How free is our ‘Free Will’?
We all believe that the almighty created many species on this planet earth. Some are herbivorous and some are carnivorous and some being both. There seems to be a strong reason in the cosmic creation for the existence of both and for this norm to prevail. An ecological balance is maintained in the universe. Some species procreate so fast and in such large numbers and if not killed or eaten by other animals or man, it would be a new problem to handle and a disaster for other living beings to survive. For a moment we should keep aside the religious sentiments, compassion towards fellow living beings and take a look at this issue in a very objective manner. If we start showing mercy towards mosquitoes, imagine the calamity we would be in. The almighty could have just created the domesticated and generally herbivorous animals like fish, rabbits, squirrels, hen, cows, buffaloes, ox, elephants, deer, antelope etc., and allowed man to coexist in complete love and harmony with these animals. But there appears to be a reason for the almighty to create the ferocious and totally meat dependent carnivorous animals too. Without being aware themselves, they do contribute significantly to maintain a balance in the universe. Men would not have been able to do it on their own. Of course herbivorous animals also contribute significantly to the ecological balance when they consume unwanted plants, weeds and shrubs which are impediments to overall growth. Farmers too, benefit from such species. It is also believed that the animals by and large are programmed to do certain actions and are not endowed with any “Free Will” to exercise their choice unlike human beings. Human beings are supposed to be endowed with “Free Will” and undoubtedly, this is one significant characteristic which differentiates them from animals. Now, what is “Free Will”? In my understanding “Free Will” as the very words suggest, is an expression of a thought or exercise of an act in an absolutely free manner’ by a person after proper due diligence of the situation before him. In other words, the person committing an act must be one who has the capability to exercise his or her judgment with absolute freeness in his / her mind, in logic, in the reasoning and other faculties which facilitates him or her to take a decision in a manner which does not involve any coercion, limitation or deficiency of any sort hampering or impeding such decision making process or committing of the act. If any of us, for any reason, are in a situation, wherein we are incapable of exercising our Free Will as per above conditions then it can be said that we have not exercised our Free Will. Fate or destiny is another aspect which has intrigued the human mind from time immemorial. This philosophy of human beings guided through a predetermined course in their journey on this planet earth has its share of acceptance and outright rejection. It appears to be the most misinterpreted and misunderstood philosophy of life. Any amount of readings on this subject
Prarabdha Karma and Aagami Karma. Let us also assume for a moment that this person ‘A’. he or she has to deal with it. Hypothetically let us consider a small world inhabited by. We have three types of Karma viz. Even if the second possibility does not occur. These may unfold in this life itself or may get added to the bag of Sanchita for later fructification in future lives. in the absence of ‘A’ not being a victim of natural calamity. Now since death of ‘A’ has to take place at the appointed time. The other person.will seemingly appear to remove the sheet of ignorance covering the mind. Now there are three possibilities of death occurring. The person can use ‘Free Will’ to take away his or her life by committing suicide. Each one of the members in the group might be in different life cycles. There is no escape because the law of Karma is at work. he or she has to meet up with an unnatural death. actions lead to ‘phalas’ (fruits of actions) which fructifies at a point of time not determined by human beings but by the law of Karma itself or by the Almighty or some super power beyond human comprehension. a clarity emerging. tsunami. The general understanding is that whenever it unfolds. floods or an epidemic can eliminate the person. with different backgrounds. The Prarabdha karma is that portion of the Sanchita karma which has fructified and unfolds before a person. 30 or 50. then another person in the group has to use his ‘Free Will’ to bring about the death of the person ‘A”. say he or she is “A”. Let us for a moment also assume that due to certain past bad karma. Again while dealing.e. in this life. new acts may or may not be committed which again will result in new ‘karma phala’ and the cycle continues. someone else’s ‘Free Will’ has to be used to bring about the result. Now let us consider one person from this small population. may be a normal person who
. How does one deal with it? The normal answer is that the person has to use his or her ‘Free Will’ to deal with it. We understand that Karma i. health and so on based on their past karmas. in the absence of ‘A’ not committing suicide. The Sanchita Karma. Some define Karma as the ‘cause and effect relationship’. The Aagami karma is the ‘karma phala’ freshly accumulated due to the present acts.. who commits this act of bringing about the death of ‘A’. The Sanchita Karma is a huge storage containing the fruits (karma phala) – good and bad – of a person’s acts. A lot has been written about this intriguing relationship between “Free Will – Fate – Karma”. economics. Again they may be good or bad. an honorable and virtuous life. It could be anybody in the group. say some arbitrary number. maybe 20. When the fructification happens it might either bring joy or sorrow to the person and he or she has to deal with it in an appropriate manner. If this does not happen. natural calamity like an earthquake. beauty. intelligence. due to his / her past good Karma is leading a good lifestyle. but at the same time slipping back to your original position of doubt and confusion. The third dimension is ‘Karma’ which simply means the ‘thoughts and acts’ of a person itself.
country and across the world. against ‘A’. the results of our own Karmic acts.had no intention or premeditation whatsoever. Anyone subscribing to the above view on “Free Will” could possibly be branded or labeled as a “fatalistic person” or “pessimistic person”. We could also possibly say “Destiny or Fate is real but Belief is a choice”
. That is his Karma. How actually he does this. In those few moments’ calamities of any magnitude can occur. We have come across many such situations in our own lives. ‘A’ is dead as per karmic laws. In a momentary loss of control of his “Free Will”. It could be an accident on the road due to over speeding. human beings and he may be even repenting for the rest of his life. he commits an act resulting in the death of ‘A’. in our state. somebody getting electrocuted while walking on a rainy day. a speeding automobile crashing on innocent bystanders on footpath. The cause could be anything. what matters is the result. more often than not. There is absolutely nothing wrong in those views at all. I say it was not free because. Incidents and examples are innumerous. Can we possibly say that human beings are also programmed to do what they do? To maintain the Fine balance required for a stable human world like the animals in the jungle. The example of death has been dealt here only to drive home the point. to do what he does. There are many types of sufferings human beings undergo for no fault of theirs but mainly due to somebody else’s ‘Free Will’ was not really “free”. In other words the ‘Free Will’ is programmed to carry out the act. The person who caused the death of ‘A’ is tried under the law created by lesser mortals i.e. The point to be considered here is that. either in this life or past life is brought about here by fellow human beings whose ‘Free Will’ is for a moment blurred or temporarily not free as per the definition. there is no premeditated act by that person. a huge ship sinking without trace. is immaterial. it could be in a fit of rage over some issue. It could be an airplane crash causing deaths of hundreds of people. An old dictum says “Death is real but Fear is a choice”.