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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      • just keep questioning and don;t be afraid to do all i say. As for finding the origin of karmas. Buddha warned against that, but that was for practical reasons. However another famous personality had this to say, and it is somewhat true. "Those who seek should not stop seeking until they find. When they find, they will be disturbed. When they are disturbed, they will marvel, and will reign over all. [And after they have reigned they will rest.]"  and i do like Rashmis statement about sadhanas...i just read up on the word. Sounds good, it would seem Sadhanas are not set in stone tho and are personal? am i correct in that statement based on your view point rashmi?

        • E-Counselor

          Hare KRsna Adam Prabhu,


          Sadhana - the word translated in English means "practise". Colloquolly it is used to mean devotional practise. Whatever one does is ones personal practise. We have standardised in ISKCON and given what is the standard to follow. People who follow the standard and keep on practising devotion are sure to progress. Each of us have very personal relationship with the lord and He can relate with us individually and guide us as paramatma, if we allow Him.

          One can keep on questioning and get frustrated that there are no clear answers or that there are no answers that satisfy me. What we need to understand is that I am not the authority, but the person giving me the answers (in our case, Gita and Srila Prabhupada) are authorities. If we could understand everything at one go, then we should be at the level of Arjuna. I have never heard that he needed the Gita to be repeated to him because he didnt understand something.

          Or one can accept that this is the answer - I am not able to understand it yet, but gradually, as I progress, I will be able to comprehend. The second has happened with me innumerable number of times and continues to happen with me. I have asked questions (people would call me Question Bank - the number of questions I had) and got answers and looked as confused as before (if not more). Then after some time, months or years, suddenly some meaning dawns and those same words appear in front of me (as if there is a blackboard in front of me and I am reading them) and then I realise that I have finally understood what I asked maybe years ago. That is the beauty of spirituality - one keeps on realising, one keeps on learning.

          This is my view point. You pick and choose what suits you.


          Your servant,


          • Thanks Rashmi. I understand the actual translation of Sadhana now. Questioning...i will always question, but its never frustrating. The fact that pointed out that it answers itself in time is exactly why its not frustrating, which is funny, because that is how it works. Wisdom comes before it is said in one of the traditions. When i was first going through this process years ago i was saying and experiencing stuff that was true and carried weight, but I myself had no idea what it meant till many years later. Ive come to accept that I'll read a teaching, understand some then some I won't. But i know the answer will come to is far from an intellectual process though. My Guru's have been mainly the main players, minus one. I can't help it as every major teacher....even things not human in form have taught me what i needed at various points. Strange I am I guess, but i love all the personalities. I am a hard head though, until its experiential its just words to me. I think in I have been lifted up and beaten with the "be good stick" an equal number of times at this point. But it is all good. :)

      • E-Counselor

        Hare Krsna Prabhuji,


        The only choice we have actually is the choice between material and spiritual paths. Yes, once we choose the spiritual path, it does change our destiny. That is the only power we have - the limited freedom mentioned in scriptures. We have the freedom to do our karma - we have no control over the result of that karma - the famous shloka of Gita - karmanye vadikaraste, ma phalesu kadachana...... Whatever choice we make, we do without knowing the entire package, the results are always in package. Its a gamut of things.

        Now coming to the result being part of destiny - suppose you are a CHartered Accountant in this birth, you will have to start with learning A B C D In the next birth. WIth the change of the body, the memory or achievements of this body go away. The difference is that when one starts to walk down the path of spirituality, and is not able to complete his sadhana in one birth, whatver little he achieved in one birth is carried forward to the next birth. Suppose someone could study upto 1st standard in spirituality, then in the next birth, he will easily take to spirituality and will come upto 1st standard very quickly. He will then progress from there and depending on his sadhana in that birth, he will either perfect his sadhana in the next birth or again take birth. This is also mentioned in the Gita.

        Prabhu, answer to all your queries are there in the Gita. If you study scrutinisingly, preferably under a teacher, you will get most of your doubts cleared.

        I hope I have been able to explain somewhat.


        YOur servant,


  • The clock doesnt create time, it just records it. I won't give away that, to some its disturbing. But if you like, the book of thoth gives some hints to this. So does hindu texts...and gnostic texts....well they all pretty much give the answer if you look. The roles remain, the actor is one. And it loves to play different characters. I love that question. Peace and love friend. And the last comment about ignorance and awakening and all that, thats actually the story of Genesis. Everything is one. Free will is indeed illusion.

  • Hare Krishna prabhu

    Its a really complicated topic. I don't think we have Free Will because Krishna is Omniscient, meaning  he knows the past, present and Future. 

    Though from the perspective of our minds, it may appear that we have FREE WILL but actually we don't.

    Even if there is Free Will, its very minute.

    Is there anyway we  can reconcile Free Will and God's Omniscience?



    • Hare Krishna Ashwinji!

      I would like to believe what you say. And whenever I think like that, I end up getting emmense peace. Hope your answer is the right answer.

      Jai Radhe!

      P.s. you have still kept the question open by not answering in the definitive.

      • O Arjuna, as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, I know everything that has happened in the past, all that is happening in the present, and all things that are yet to come. I also know all living entities; but Me no one knows. (BG 7.26)

        Instead of thinking that because Krishna knows, therefore I will do, it is better to think of it as: i will do, therefore Krishna knows.

        Even if we do have free will, the only Free Will we have is to accept or deny krishna, everything else flows accordingly.

      • Hare Krishna parag prabhu

        Krishna knows past, present and future. He is not separate from Time itself, which is one of his energies. 

        How can I truly have the power of free will if my every action is determined by everything that has ever happened before the present moment? My decision is simply a product of my karma, my environment, the values and perception that past experiences have taught me.

        The pattern of life is as follows:

        We begin life in a state of pure ignorance. Through experience, we learn and grow. There is a slow emergence out of ignorance into knowledge and enlightenment. In Hindu belief systems, this occurs over many lifetimes. The more ignorant we are, the greater our lack of control over our own actions and destiny. Actions made in ignorance generally have negative consequences. This is because selfishness is born of ignorance, as well as the fact that in ignorance, we cannot always determine how our actions will effect ourselves and others. However, suffering is one aspect of life that causes growth/maturity. It plays an important role.

        When the individual arrives at a point in life where he/she achieves full Realisation/Awareness (all ignorance is vanished) then perhaps it can be said that he is no longer subject to illusion. He is then free of material afflictions, which include Time.

        To summarise:

        Time exists as part of God
        All Time exists simultaneously. Thus, God is aware of all things.
        Choices are made, but free will is illusion.
        The ignorant are subject to illusion. The ignorant are not in control, but still make choices.
        Choices cause temporary joy and suffering. All experiences help us to emerge from ignorance.
        When ignorance is overcome by the grace of God, then we are no longer 'puppets of time'.

        This is the goal of life.


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