
person on the street.  According to Bhagavan Ramana, the question of free will or pre-determination does at all arise from the point of view of non-duality.  Individuality itself is illusory.  However, so long as one imagines that one has a separate individuality, so long does
one imagine that one has or does not have free will.

Let us now see two quotes from Arthur Osborne.

1. Bhagavan Ramana was uncompromising in His teaching that
whatever is to happen will happen, while at the same time, He tuaght that whatever happnes is due to 'prarabdha', a man's balance sheet
of destiny  acting according to so rigorous a law of cause and effect that even the word "justice" seems too sentimental to express it.
He refused even to be entangled in a discussion on free will and pre-
destination, for such theories, although contradictory on the mental
plane, may both reflect aspects of truth.  He would say:  "Find out who it is who is predestined or has free will."

[Ramana Maharshi and the Path of Self Knowledge, Arthur Osborne.
Ch.5.]

2. Actually, however, the question of freewill or predestination does
not arise at all from the point of view of non-duality.  It is as though
a group of people who had never heard of a radio were to stand
around a wireless set arguing whether the man in the box has to sing
what the transmitting station tells him or whether he can change parts of the song!  The answer is that there is no man in the box and therefore the question does not arise.  Therefore, Bhagavan Ramana's usual response to the question would be to bid the questioner to find out who it is that has free will or predestination.

[The Teachings of Sri Ramana Maharshi in His Own Words. Arthur Osborne. Ch.11]

(Source: As indicated in the beginning.)

Arunachala Siva.