Fate and Freewill –Part I

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Article written By Santhanam Nagarjaan

Article No.1446; Dated 29th November 2014.

Is it Fate or Free will? Which determines our life?
If it is fate, then we need not work at all.
Every thing will happen according to the fate.
If everything is according to freewill and effort, why one, worthy in all respects fails in his/her efforts; others who are not at all worthy in very many respects are successful in all aspects of life.

In this series, we are going to analyze Fate and Freewill.

Readers are invited to post their views without hesitation for a healthy debate.
There is an interesting incident in the life of the great seer Ramana Maharishi.
One Mrs. P.C.Desai met Ramana Maharishi on 3-1-1946 and asked a question on freewill.

Quoting Bhagavat Gita, she asked Ramana maharishi, “If (as Arjuna was told) there is a certain work destined to be done by each and we shall eventually do it however much we do not wish to do it or refuse to do it, is there any free will?”

Ramana maharishi replied, “It is true that the work meant to be done by us will be done by us. But it is open to us to be free from the joys or pains, pleasant or unpleasant consequences of the work, by not identifying ourselves with the body or that which does the work. If you realize your true nature and know that it is not you that do any work, you will be unaffected by the consequences of whatever work the body may be engaged in according to destiny or past karma or divine plan, however you may call it. You are always free and there is no limitation of that freedom”.

From His reply we come to the conclusion that freewill can overcome destiny by not identifying ourselves with the body.

We will analyze the Fate and Free will in the next article in depth.

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Fate and Free will – Part II

By Santhanam Nagarajan

Devaraja Mudaliar, an ardent devotee of Ramana maharishi (on 3-1-1946) asked him, “Are only important events in man’s life, such as his main occupation or profession, predetermined, or are trifling acts in his life, such as taking a cup of water or moving from one place in the room to another, also predetermined?”
Bhagavan Ramana replied, “Yes”, everything is predetermined.”

“Then what responsibility, what free will has man?” asked the devotee.
Bhagavan replied,” What for then does the body come into existence? It is destined for doing the various things marked out for execution in this life. The whole programme is chalked out (Not an atom moves except by His Will) expresses the same truth, whether you say, Does not move except by His Will or Does not move except by karma.

As for freedom for man, he is always free not to identify himself with the body and not to be affected by the pleasures or pains consequent on the body’s activities.

A devotee by name Khanna asked Ramana (on 28-6-1946), “Is there destiny? And if what is destined to happen will happen is there any use in prayer or effort or should we just remain idle?”

Bhagavan Ramana replied,” There are two ways, to conquer destiny or be independent of it. One is to enquire for whom is this destiny and discover that only the ego is bound by destiny and not the Self, and that the ego is non-existent. The other way is to kill the ego completely surrendering to the Lord, by realizing one’s helplessness and saying all the time : ‘Not I but Thou,oh Lord!’, and giving up all sense of ‘I’ and ‘mine’ and leaving it to the Lord to do what he likes with you. Surrender can never be regarded as complete so long as the devotee wants this or that from the Lord. True Surrender is love of God for the sake of love and nothing else, not even for the sake of salvation. In other words, complete effacement of the ego is necessary to conquer destiny, whether you achieve this effacement through Self-enquiry or through Bhathi-marga meaning the path of Devotion.

Khanna asked the seer whether our prayers are granted.
Bhagavan replied,” Yes, they are granted. No thought will go in vain. Every thought will produce its effect some time or other. Thought-force will never go in vain.”

Ramana’s explanation regarding fate, freewill, prayer and thought power are wonderful!

The power of prayer and thought power has never been explained so beautifully.
But still we want to know further about fate and free will.

There are many more incidents in the lives of the great. Let us see one by one in the future articles.

This series is written by my brother S Nagarajan: swami

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