Author Topic: Free Will - John Grimes - Mountain Path, Oct. - Dec. 2008.  (Read 18478 times)

Subramanian.R

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Sri Ramana's view on free will vis-a-vis  predetermination are so astounding that it behoves us to explore the issue. 
According to Sri Ramana, at the level of an ordinary person, (ajnani), individuals, from birth to death, will experience a
series of preordained 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, theologians, and even the common person on the street.  According to
Sri Ramana, the question of free will or predetermination does not 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.

contd.,

Arunachala Siva.                   

deepa

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Re: Free Will - John Grimes - Mountain Path, Oct. - Dec. 2008.
« Reply #1 on: May 11, 2013, 10:39:15 PM »

Dear Subramanian-sir,
This is somewhat confusing in day-to-day life. If interpreted wrongly, it can lead to inaction and laziness :(

I do believe that our destiny is a combination of our prarabdha and our agami karmas, so we do need to act in a selfless manner (ishawarpitham na ichchaya kritham, chiththa shodhakam mukthi sadhakam)

In your post and some of the other posts, many views are given from point of view of a gnani. When we reach that level, we will know crystal-clear that no one is acting.

For me, that is still theoretical knowledge. In my current role/life, I still have to function through my ego using my BMI. The fact is all of us are getting a desire to act, and proceed to use our BMI to act. Even posting in this thread is driven by our ego :)

From what I understand, we need to act on our sankalpa to act which comes from a selfless state out of a calm mind. Right now, most f us act only based on our raga/dveshas.

It is because of all this confusion that Kanchi periyava (and BG) advises us to focus on conducting swadharma believing us to be an instrument.
Deepa

sanjaya_ganesh

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Re: Free Will - John Grimes - Mountain Path, Oct. - Dec. 2008.
« Reply #2 on: May 12, 2013, 07:48:13 AM »
Dear Deepa

Quote
When we reach that level, we will know crystal-clear that no one is acting

The fundamental problem for all of us lies in this need to "reach that level" :) - there is no level to reach. All we need to do is accept that there is no level to reach. As long as we try to reach a level - we will only make it more confusing and miserable. I am not denying what you are saying as differing view points. But my point is that Self is already not acting. We just need to do vichaara and see whom we are referring as "We" and 'I" in all these sentences. That is all is needed.

There is no harm in conducting swadarma considering us as "instrument" as long as it leads us to the fact that there is no instrument and no doer. Else ego finds it very easy to take solace in the fact that I am an instrument and so can do what comes to my mind. The fundamental nature of self enquiry is to negate this - shift this ego / body centric I to the real I - "Who am I?".

-Sanjay.
« Last Edit: May 12, 2013, 07:53:24 AM by sanjaya_ganesh »
Salutations to Bhagawan

Subramanian.R

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Re: Free Will - John Grimes - Mountain Path, Oct. - Dec. 2008.
« Reply #3 on: May 12, 2013, 08:00:22 AM »
Dear deepa,

If you totally trust that 'your sankalpa' is only Iswara's Will, you can perform actions with your body, mind and intellect
and such actions will be conducted through the same Iswara's Will.  Sri Bhagavan said:  Nin ishtam, en ishtam.  Your Will
is my will (sankalpa).  Of course this is possible only when you have reached the highest standard of bhakti.  Saint
Tirunavukkarasar said:  Your (Siva's) job is to protect me and my job will be to do 'your work.'

Nin kadan adiyenaiyum thAnguthal; en kadan paNi seithy kidappathe.

The saint said, paNi seithu kidappathe, that is after doing such work, remain restful (leaving the fruits to God).
   
Arunachala siva.,     


deepa

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Re: Free Will - John Grimes - Mountain Path, Oct. - Dec. 2008.
« Reply #4 on: May 12, 2013, 08:29:04 AM »

The fundamental problem for all of us lies in this need to "reach that level" :) - there is no level to reach. All we need to do is accept that there is no level to reach. As long as we try to reach a level - we will only make it more confusing and miserable. I am not denying what you are saying as differing view points. But my point is that Self is already not acting. We just need to do vichaara and see whom we are referring as "We" and 'I" in all these sentences. That is all is needed.

There is no harm in conducting swadarma considering us as "instrument" as long as it leads us to the fact that there is no instrument and no doer. Else ego finds it very easy to take solace in the fact that I am an instrument and so can do what comes to my mind. The fundamental nature of self enquiry is to negate this - shift this ego / body centric I to the real I - "Who am I?".

-Sanjay.

Sanjayji
I have to confess that I am still only operating from a ego level - yes, I am trying to cleanse my ego to be rid of negative thoughts and build chittha-shuddi. This requires conscious effort/contemplation as well as some form of surrender to guru. This contemplation/surrender has become part of me now. Still, self-enquiry for me is still only a theoretical way - even if I sit for 30-40 minutes, all I achieve is some quietness of mind and a short thoughtless state.

Saying there is "nothing to realize" is also only theoretical for me.
So, until I "reach"/realize or whatever you call it, we do need a attitude towards life/work. I am trying to follow the 5 step process per BG chapter 15. Accepting what happens as ishwara prasada, surrender to God/Guru, expanding love beyond family, nishkama/paropakara karma, etc. 

Subramanian-ji, I agree with you. With guru in mind, the sankalpa comes automatically. I only pray that I continue this every second of life.
Deepa

Subramanian.R

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Re: Free Will - John Grimes - Mountain Path, Oct. - Dec. 2008.
« Reply #5 on: May 12, 2013, 09:48:08 AM »

continues....

To set the stage, look at two quotes from Arthur Osborne:

Sri Bhagavan was uncompromising in His teaching that whatever is to happen will happen, while at the same time, He
taught that whatever happens 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 ever to be
entangled in a discussion on free will and predestination, 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).

Actually, however, the question of free will 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  to or whether he can change parts of the songs.  The answer is
that there is no man in the box and therefore the question itself does not arise.  Similarly, the answer to the question whether
the ego has free will or not is that there is no ego and therefore the question does not arise.  Therefore, Sri Bhagavan'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, Ch. 1).

Ok. But what about at the level of individuality -- what happens there, where ordinary individuals live and experience the
world?  What are we to make of Ramana's own words in the light of a person's everyday experience of cause and effect
in the physical world?

Arthur Osborne himself asked Sri Ramana:

'Are only important events in a man's life such as his main occupation or profession, predetermined, or are trifling acts also,
such as taking a cup of water or moving from one part of the room to another?'  Sri Ramana replied:  'Everything is predetermined.'
Osborne said, 'Then what responsibility, what free will has man?'  Sri Ramana replied, 'Why does the body come into existence?
It is designed for various things that are marked out for it in this life..... As for freedom, a man is always free not to identify
himself with the body and not to be affected by the pleasures and pains consequent on its activities.'  (ibid. Ch. 2).

On another occasion, in a remarkably similar manner, Sri Ramana was asked, 'I can understand that the outstanding events
in a man's life such as his country, nationality, family, career or profession, marriage, death etc., are all predestined by karma,
but can it be that all the details of his life, down to the minutest, have already been predetermined?  Now, for instance, I put
this fan that is in my hand down on the floor here.  Can it be that it was already decided that on such and such a day, at
such and such a hour., I should move the fan like this and put it down here?'  Sri Ramana replied, 'Certainly.  Whatever this
body is to do and whatever experiences it is to pass through was already decided when it came into existence. '  (Day by
Day with Bhagavan by Devaraja Mudaliar).

contd.,

Arunachala Siva.       
                           

atmavichar100

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Re: Free Will - John Grimes - Mountain Path, Oct. - Dec. 2008.
« Reply #6 on: May 12, 2013, 10:03:32 AM »
Quote
I have to confess that I am still only operating from a ego level - yes, I am trying to cleanse my ego to be rid of negative thoughts and build chittha-shuddi. This requires conscious effort/contemplation as well as some form of surrender to guru. This contemplation/surrender has become part of me now. Still, self-enquiry for me is still only a theoretical way - even if I sit for 30-40 minutes, all I achieve is some quietness of mind and a short thoughtless state.

Deepaji

All we can do is to bring in more amount of Sattva in to our lives through various forms of Sadhana like Japa , Parayana , Puja , Study of scriptures , Satsangha , control of diet etc .Rest is grace of God and Guru to take us to the next stage .
However many holy words you read, however many you speak, what good will they do you if you do not act on upon them? - Buddha

Anand

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Re: Free Will - John Grimes - Mountain Path, Oct. - Dec. 2008.
« Reply #7 on: May 12, 2013, 04:28:13 PM »
So Sir,
Subramanian Sir.Please help to summarise this as under .(pl modify or add if anything more needs to be added).
.Everything truly is predesitined.:
.Hence there is no point in being agitated over anything since everything is in line with the divine will.
.Earlier this awareness was not available to us but with this awareness we should use it to be at peace - an aid to self enquiry.
.However though everything is predestined since we do not know upfront what is our future,we continue to act as if we have free will but with the knowledge at the back of our mind that ultimately we will be putting into action what is already the divine will.
Is that it ?
THanks and Regards,
Anand .
.
Sundaram Anand

Subramanian.R

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Re: Free Will - John Grimes - Mountain Path, Oct. - Dec. 2008.
« Reply #8 on: May 12, 2013, 04:39:20 PM »
Dear Anand,

Everything is predestined.  There is no free will for human beings.  If one has to overcome the predestiny, one should only
find out for whom these discussions are there and realize that it is ego which speaks about it.  So kill the ego and realize the
Self.  Then there is neither destiny nor free will but only the Self, the one without a second.

Arunachala Siva.   

Subramanian.R

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Re: Free Will - John Grimes - Mountain Path, Oct. - Dec. 2008.
« Reply #9 on: May 12, 2013, 05:10:44 PM »
Dear Deepa, Ananda Sundaram, Sanjaya Ganesh and atmavichar,

Sri Bhagavan has succinctly given the answer to this question.  He says in Verse 19 of Ulladu Napadu: 

The debate, 'Does the free will prevail or fate?' is only for those who do not know the root of both.  Those who have
known the Self, the common source of both free will and fate, have passed beyond them both and will not return to them.

(Tr. Prof. K. Swaminathan)

Arunachala Siva.   

sanjaya_ganesh

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Re: Free Will - John Grimes - Mountain Path, Oct. - Dec. 2008.
« Reply #10 on: May 12, 2013, 08:55:04 PM »
Subramanian sir

Yes :) and this is also known as typical Brahmastra of Bhagawan. Enquire the root.

Sanjay
Salutations to Bhagawan

Subramanian.R

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Re: Free Will - John Grimes - Mountain Path, Oct. - Dec. 2008.
« Reply #11 on: May 13, 2013, 09:26:56 AM »

continues......

Finally, there is Sri Ramana's reply to His Mother when she came to visit Him in Tiruvannamalai for the first time.  She had
come in the hope of taking Him back to Madurai:

'The Creator, remaining everywhere, makes each one play his role in life according to their past deeds (prarabdha karma).
Whatever  not destined to happen will not happen, --- try how hard you may.  Whatever is destined to happen, will happen,
do what you may to stop it.  This is certain.  Therefore, the best course is for one to remain silent.'
(Bhagavan Ramana and Mother)

So what is one to make of this?  Sri Ramana in His own words, from the empirical perspective, seems to uphold a doctrine
of predetermination which, on the face of it, seems almost shocking so counter intuitive, rather disconcerting and astounding
in its total thoroughness. 'All the activities that the body is to go through are determined when it first comes into existence. It
does not rest with you to accept or reject them.  The only freedom you have is to turn your mind inward and renounce activities
there.'  (Day by Day with Bhagavan, Devaraja Mudaliar).

The consequences of this are not lost on any intelligent person.  One's next question becomes, if this is the case, then what
responsibility does a person have?  Where is the scope for bettering oneself, let alone for liberation?  To  this, Sri Ramana
replied:  'Why does the body come into existence?  It is designed for the various things that are marked out for it in this
life.'  (ibid. ).

Then again, on  a different occasion, to a questioner with perhaps different needs, Sri Ramana replied:  'Free will exists
together with the individuality.  As long as the individuality lasts, so long is there free will.  All the scriptures are based on
this fact, and advise directing the free will in the right channel.  Find out who it is who has free will or predestination and
abide in that state.  Then both are transcended.  That is the only purpose in discussing these questions.  To whom do such
questions present themselves?  Discover that and be at peace.  (The Teachings of Sri Ramana Maharshi in His Own Words).

There appears to be no contradiction here.  According to Sri Ramana, individuality has only an illusory existence.  However,
as long as a person imagines that he or she has a separate individuality, so long do they also imagine they have free will.
These two, individuality and free will exist together inexorably and inevitably.

contd.,

Arunachala Siva.               

sanjaya_ganesh

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Re: Free Will - John Grimes - Mountain Path, Oct. - Dec. 2008.
« Reply #12 on: May 13, 2013, 09:53:02 AM »
Quote
'The Creator, remaining everywhere, makes each one play his role in life according to their past deeds (prarabdha karma).
Whatever  not destined to happen will not happen, --- try how hard you may.  Whatever is destined to happen, will happen,
do what you may to stop it.  This is certain.  Therefore, the best course is for one to remain silent.'
(Bhagavan Ramana and Mother)

I also heard in some satsang (not sure it was Nochur Acharya or somewhere else) that this was the first sentence in the form of Upadesha that Bhagawan spoke after years in Samadhi - and so is considered his foremost Upadesha among all - this from Bhagawan to his mother.

-Sanjay
Salutations to Bhagawan

Subramanian.R

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Re: Free Will - John Grimes - Mountain Path, Oct. - Dec. 2008.
« Reply #13 on: May 13, 2013, 09:59:32 AM »
Dear Sanjaya,

Yes. When Mother Azhagamma came to Tiruvannamalai for the first time, (Her Liberation Day, Maha Puja falls on 2.06.2013),
Sri Bhagavan gave this upadesa to her.  She had to return home disappointed.  Only during her fourth visit, when her eldest
son Nagasami had also died and she was desolate, Sri Bhagavan agreed for her stay with Him permanently.

Arunachala Siva.   

Subramanian.R

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Re: Free Will - John Grimes - Mountain Path, Oct. - Dec. 2008.
« Reply #14 on: May 14, 2013, 10:28:49 AM »

continues......

Stated differently, the problem of free will, according to theologians, places God, the Creator, between the horns of
dilemma. If God gave human beings free will, then God is neither omnipotent nor omniscient.  If humans have free will,
then God does not know what will happen because what happens will depend on the free will of what people decide.
God will not have control of everything, because humans will have the power to change things.  On the other hand, if
God is omniscient and omnipotent and does control everything, while humans have no free will or possibility to do things
other than as they happen, then such a God is unbelievably cruel and capricious.  People are advised by sages and
scriptures to be good; yet, if they have no ability to change their fate, then that is just cruel.

For example, in a movie that has been filmed, each actor plays his or her part and that part is written out beforehand and
cannot be changed after the film is made.  Each actor plays a role and yet remains unaffected by their actions, because they
know it is a role that they play.  When an actor is born or dies on the screen, the person playing the role is neither born or dies.
When fire burns or water wets, the screen remains unaffected.  Or again for example, if one acts a part in a play, the whole
part is written beforehand and one acts faithfully, whether one is Caesar who is stabbed by Brutus who stabs.  The actor is
unaffected by events on the stage because he is playing a role and not 'real'. 

In the same way, that person who realizes his identity with the deathless Self, his part on the human stage without fear or
anxiety, hope or regret, not being touched by the part played.  If one were to ask what reality one has when all one's actions
are determined, it would lead only to the question: Who, then, am I?  If the ego that thinks it and makes distinctions is not real,
and yet I know that I exist, what is the reality in me?  This is but a preparatory, mental version of the Quest that Sri Ramana
prescribed, but it is an excellent preparation for the real Quest.  'Others are not responsible for what happens to us.  They
are only instruments of what would happen to us some way or other,'  (Conscious Immortality - Paul Brunton and Munagala
Venkataramiah.)

concluded.

Arunachala Siva,