Hare Krishna!!!

Is everything completely predetermined, or do we have limited freewill?

Is there a combination of freewill & destiny applicable simultaneously in different varying degrees??? And if yes, can we quantify the limited freewill in 10% to 20% or so......

Also, do we have more freewill in spiritual life than in material life or vice versa?

Or is the freewill limited to just a matter of choosing between material and spiritual lifestyle & everything else being predetermined?

The lord also says in Bhagawad Gita (18.57-61) that Arjuna's nature will compel him to fight even if he declines to do can we conclude that all is complete destiny & the only freewill is the level of consciousness that we decide to live our lives through with? i.e., choosing our "State of mind" while carrying out & facing our karmas (Nishkam Karma!  BG:3.7)

Sometimes the scriptures seem to contradict each other.......hence the need for raising this time tested query..........................pls help!

Jai Radhe!!!

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  • Radhanath Swami Maharaj's answer in a 7 minute video:

  • Hariii boool.

    Bg 3.27 — The spirit soul bewildered by the influence of false ego thinks himself the doer of activities that are in actuality carried out by the three modes of material nature. 

    SB 11.22.54-55 — The soul’s material life, his experience of sense gratification, is actually false, O descendant of Daśārha, just like trees’ appearance of quivering when the trees are reflected in agitated water, or like the earth’s appearance of spinning due to one’s spinning his eyes around, or like the world of a fantasy or dream.
    SB 11.22.37 — Lord Kṛṣṇa said: The material mind of men is shaped by the reactions of fruitive work. Along with the five senses, it travels from one material body to another. The spirit soul, although different from this mind, follows it.
    SB 11.23.42 — The brāhmaṇa said: These people are not the cause of my happiness and distress. Neither are the demigods, my own body, the planets, my past work, or time. Rather, it is the mind alone that causes happiness and distress and perpetuates the rotation of material life.
    --We have free will to get out of that illusion.



  • SHRIMAD BHAGAVATA ( 2:10:12 ) “Earth, karma, Time, Nature and Jiva – all are what they are because of His will, and they cease to be when His will is otherwise."

    SHRIMAD BHAGAVATA ( 2:7:50 ) “Thus have I talked to you in brief, dear child, about the Lord who creates the universe by His very thought. Whatever there exists as cause or effect is no other than Shri Hari, although He stands even apart from it.”

    SHRIMAD BHAGAVATA ( 1:6:7 ) “Though desirous of my protection and welfare, she was incapable of protecting even herself, because she was not a free person. See! The whole world is without any freedom. It is like a puppet in the hands of the Lord.”

    SHRIMAD BHAGAVATA ( 3:9:1 ) “The world is indeed subject to the control of its Ruler even as a puppet is controlled by the wire-puller.”

    SHRIMAD BHAGAVATAM ( 10:54:12 ) “As a wooden girl dances according to the desire of the magician, so all these finite selves being solely dependent on God feel pleasure or pain according to His desire.”

    SHRIMAD BHAGAVATA ( 3:9:1 ) “O Lord! After practicing meditation for long, I have at last come to possess some understanding of Thee. This is the common deficiency of all embodied beings, that they have no knowledge of Thee. Nothing exists besides Thee, O All-powerful Being! The many that seem to exist are not really separate from Thee as independent existences.”

  • Hare Krishna! 

    I've got some quotes from the shashtras confirming 100% destiny. They are mentioned below:-

    Please let me know if these can be refuted. 

    BRIHADARANYAKA UPANISHAD ( 3:7:23 ) THE YAJUR VEDA “He is the unseen seer, unheard hearer, unthought thinker, unknown knower. Other than Him, there is no seer. Other than Him, there is no hearer. Other than Him, there is no thinker. Other than Him, there is no knower. This is the inner controller. All else but Him is perishable.” The ultimate consciousness called by the appellation, the Inner Controller, is the real doer in all actions.

    SHRIMAD BHAGAVATAM ( 10:54:12 ) “As a wooden girl dances according to the desire of the magician, so all these finite selves being solely dependent on God feel pleasure or pain according to His desire.”

    BRAHMA-VAIVARTA PURANA (73:94-97) “I happen to be the form of all things. I pervade in all the creatures who also dwell in me. As the fruit remains in a tree and the tree in a fruit, similarly I am the cause of everything. I am myself the cause of all the deeds.” (Krshn to Nanda)

    BRAHMA-VAIVARTA PURANA (94:118) “I am controlled by somebody else like a puppet as the bull is controlled by the person who yokes him, similarly I’m also controlled by the Lord of the universe.” (Udhava to Radha)

    VISHNU PURANA (1:19:44) “All men are toiling to be great; but the destinies of men, and not their own exertions, are the cause of greatness.”

    SHRIMAD BHAGAWAD GEETA ( 3:27 ) THE MAHABHARATA “All actions are being performed by the modes of Prakriti. The fool, whose mind is deluded by egoism, thinks : “I am the doer.”

    SHRIMAD BHAGAVATA ( 3:27:1 ) “The Spirit, though abiding in a material body, remains devoid of doership.”

    BRAHMAVAIVARTA PURANA (PRAKRITI KHANDA - 36:83) “Everything from an insect to Brahmaa is false and a dream. Krshna, who is beyond Prakriti, who is the eternal Param Brahman, alone is true.”

    SHRIMAD BHAGAVATA ( 2:5:14 ) “In reality, O divine sage, there is no substance other than Lord Vasudeva – neither the elements nor karma nor Time nor Svabhava nor the individual soul.”

  • 1.Everything is pre-determined according to Vidhata; but we have the free-will to enter the domain of Krishna from the domain of Brahma!!

    2. When you use freewill effectively according to the scriptures in applying yourself to Krishna Consciousness ; following the spiritual master's will ; the Lord empowers us. The Limited Freewill then becomes a powerful tool to serve the Lord!!

    3. In material life there is no freewill. Freewill becomes stronger as we consciously try avoiding things unfavorable to KCon and applying our interests there and then the mind gains immense strength. The Lord even then empowers one to gide others. Like Srila Prabhupada says ; you become a small guru of sorts by the mercy of Guru and Krishna!!

    4. Your understanding of the Statement of Gita is absoutely right!!

    5. Though the scriptures seem to contradict ; there is absolutely no contradiction there,its a metter of understanding them deeply and applying them in the right context.


  • Hare Krishna Prabhu,

    In response to your question, I would like to remind you some very famous verse of Gita :

      yadä yadä hi dharmasya, glänir bhavati bhärata, abhyutthänam adharmasya, tadätmänaà såjämy aham| (4.7)

     Translation : Whenever and wherever there is a decline in religious practice, O descendant of Bharata, and a predominant rise of irreligion—at that time I descend Myself.

      pariträëäya sädhünäà vinäçäya ca duñkåtäm dharma-saàsthäpanärthäya sambhavämi yuge yuge|| (4.8)

     Translation : In order to deliver the pious and to annihilate the miscreants, as well as to reestablish the principles of religion, I advent Myself millennium after millennium.

    What do you think prabhuji,  Why does lord have to come here and deliver all Pious & annihilate the miscreants?

    According to my understanding, answer is this :

    First of all, We should keep in mind that we are all servants of Lord naturally, But few of us somehow wish to enjoy or fulfill the sense gratification(or may be for another good reason like to guide the Badhdha jiva).

    So to fulfill our desires God created this world and send us here such that we can enjoy here like a King. But he also introduced some Grief such that we can realize our true identity (Soul) and go back to home.

    Just Because of our Free will we can choose this material world or Spiritual world( There is another case in which some elevated soul came down to guide people, E.g, Jesus Christ) .  

    Now in next chapter 11 verse 33 Lord advice to Arjuna : 

       tasmät tvam uttiñöha yaço labhasva jitvä çatrün bhuìkñva räjyaà samåddham mayaivaite nihatäù pürvam eva nimitta- mätraà bhava savya-säcin|| (11.33)

    Translation : 

    Therefore get up and prepare to fight. After conquering your enemies you will
    enjoy a flourishing kingdom. They are already put to death by My arrangement,
    and you, O Savyasäcin, can be but an instrument in the fight.

    Now, Focus this verse. Here you can see that Lord confess that "all plan is already set by me" and ask Arjuna "to be my Instrument" 

    Here we can get one important massage from him is that to select yourself as an Instrument of Lord is your personal choise. ( See the last sentence of translation of 11.33 :  You can be, not You must be an Instrument in this fight.) 

    • Conclusion :

    1. Yes, Destiny of this world is already set by Lord. There is no doubt. 
    2. But Lord gives us the free will to choose his devotion (and become his instrument) or fulfill ur sense gratification. 
    3. So either we can choose his devotion and become his instrument to spread Spirituality ( Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu's desire)  or Choose sense gratification and become the part of Annihilation (Even in that choice we can be liberated!! but in a very bad way :( )   
    4. So we definitely have our own free will. We can choose it for good work or bad work. Choice is ours, and our destiny sets by our Choices accordingly. 

      If I may have created any offences in answering then apology from the heart.

      Hare Krishna.

    • well for me...i don't buy into the offense thing. So speak your mind. In judiasm they said keep the sabbath, and that was a very important tenant. Not because of something mystical but something very simple. God speaks through us. When you have a single day where everyone is off work, they can connect. I can't see my friends half the time because we are all on different schedules, what to say of religious practice and my meditation groups? When we act as one, we are one. So in that theory, things you say have profound effects even if you don't realize it, i can learn from you. Dont apologize. And I love that first verse because its very esoteric and very correct. That instrument is also known as the temple. Build a temple for God to reside in. I read the gita a few times, i am surely no expert on it...or any topic for that matter. Whats important is if it works for you and makes you love deeper and more, at least in my experience that was the heart of the matter. Much love brother.

      • Yes Prabhuji,

        Anything related to Spiritual Progress, we can call it as an Instrument. Either it is temple or Sankirtan or any else.  

  • sorry, my earlier comment was rushed during the morning hours. Not quite in a clear head right then. My understanding of all this and experience is as follows...right or wrong, is as follows. Karma is usually mistaken for a simple cause and reaction. I hurt someones feelings, so i pay for it in this life or the next. But is actually actions taken based on impressions. If i am on a deserted island and never saw or experienced a potato chip. I can never miss the potato chip. When i don't have it I don't care because I do not even know the experience. Anything we experience in life has a chance of forming an impression. It can be imagery, feelings, taste or all the sensations combine. So you then experience the potato chip, try eating just one potato chip a day...most can not. The more we eat the potato chip the stronger the impressions get. They can even get so strong that we only need to hear of, or see a picture of a potato chip and immediately we get a craving. This phenomenon goes to every aspect of life, be it drugs, sex....rock and roll...sorry had to add that or any other thing. This too can include certain positive things...such as mmmm, love for God. Hearing, tasting. I don't need to go further into that. So free will is not present when there is an abundance of impressions that guide your every move. To some degree free will is gained when the impressions no longer have any power over you. There is of course still destiny guided events and the such, but your response now has a choice instead of a reaction. There is a slight degree of free will and a heavy degree of "thy will". And then again, many times those impressions that we so hate and want to get rid of actually lead us toward God and spirituality. There is certainly a heavy degree of pre destination. "meaningful coincidences" can only occur two ways, probably both of which are being utilized. One is by predetermined events...such as one day I screamed in my car God is one and felt exstacy, a car then drove by with the license plate reading "one god". say that was HIGHLY improbable. Second is that your mind creates meaning in order to..order things. Both are true...either way, we are geared toward God. I hope that helps...and didnt confuse anyone...including me :)

    • Well prabhuji, u almost got me confused with the end bit there.....but nevertheless this is one of the potential truth possible, wat u say.

      Then there is again d question of the origin of our we have any shashtric quotes backing this claim that we (souls) expressed our desires to be independent and enjoy on our own? I have not come across any such authentic scriptural texts yet.

      I've personally always believed in some varying degrees of freewill. Starting from 30% to now recently 10%. It keeps decreasing. But just recently, now freewill stands at zero% for me, after I gave a long contemplation on the following logic :-

      "If we cud choose between spiritual and material paths, wud dat not change our destiny? Do we have the power to do so? And even if we cud.....the lord is omniscient.....he knows the exact if he already knows what decision we will take.....then our decision is already a part of our destiny, then where is the freewill? "

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