Author Topic: Free Will - John Grimes - Mountain Path, Oct. - Dec. 2008.  (Read 40922 times)

sanjaya_ganesh

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Re: Free Will - John Grimes - Mountain Path, Oct. - Dec. 2008.
« Reply #15 on: May 14, 2013, 02:08:32 PM »
This is a very good article. In Gita, Chapter 18 Sloka 63 Bhagawan says

Idi they Jnanamakyatam Guhyat Guhyataram Maya
Vimrishaitadaseshana Yadechasi Tada Kuru


this can roughly be translated as

You have been advised the most esoteric knowledge and its various ways. Apply your mind and see for yourself whether it is agreeable. Thereafter do what you feel like.

Just curious - if there is no free will - then why does Bhagawan say "Yadechasi Tada Kuru" (Do as you will / as you please) ? I thought about it for sometime. Yes - there is no free will just as Sri Ramana also says. Events are pre-destined, but our participation in them is our free-will! In other words, Events are pre-destined, but our attitude towards them is our free-will. Would love to hear thoughts from others in the light of this Gita verse.

Sanjay
« Last Edit: May 14, 2013, 02:10:25 PM by sanjaya_ganesh »
Salutations to Bhagawan

latha

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Re: Free Will - John Grimes - Mountain Path, Oct. - Dec. 2008.
« Reply #16 on: May 14, 2013, 07:55:24 PM »
Sanjayji,

"Events are pre-destined, but our attitude towards them is our free-will."

I used to believe this until recently but now I question the free-will in our attitude also. It is probably the grace of God/Guru that manifests as our will to face a situation with equanimity?

Scriptures teach us that we are not the "doer" then why should we believe that we are executing free-will? Most important aspect of Bhagavan's teachings is self-enquiry where we are asked to pay attention to who am I or who thinks they are doing. Being the witness or paying attention seems to be more important than inflating our ego further by believing it has free-will. 

Sanjayji and Friends please excuse my ranting but writing these thoughts helped me.

Om Namo Bhagavate Sri Ramanaya


Subramanian.R

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Re: Free Will - John Grimes - Mountain Path, Oct. - Dec. 2008.
« Reply #17 on: May 14, 2013, 08:15:22 PM »
Dear latha,

There is no free will at all for human beings.  If someone acts thinking he is acting as per his free will, such actions are also
predestined by God.  Both destiny and fate can be transcended only by a Brahma Jnani.  When Mother Azhgamma took ill
during one of her visits, Sri Bhagavan prayed to Arunachala for her recovery. She did recover. And she got liberation through
her son later in 1922.  Only Siva bodaham or Atma Jnanam can ward off the fate.  The story of Markandeya is a proof for this.

Arunachala Siva.   

Hari

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Re: Free Will - John Grimes - Mountain Path, Oct. - Dec. 2008.
« Reply #18 on: May 14, 2013, 08:33:01 PM »
Dear latha,

There is no free will at all for human beings.  If someone acts thinking he is acting as per his free will, such actions are also
predestined by God.  Both destiny and fate can be transcended only by a Brahma Jnani.  When Mother Azhgamma took ill
during one of her visits, Sri Bhagavan prayed to Arunachala for her recovery. She did recover. And she got liberation through
her son later in 1922.  Only Siva bodaham or Atma Jnanam can ward off the fate.  The story of Markandeya is a proof for this.

Arunachala Siva.   

There is no free will for human beings just as there is no destiny. This is according to Supreme Truth. But relatively speaking free will and destiny are existent. If it was not so then theory of karma is completely meaningless. If there is no free will then it is God who makes you do Self-inquiry. And this makes God unfair because He makes you do the good job called "Atma vichara" but He makes one of the friends on my street to be drunkard. This is very dangerous and God-humiliating theory which I cannot accept.
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Nagaraj

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Re: Free Will - John Grimes - Mountain Path, Oct. - Dec. 2008.
« Reply #19 on: May 14, 2013, 09:28:37 PM »
'i have free will'

'i do not have freewill'

Both are just the ramblings of our mind that is really the 'maya'

For our contemplation for such an above context, Bhagavan would ask where were these questions during deep sleep?

--
॥ शांतमात्मनि तिष्ट ॥
Remain quietly in the Self.
~ Vasishta

Hari

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Re: Free Will - John Grimes - Mountain Path, Oct. - Dec. 2008.
« Reply #20 on: May 14, 2013, 09:34:33 PM »
'i have free will'

'i do not have freewill'

Both are just the ramblings of our mind that is really the 'maya'

For our contemplation for such an above context, Bhagavan would ask where were these questions during deep sleep?

--

Exactly! :)
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Nagaraj

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Re: Free Will - John Grimes - Mountain Path, Oct. - Dec. 2008.
« Reply #21 on: May 14, 2013, 09:41:26 PM »
Additionally, the nature of truth is such bewilderment that all of the following are true at their respective seats:

1 We truly have freewill to pursue divinity!
2 We truly do not have any freewill at all. We even only worship Him at His will!
3 Truth is beyond both - we having freewill and we not having any freewill!
And
4 Truth is even beyond the thurd point!

Aren't we stumped? :-)

If we are stumped; then all is well :-)

--
॥ शांतमात्मनि तिष्ट ॥
Remain quietly in the Self.
~ Vasishta

latha

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Re: Free Will - John Grimes - Mountain Path, Oct. - Dec. 2008.
« Reply #22 on: May 14, 2013, 09:43:37 PM »
Dear Hariji,

I am reminded of a story shared by Bhagavan. A poor man had a dream in which he was robbed of all his riches, he started shouting for help to catch the robber. Bhagavan asked if his friend sitting awake next to him should try to catch the robber or wake his friend from his dream. Bhagavan and scriptures are teaching us that this life is like a long dream. Instead of trying to understand the dream or fix the problems in the dream we just need to wake up from it.

As Nagarajji mentioned, in deep sleep there aren't any problems. God/Guru is teaching us to experience that state even when we are awake.

Om Namo Bhagavate Sri Ramanaya


Ravi.N

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Re: Free Will - John Grimes - Mountain Path, Oct. - Dec. 2008.
« Reply #23 on: January 14, 2016, 03:41:16 PM »
Friends,
I thought it would be a good idea to revisit this 'Freewill vs Destiny' discussion as I find that there is a good deal of confusion in understanding Sri Bhagavan's references(to the best of what i know,We do not find anything directly bearing on this from Sri Bhagavan's teachings but is more based on the interactions he had with other devotees-namely what he told his mother when she asked him to return home  and what he told Devaraja Mudaliar in 'Day by Day with Bhagavan').

The Fundamental question that any seeker may have to be clear is this:Do I exercise my intellect and will to better myself(be it in any manner) or Do I just let things pass by and take things as they come(We need to be aware that this 'Taking' as it comes is also a choice!).

I will set the tone with a wonderful parable of Sri Ramakrishna:

Parable of the "elephant God"
"Let me tell you a story. In a forest there lived a holy man who had many disciples. One day he taught them to see God in all beings and, knowing this, to bow low before them all.
A disciple went to the forest to gather wood for the sacrificial fire. Suddenly he heard an outcry: 'Get out of the way! A mad elephant is coming!' All but the disciple of the holy man took to their heels. He reasoned that the elephant was also God in another form. Then why should he run away from it? He stood still, bowed before the animal, and began to sing its praises. The mahut of the elephant was shouting: 'Run away! Run away!' But the disciple didn't move. The animal seized him with its trunk, cast him to one side, and went on its way. Hurt and bruised, the disciple lay unconscious on the ground. Hearing what had happened, his teacher and his brother disciples came to him and carried him to the hermitage. With the help of some medicine he soon regained consciousness. Someone asked him, 'You knew the elephant was coming - why didn't you leave the place?' 'But', he said, 'our teacher has told us that God Himself has taken all these forms, of animals as well as men. Therefore, thinking it was only the elephant God that was coming, I didn't run away.' At this the teacher said: 'Yes, my child, it is true that the elephant God was coming; but the mahut God forbade you to stay there. Since all are manifestations of God, why didn't you trust the mahut's words? You should have heeded the words of the mahut God.'
(Laughter)

Do we say along with the disciple that 'everything is God and the Elephant is also God' and let things take their course?Or Do we take the teacher's word that the 'Mahut is also God' and that one should have listened to him and run away from the scene?

We clearly had the choice to 'Stay put' (like what  the disciple did) or listened to the Mahut and 'run away' as advised by the 'Mahut God' as later on endorsed by the 'teacher'.

We also need to  clearly understand that 'Stay Put' is not what Sri Bhagavan advises in either of his conversations (with his mother or Devaraja Mudaliar) when he says:

"Therefore, the best course is for one to remain silent".

The Human mind mistakes this to mean 'Stay put' which is far removed from 'remaining silent'.If this 'remain Silent' which is the  Best course is not at one's disposal,one has to take recourse to less than 'Best' and that is consult others wiser and exercise the Intellect.In any case ,nothing can be worse than a fatalistic attitude that 'One can do nothing'.Sri Bhagavan never meant this.

A clear understanding of the simple yet wonderful parable of Sri Ramakrishna will set at nought whatever doubts one may have and is well worth pondering.

Namaskar

Ravi.N

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Re: Free Will - John Grimes - Mountain Path, Oct. - Dec. 2008.
« Reply #24 on: January 14, 2016, 03:52:36 PM »
Friends,
Another excerpt from The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna:

Free will and God's will
VAIDYANATH: "Sir, I have a doubt. People speak of free will. They say that a man can do either good or evil according to his will. Is it true? Are we really free to do whatever we like?"
MASTER: "Everything depends on the will of God. The world is His play. He has created all these different things-great and small, strong and weak, good and bad, virtuous and vicious. This is all His maya, His sport. You must have observed that all the trees in a garden are not of the same kind.
"As long as a man has not realized God, he thinks he is free. It is God Himself who keeps this error in man. Otherwise sin would have multiplied. Man would not have been afraid of sin, and there would have been no punishment for it.
"But do you know the attitude of one who has realized God? He feels: 'I am the machine, and Thou, O Lord, art the Operator. I am the house and Thou art the Indweller. I am the chariot and Thou art the Driver. I move as Thou movest me; I speak as Thou makest me speak.'
(To Vaidyanath): "It is not good to argue. Isn't that so?"
VAIDYANATH: "Yes, sir. The desire to argue disappears when a man attains wisdom."
The Master, out of his stock of a dozen English words, said, "Thank you!" in the most charming way, and all laughed.

Sadhak

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Re: Free Will - John Grimes - Mountain Path, Oct. - Dec. 2008.
« Reply #25 on: January 15, 2016, 12:16:34 PM »
"The Fundamental question that any seeker may have to be clear is this:Do I exercise my intellect and will to better myself(be it in any manner) or Do I just let things pass by and take things as they come(We need to be aware that this 'Taking' as it comes is also a choice!)."

I am afraid neither position has anything to do with Bhagavan's teachings (or the teachings of other sages). So such a seeker is off track. 

The essence of the teachings is that there is no doer. So long as there is a doer, he/she may indeed be swaying between the two positions you have described. Either 'do I exercise MY intellect to achieve something', or 'do I remain without doing anything outwardly'.  Clearly, there is a decision maker, the 'I', who is deciding between the two options driven by the desire for better results (spiritually).

Surrender is not a decision that is planned and executed by the ego/mind. It is not an achievement of the ego.  On the contrary, it is the death of the ego. The ego cannot surrender. When somebody says 'I have surrendered' we can rest assured that the ego is alive and well.




Ravi.N

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Re: Free Will - John Grimes - Mountain Path, Oct. - Dec. 2008.
« Reply #26 on: January 15, 2016, 01:30:09 PM »
Sadhak,

Quote
Clearly, there is a decision maker, the 'I', who is deciding between the two options driven by the desire for better results (spiritually).

Yes,and this is what I have also said-as long as there is the 'I' sense,we have to put our choice on the side of 'Sreyas' as opposed to 'preyas' as the kathopanishad says.As long as one is a 'seeker' of any sort(I mean a Sadhak),one has to make the choices ,as long as one is not in choiceless awareness as JK says.The moment we are in choiceless awareness,we are free from having to make a choice(as there is no 'doer' ) but until then,we have to make the choice that is consonant with our spiritual welfare.One cannot prematurely assume that there is no 'doer' and hence no choice to be made.

Assuredly 'Surrender ' is not a decision but without taking the necessary steps,it will not come about.We have to exercise our choice to take the necessary steps!
As a step,Lord Sri Krishna in the Gita advises to leave the Fruit of the action to God(meaning take it as it comes)but clearly says that one is empowered to 'act' (Karmanye vadhikaraste Ma Phaleshu Kadachana, Ma Karmaphalaheturbhu rma Te Sangostvakarmani)-This is the first step to surrender(JK may say that there are no steps!)-this is the way the mind gets freed from likes-dislikes,elation-disappointment and the pairs of opposites.It cannot be done by an abandonment of action or effort.

The issue that we are discussing is this-Do we just stop exercising our intellect and judgement to better ourselves (in whatever way) as results are already predetermined or do  we work towards improving our lot and yet have the attitude and composure to accept whatever the outcome.

Let me put some concrete question so that we do not meander in a lotus eating world:
1.Do we ask our children to study and do their Best or do we just leave it saying  that the scores that they are going to obtain is already predetermined,so why bother them with studies?
Like the above,corresponding to one's station in Life,one may be required to make many choices/Decisions-Do we mean to say that on account of predetermination,we do not need to make those choices or decisions,since eventually what is destined to happen is going to happen?

Please note that we are not discussing the essence of Sri Bhagavan's teaching:The essence of the teachings is that there is no doer..I have already posted excerpt from The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna regarding this.

Namaskar

Sadhak

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Re: Free Will - John Grimes - Mountain Path, Oct. - Dec. 2008.
« Reply #27 on: January 16, 2016, 07:19:49 AM »
"As long as one is a 'seeker' of any sort(I mean a Sadhak),one has to make the choices ".

The point is that it hardly matters whether one is a 'sadhak' or not. People both inside and outside the ashram are making choices daily on every issue in order to gain something. It is unfortunate if some of us who have read a few so called spiritual books begin to think we are somehow different from the others.


"Assuredly 'Surrender ' is not a decision but without taking the necessary steps,it will not come about.We have to exercise our choice to take the necessary steps!

This is a contradiction in terms. Necessary steps mean decision making, and so it means that surrender is the outcome of a planned decision. Even otherwise, once the ego senses that it is on the 'right' path and taking the 'correct steps' it only grows bigger and stronger.


"The issue that we are discussing is this-Do we just stop exercising our intellect and judgement to better ourselves (in whatever way) as results are already predetermined or do  we work towards improving our lot and yet have the attitude and composure to accept whatever the outcome."

These issues arise when the intellect runs amok. The fact is that situations and circumstances will force us to act differently no matter how we had planned. For example,  I may have said to myself 'everything is predetermined and so I will stop making effort hereafter'. Then a situation must arise where this vow is shattered. Then (and only then) do I realize that it is the Divine Will that is driving the world and not my silly pre-determined vows to either act or not act. Also if a man already has the composure to accept any outcome, he would not mind whether he acts or not and whatever outcome might follow in either case.


So someone who is a bit serious realizes that whether he acts or does not act, it is all due to the operation of divine will. May be such a person could be called a sadhak.

Ravi.N

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Re: Free Will - John Grimes - Mountain Path, Oct. - Dec. 2008.
« Reply #28 on: January 16, 2016, 07:37:35 AM »
Sadhak,
I gather that my posts did not make any sense to you.Please ignore it.
Namaskar

Ravi.N

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Re: Free Will - John Grimes - Mountain Path, Oct. - Dec. 2008.
« Reply #29 on: January 16, 2016, 07:57:30 AM »
Friends,
Some of the question raised by Sadhak may be worth pondering about to gain further clarity.
Quote
The point is that it hardly matters whether one is a 'sadhak' or not. People both inside and outside the ashram are making choices daily on every issue in order to gain something. It is unfortunate if some of us who have read a few so called spiritual books begin to think we are somehow different from the others.

All people have to make Choices but a Sadhak is one who is concerned about making a wise choice and takes the trouble to get it right -it does not matter whether he is inside the ashram or outside-whether he calls himself a 'sadhak' or a 'layman'.
A wise choice is one which leads one to peace and happiness although it may discomfit one in the short term.

Quote
This is a contradiction in terms. Necessary steps mean decision making, and so it means that surrender is the outcome of a planned decision.
No,one should differentiate between 'necessary' and 'Sufficient' condition.Without the necessary Condition,surrender cannot come about.The Steps alone are not sufficient but they are necessary.

Quote
The fact is that situations and circumstances will force us to act differently no matter how we had planned.
This is where prior preparation helps.An ordinary man will let his primitive instincts take over whereas a 'Sadhak' will ensure that better sense prevails.An ordinary person will react but a Sadhak will 'act' wisely.
Please note that no 'Plan' is involved in making a 'wise choice'.Only good sense has to prevail.

Quote
So someone who is a bit serious realizes that whether he acts or does not act, it is all due to the operation of divine will. May be such a person could be called a sadhak.
The Parable of the "Elephant God" is meant for such 'Sadhaks'.This is the reason that I have posted it.

Namaskar
« Last Edit: January 16, 2016, 08:14:42 AM by Ravi.N »