Is it free will or is it destiny? This is an unending debate. The people who suffer in spite of hard work think life is destined. They understand their limitations sooner or later that they cannot change their life pattern. And the egoistic people who think they are responsible for all their actions think life is all about free will. And that you have the power to change your fate – how foolish they are! If the latter is true – I am sure that no auto rickshaw driver wants to live and die as an auto rickshaw driver. Even they would have thought about becoming the Prime Minister or President of a country at least a Super Star in the movie industry. What went wrong? May be they didn’t put their effort in the right direction! Well even Abdul Kalam wanted to become a pilot it seems, and later ender up becoming a scientist and now a President! What does that mean? Does that mean Abdul Kalam’s life unfolded through his free will or he was destined to become the President of India? Or was it because Abdul Kalam didn’t put the right effort to become a pilot hence became the President of India?!
Here is a situation to understand better. Imagine two Grand Masters, A and B, playing chess. Looking at the horoscopes the results of the match has already been predicted. The prediction is A will win the match. In this scenario, what does the free will of making chess moves play any role for both the players? Isn’t the whole game a cosmic joke?
I met an interesting person last week. He is part of a TV medium, and has been doing research on Bhagvat Geetha for the last 15 years. In mind I thought, if instead of researching if he had searched for God in the last 15 years - he surely would have met Lord Krishna in flesh and blood. Well that is altogether is different debate. He posted a question to me, a question few others have asked me, and a question I didn’t found answer for couple of months. He asked, “if there isn’t any scope for free will as astrology says, then how does the concept of Karma work?”
Here is the explanation about what his question means. According to astrology everything is destined, and your life will always go as your planets say. Astrologically if the actions of Osama Bin Laden killing innocent people of Twin Towers becomes destiny, in that case how can his next life depend on the past bad karma (actions), when the mere decision of killing people was not his own! That way if human beings are not responsible or not allowed to choose between the right and wrong moves through free will, then how can the concept of Karma work?
Here is the explanation (and there is no need for you to accept this explanation at all. If possible just try to assimilate it.)
Human lives are driven by impulses and personal desires. All our actions are based on the set list of perceptions and ambitions we carry within ourselves. All our moves are towards achieving these personal desires - whether we will achieve them all or not, is altogether a different question. Hence the revelation is - any action that is out of personal desires is karmic, and any action that is out of God’s desires is non karmic!
A simple example is - sex for reproduction is God’s desire, and sex just for lust is personal desire. Hence Gandhi used to have sex with Kasturba only when they planned to have children, not otherwise. Also Prophet married 11 women not for sex, but to support them in the society.
In Bhagwat Geeta, when Arjuna dropped his weapons out of his personal desire of not hurting his teacher, or brothers or friends – Lord Krishna says, why do you think it is YOU who is fighting against them. It is God who wants you to go against them and you are just being used as a tool. Surrender to Him, drop your personal desires and preferences, and fight – and your actions are non karmic!
So how do we know or understand whether our actions are karmic or non karmic? It is simple take a piece of paper, write down all your desires, and start dropping them one by one.
Remember going to school, getting educated, going to job, earning money, getting married, having children are all karmic, until you drop your desires of doing so. And also all things in life will happen on its own when you surrender yourself completely to the divine (which is called - Sharanagathi). Going to school, going to job, earning money, getting married, having children – is non karmic, if they happen after your total surrender.
Osama Bin Laden’a actions will have Karmic repercussions if he has done it out of personal desires, and if he had done it out of God’s will – then his actions won’t have Karmic repercussions. That is the reason, that in Islam, they are allowed to behead goats, after they are offered to the Gods – called Halal, which is not considered a sin. And in Hinduism there was something called bali (offering animal lives to God) – which was wrongly interpreted later.
So what is the moral of the story – human being have only 2 free will – 1) to take our personal desires to nil and 2) surrendering to the almighty completely – rest everything is karmic and destiny!