Jul 142017

By Vrndavanlila Devi Dasi (Dr Vrinda Baxi)

The tussle between “freewill” and “destiny” has been primordial. There is one famous Greek play titled “Oedipus Rex” by Sophocles. The main character Oedipus has the tragic destiny of marrying his own mother revealed to him by the soothsayer. Shaken by the revelation, he decides to escape his fate by leaving his royal parents and his kingdom, but ironically the more he tries to give a slip, nearer he gets to the prediction. Finally the fate takes the better of him. He later learns of the commission of the most heinous sin – marrying his own mother and having even children from her. He relinquishes his kingship, blinds himself and moves from one place to another as he repents for the sin from which he had in fact tried to save himself. He is forsaken and alone but he makes himself adorable by the manner in which he reacts to his destiny. His desire to purge, do prayashchit for his inadvertently committed sin brings out the beauty in his character, he rises to such a height that from being one who is scoffed at by everybody, whose presence had once caused epidemics, death, draught in his country; later turns to a harbinger of good times, his death is said to bring good luck to the place where he would leave his body.

It beautifully brings forth the beauty and significant role of “freewill” in our lives. Bhagavad-gita explains the wonderful attributes of the soul besides the minuteness of soul. It is just one ten-thousandth part of the upper portion of the hair point in size.* The minute “freewill” of this super-micro soul has created so much of furore that there are 14 planetary systems and countless universes, and further sub- and sub to sub-systems to place everybody according to their “freewill”! So wonderful is freewill! This differentiating factor from non-living beings can make a heaven of hell or hell of heaven. It is therefore important that we learn to exercise it judiciously. It is because of this we are separated from the Lord. Though we are suffering because of misuse of freewill and are sentenced to serve our prison term in the bhuloka. At the same time bhuloka is also karmabhoomi, where we have the possibility of decision making (thus freewill) and accordingly designing the future body and destiny.

Freewill has been a subject which has attracted the attention of philosophers, spiritualists and scientists (especially neuroscientists, psychologists and physicists) alike. There are a few scientists (for instance Nobel Laureate Gerard who gave a theory suggesting predetermined status of behavior of particles and thus ourselves) who believe in non-existence of freewill and claim that they can predict each and every move of every studied individual with greatest accuracy*. Their perception reduces one to mere robots without any emotions and free will. A few non-atheists also find it confusing to see freewill in the face of the Lord being considered as “sarva karna karnam” (the cause of all causes – BS 5.1). Let us try to study it.

However before I try to do so, I consider it important to confess that I am neither a philosopher, nor a spiritualist nor even a scientist. I am a mere practicing devotee who had been struggling to understand it till some time ago. Freewill can be compared to free periods that we had in our student days. As a child in the school, every class was given one or two free periods besides other regular periods for teaching Maths, Science, English, Hindi or other such subjects. In the free periods the students were free to do anything, they could play, draw, study, sleep, read in the library or anything that they wanted to do. Though this was a free period and one was free to pursue their interests, yet at the same time it entailed a few implicit understandings:

– The duration of free period and its very presence is because the authorities have gracefully chosen to give us so

– It has to be exercised within the restrains of rules of the school and of general decorum

– Free period can be used according to one’s temperament, it can be used or even abused

Free will is no different. It does exist and comes in measures as given by the Lord. If He does not wish to give us free will and freedom to exercise it, there is no possibility of we having it.

Swedish man (3): Is there free will?

Prabhupada: Yes, yes. Just like you are sitting here. If you don’t like, you can go away. That’s your free will. There is free will.

Free will exists, but how much? -Only as much as the Lord wants us to have. The conversation between Srila Prabhupada and Syamasundara prabhu is worth reading:

Syamasundara: Does the hydrogen molecule have an independent desire?

Prabhupada: No, but within the hydrogen atom, there is Krishna; therefore it is combining. Not this hydrogen atom as matter is combining, but because Krishna is within that hydrogen atom existing. He knows that by combination this thing will come about, that will come out, that will come out…

Syamasundara: But the individual soul has a little independence to choose?

Prabhupada: No, no.

Syamasundara: Has no independence?

Prabhupada: No. The individual soul does not. In Bhagavad-gita it says that anumanta, individual soul, wants to do something and Krishna gives orders. Man proposes and God disposes.

Syamasundara: So we have no free will?

Prabhupada: No. Without sanction of Krishna we cannot do anything. Therefore He is the ultimate cause.

Syamasundara: But I thought you had been saying that we have a little independence.

Prabhupada: That independence that Krishna wants me to do something but I want to deny it. But unless Krishna sanctions, you cannot do that also.

… So far as we get information, our knowledge is from the Vedic information, andantara-stha paramanu: Krishna is within, the Paramatma. It does not say the soul is within, the Paramatma.

So, how much control do we have over our free will? — We have only as much free period (free will) as much as the school authorities (the Supreme Lord) will allow or sanction. Even within the allowable limits, when we exercise it, we need to follow the law of the school (nature). One cannot violate them. Misuse of free period or abuse of freewill is followed by misery of punishment by the respective executive and judiciary authorities.

Devotee (4): Prabhupada, we’re in this material world, in this human body, we’re having to work with this intelligence, with mind, material things. So there is a group of philosophers that say that actually because we’re a product, our mind, the way we’re thinking now is a product of our upbringing and our past, that actually we have no free will, but we’re forced to think and act in a certain way.

Prabhupada: Then that you have to admit that you are conditioned by some authority. When you are put into jail, you cannot act independently. You have to act according to the jail superintendent’s order.

… Devotee (4): So he admits he’s conditioned, but still, there’s no free will. He says, “Yeah, so I’m in the prison. I’m imprisoned. I’m conditioned.”

Prabhupada: No, no, no. Free will… Just like a man commits theft by his free will. But when he is put into jail, then no more free will. He has to act according to the jail superintendent. But his beginning of jail life is free will. Nobody asked him that “You go to jail.” But why he has come? He knows also that “When I am put into jail, I will lose all my freedom.” He knows that. Still, he comes. Why does he come? He knows that. That is called ajnana. Mudha. That is called mudha. He knows; still, he does. [Ref. VedaBase> Morning Walk – 14 July 14, 1975, Philadelphia]

There is another discussion reinforcing the same thought:

Prabhupada: Yes, freedom. Our present condition is not freedom. We are completely under the laws, te ‘pi svatantra rudhani vardhya (?). They are tied up by the ropes of material nature, hands and legs, and still they are thinking, “I am free.” That is illusion. Nobody is free. Daivi hy esha guna-mayi mama maya duratyaya [Bg. 7.14]. We are seeking freedom but nobody is free. Nobody is free. Prakriteh kriyamanani [Bg. 3.27], they are pulled by the ear, “Do this.” Prakriteh. You have to do this.

Syamasundara: He says that the free will, which creates itself or realizes itself is the truest of all realities.

Prabhupada: Yes. So if by free will if you choose to surrender to Krishna then you’ll get your real free will, freedom. Otherwise you are under the clutches of maya. Daivihy esha guna-mayi mama maya duratyaya [Bg. 7.14]. You cannot surpass the stringent laws of material nature, that is not…

So, working within the stringent laws of nature, one can misuse the gift of free will and bind himself in the vicious circle of death-birth-death. In the Bhagavad-gita (5.13) the Lord says that He is not the cause of anyone’s particular work, nor the authority, nor the result of such work–but that all these come out of the various modes of nature. Thus, all acts performed by the living entity-except those with transcendental results-are self-created engagements arising from an abuse of the freewill, and therefore such acts or engagements are never to be considered as if the works and the results were somehow ordained by the almighty Godhead. Such works are all material and are therefore conditioned and directed by the modes of nature. The Personality of Godhead dissociates Himself from such works.

One cannot be without work, how can we work without getting entangled in the karmic reaction of that work? If we surrender all our actions or work to Him, we can but how do we do it? Conditioned with the three modes of nature or gunas, how can one take the right decision? If the freewill is so dangerous, should we repress it altogether? How should the freewill be used that it does not prove self-injurious due to our ignorance?

Though we are suffering in this material body because of our earlier misuse of free will; yet it is His causeless mercy that the Lord has not abandoned us. Keen on bringing us back to Him, even in this situation He has given us the way out, an escape route from this prison house. He has given us free will, but He has also given the instructions to use it properly to return to Him. Prabhupada explained it beautifully:

“I am now talking to you the most confidential words.” (Sarva-guhyatamam) “You stop your so-called freewill. Just surrender to Me.” This is the most confidential. “If you surrender to Me, that is good for you. But if you go on keeping your free will you’ll not be happy.” There is also free will. When you come to the platform of Krishna consciousness you serve Krishna with freewill, not that you become a stone. There is freewill. Just like our devotees they are dressing Krishna nicely, is there no freewill? They are cooking for Krishna. Is there no freewill? The freewill is there. The Mayavadi philosopher says, the Buddha philosopher says, that “Stop this freewill, and then you become happy.” But our proposition is not to stop freewill but purify freewill. Purify. Not stop these eyes. Just if it is suffering from cataract, cure that cataract. Keep the eyes. And their proposition, “Get out these eyes and throw it. Then there will be no more seeing what is right and wrong.” That is their proposition. Nirvisesha-vadi. Nirvisesha means no specialty, no varieties. That is nirvisesha. And sunya, zero. When it is zero, then there is no question of right and wrong. So our philosophy is not that. There is no zero, and there is no variety. We don’t say. There is, but its purified varieties. Tat-paratvena nirmalam [Cc. Madhya 19.170]. Nirmalam means purified. So our process is to purify everything.”

Our job is therefore to purify our freewill and thus dovetail our freewill with His Supreme will – Easier said than done.

sadrisam ceshtate svasyah / prakriter jnanavan api

prakritim yanti bhutani / nigrahah kim karishyati [Bg 3.33] [Even a man of knowledge acts according to his own nature, for everyone follows the nature he has acquired from the three modes. What can repression accomplish?]

Repression fails and dovetailing is difficult, bordering on impossibility? How do we do that while being puppets in the deft hands of mayadevi and her tools of three gunas? She keeps us in the prison house using the trident of three gunas? It is very difficult to transcend the gunas. This concern was expressed by Arjuna himself to the Lord and He even agreed to it, but He gave a solution to that too. Even while working within gunas, using freewill according to one’s gunas, one has the option of coming out. One needs to be just what one is. Just perform one’s duty according to one’s nature or “svabhava” – according to one’s varna and guna – or simply following the principles of daiva varnasrama – “svabhava-niyatam karma / kurvan napnoti kilbi sham” [Bg. 18.47]. It is worth noting that the system of varnasrama, has been created by Him and is thus perfect. catur-varnyam maya shrishtam / guna-karma-vibhagasah [Bg. 4.13] Simply by performing one’s karma within the varnasrama set up ensures that our freewill is not abused.

The Lord is so merciful! He has created varnasrama for us. For the soul who has abused the freewill. For the soul which is just one-thousandth of the hair tip in size. Being His creation to protect the erring; varnasrama is in complete congruence with the Supreme will and is thus capable of giving one an opportunity to make the best of our human life within the limitation of svabhava and gunas. The set up varnasrama ensures that one is on the path of gradual spiritual evolution without resorting to “unnatural” methods of achieving transcendence. Hare Krishna!



* The Svetasvatara Upanishad (5.9) says:

balagra-sisata-bhagasya / satadha kalpitasya ca

bhago jivah vijsheyah / sa canantyaya kalpate

[Translation: When the upper point of a hair is divided into one hundred parts and again each of such parts is further divided into one hundred parts, each such part is the measurement of the dimension of the spirit soul.]
* New Scientist, 4 May 2006, pp. 8.

Srila Prabhupada’s Transcendental Sweetness and Beauty Is Humility Compatible with a Healthy Self-esteem?
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13 Responses to “Freewill of a Molecule”

Phalini devi dasi says : Log in to Reply
Jul 3, 2012 at 2:48 pm
Nice article about free will, Vrindavanlila. Thanks. Cool how you presented different questions–“problems”–then offered quotes from Srila Prabhupada to help illustrate the solutions. I really like your conclusion, how Varnasrama dharma is the perfectly designed arrangement of the Lord to allow us to act within our own nature, varna and guna to become purified. Great point that it’s our own free will whether we choose to live according to varnasrama dharma or not.

Sitalatma Das says : Log in to Reply
Jul 4, 2012 at 1:32 pm
Lovely article but after agreeing with everything said there I still have questions.

What about people of demoniac and degraded “svabhava” who can’t be placed in varnashrama? Should they act according to their own nature or according to promises made before their spiritual masters? That calls for some serious repression.

What about gays? In the West they aren’t considered degraded or devious anymore and are expected to follow that local implementation of varnashrama – get married, stay faithful, adopt children and so on.

Kulapavana says : Log in to Reply
Jul 5, 2012 at 2:29 am
Another nice quote regarding free will:
Prabhupada: Free will means that you can act wrongly. That is free will. Unless there is chance of doing wrong or right, there is no question of free will. Where is free will then? If I act only one sided, that means I have no free will. Because we act sometimes wrongly, that means free will.
Hayagriva: A man may know better but still act wrongly.
Prabhupada: Yes.
Hayagriva: Yes.
Prabhupada: But that is free will. He misuses his. Just like a thief, he knows that his stealing, it is bad, but still he does it. That is free will. He cannot check his greediness, so in spite of his knowing that he is doing wrong thing—he will be punished, he knows; he has seen another thief, he was punished, he was put into prison— everything he knows, but still he steals. Why? Misuse of free will. Unless there is misuse of free will, there is no question of free will.
Excerpt from: Philosophy Discussions with His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada – Rene Descartes

People will surrender to a varnashrama system when they see that it is actually working for the people engaged in it. It is a very practical and tangible thing. I’m not so sure that as a movement we have managed to create such a structure. At least I have not seen it.

gourgopal.brs says : Log in to Reply
Jul 6, 2012 at 12:09 pm
Hare Krsna Kulapavana prabhu,
I agree with you: “People will surrender to a varnashrama system when they see that it is actually working for the people engaged in it. It is a very practical and tangible thing. I’m not so sure that as a movement we have managed to create such a structure. At least I have not seen it.”
Presently we may not have a ready model to showcase or follow. But as the heat of modern lifestyle is gradually scorching us, the people within ISKCON and even outside are getting to realize the relevance of varnasrama dharma. Therefore, there may not be a ready model but yes we do have several endeavors with different levels of successes in different parts of the world. I am sure with the blessings of Srila Prabhupada it will materialize.
Your servant,
Gour Gopal Das Adhikary

gourgopal.brs says : Log in to Reply
Jul 6, 2012 at 12:34 pm
Hare Krsna Sitalatma mataji,

>>Lovely article but after agreeing with everything said there I still have questions.
** Yes it is a very good article. Very lucidly it addresses very grave subjects of freewill & varnasrama dharma.

>> What about people of demoniac and degraded “svabhava” who can’t be placed in varnashrama? Should they act according to their own nature or according to promises made before their spiritual masters? That calls for some serious repression.
** The ideal will always be just one, as established by our scriptures. That is why it is also called sanatana dharma (one that is eternal). Those who cannot fall into the Vedic culture are “demoniac” or miscreants. It is these people who create the need for the establishment of “dharma” by the Lord in different ages.
If one has that kind of “svabhava” as pointed out by you, one has more cleansing to do. Chanting is the best cleansing agent. If they sincerely chant, I am sure they will be able to come out of it. In our farm, a few dogs were brought to guard but after taking regular prasadam, there was a remarkable change in the svabhava of the dogs. They stopped fighting or even barking at the transgressers! Then what to speak of human beings who have higher consciousness?

>>What about gays? In the West they aren’t considered degraded or devious anymore and are expected to follow that local implementation of varnashrama – get married, stay faithful, adopt children and so on.
** Whether the west considers gays and … as degraded or not, Vedic standard is same. Varnasrama dharma creates a conducive structure for gradual spiritual elevation for everybody. Marriage is a samskar meant to help two people get together for spiritual elevation and procreation of devotee children not for mere sense gratification. This is why grahastha (householder) stage is also an ashrama (stage of life meant for spiritual growth). Now if we go to see gay or such people where is Krishna at the center? They are not together for spiritual evolution with a Krsna centric life. It is ONLY sense gratification with NO possibility of procreation. Adoption is all artificial, as much as is their relationship. How can they help the adopted child to develop spiritually when they themselves are not setting the standards and are in a state of confusion. Varnasrama means Krsna centric life – land, cow and Krsna; but they have sense gratification, self and adoption at the center.
Your servant,
Gour Gopal das Adhikary

bbd says : Log in to Reply
Jul 6, 2012 at 4:01 pm
Srila Prabhupada (as also shown in sastra) may teach the concept of free will for those in lower stages of spiritual realization. This is because all conditioned jivas are in ignorance of Krishna’s supreme control and believe they are in control of their own destiny. However, sastra and previous acharyas both conclude that the very conception of free will is a conditioned state of the jiva. Once self realized, the jiva sees the true reality…that Radha Krishna is in control of everything and everyone 100% of the time, to the very minutest detail. That is the conclusion behind the whole progression of the Gita itself. Arjuna was thinking (as the script goes) that he has free will to decide and control his destiny as he sees fit. Krishna then gradually describes the various yoga processes (sense and mind control), and Sankya philosophy to eventually reveal that He/She is the Supreme Controller of the mind and senses through His/Her various potencies. In fact, in 18:66 we see Krishna conclude that one only needs to surrender/give up ALL false conceptions/ideas of dharma and accept Krishna’s control over the entire cosmic manifestation, including the jivas, to attain self realization…to see Krishna’s control through everything and everyone. Paramatma is in control of all jivas and molecular components. We, the jivas, are just along for the ride…going through various experiences to eventually become aware of the true nature of reality. The more we see Krishna in control of and directly present in our day to day lives, the more Krishna intimately reveals and personally relates to us. This is the conclusion of Vedanta.

SB 11.13.24: Within this world, whatever is perceived by the mind, speech, eyes or other senses is Me alone and nothing besides Me. All of you please understand this by a straightforward analysis of the facts.

Here are some examples of sastra and writings of previous acharyas to show this point. (See comments)

Perche’ Radhakunda e’ il posto piu’ elevato?

Kulapavana says : Log in to Reply
Jul 6, 2012 at 4:09 pm
Dear Gour Gopal prabhu, you are right, there are various attempts to re-constitute working varnashrama structures in our movement, just like there were such efforts undertaken in the past, sometimes even on a much larger scale. I took part in some of them during my 33 years in ISKCON, and I am still working on one such project here in Prabhupada Village, North Carolina, where I live. But it has been a hard slog upwind, so to speak, for various reasons. Frankly, in my opinion it boils down to our quarrelsome Kali-yuga natures, laziness, and grossly inflated egos. I think it would be a great blessing of Srila Prabhupada if we eventually lost these bad qualities. That is what purification by the process of bhakti should make possible. I’m still hopeful…
Yours in service, Kula-pavana dasa

Sitalatma Das says : Log in to Reply
Jul 11, 2012 at 8:52 am
Dear Gour Gopal prabhu, while your arguments appear to be valid on their own, my questions were addressed mostly to the OP, mataji Vrindavanlila.

Her advice was

“One needs to be just what one is. Just perform one’s duty according to one’s nature or “svabhava” – according to one’s varna and guna.. ”

I’m not sure she meant that BEFORE taking that advice one needs to purify and change his svabhava, cure himself from gayness, if necessary, and wait for the society to build a proper daivi-varnashrama system.

That last condition, the existence of a functional varnashrama that one can enter, start acting according to his nature and become genuinely happy in service to Krishna, is the most difficult.

One can purify himself and get rid of bad habits, that is more or less under our control, but I doubt we’ll see proper varnashrama in our lifetimes. Even if there are some limited examples here and there they are of no practical use to aspiring devotees in the rest of the world who seem to have become excluded. I’m not sure Krishna meant it that way.

Also the process of purification is slow and sometimes painful while mataji Vrindavanlila was arguing against “repression”, which, in my view, is unavoidable.

My point is that mataji’s advice appears to be impractical, but maybe I just misunderstood some of her points.

Dr Vrinda Baxi says : Log in to Reply
Jul 17, 2012 at 8:13 am
Part 1

Hare Krsna dear Sitalatma mataji, Dandavat pranam!
>>Lovely article but after agreeing with everything said there I still have questions.
**Thanks for appreciating the article.
If there has been any merit, I owe it to my guru who chose me for this service; if there has been any wrong, it is simply because I could not become a good instrument in his hands.
I am glad that you have put a few questions which raise serious concerns that plague the present age (therefore also our movement).
Since we are all still on the path of making endeavors of reviving daivi varnasrama dharma in this age (in sync with the instructions of our acharyas), we (at least I) do not know how things will unfold themselves. I am a very small fry… I welcome other senior devotees to give their valuable advice on the subject while I share my understanding and perception about the varnasrama dharma.

>> What about people of demoniac and degraded “svabhava” who can’t be placed in varnashrama? Should they act according to their own nature or according to promises made before their spiritual masters? That calls for some serious repression.

** In Srimad Bhagavatam (7.11.8-11) Narada Muni lists 30 qualities of a human being, two of them which are relevant in this context are “austerity” and “control of the senses”. If one does not endeavor to possess them, one is no better than an animal. Varnasrama dharma and marriage are institutions meant for human beings not for animals.
So, the people who may appear like human beings but do not possess those qualities cannot follow varnasrama dharma. It may call for “serious repression” as you rightly say but that is the way it is. An animal if set free “to follow his svabhava” in however organized set up can easily create ruckus not just for one’s own self but also for others. Therefore, one needs to first come to the platform of a human being and then pursue the spiritual goals of devotion in a conducive set up of varnasrama dharma. They cannot be directly “placed in varnasrama”. Varnasrama dharma is meant for human beings not for animals.
Further, when I said “One needs to be what one is” I certainly made that observation with the assumption that a person even though may not possess those thirty qualities but is certainly serious about acquiring them; and therefore accepts only those things which are favorable to their acquisition.

(Reply to be continued…)

Aspiring to serve,
Vrndavanlila dd

Dr Vrinda Baxi says : Log in to Reply
Jul 17, 2012 at 8:20 am
Part 2 continued…
>>What about gays? In the West they aren’t considered degraded or devious anymore and are expected to follow that local implementation of varnashrama …
**Sexual attraction whether between man and woman (now even between same genders) forms the basis of material life. The Vedic principle is that one should avoid sex life altogether. Though this is the general tendency, but the Vedic principle is to reduce it to become nil. “Therefore the whole system is called varnasrama dharma. Out of four spiritual orders, it is only in one order of “grhastha” that there is room for sex life. In view of the significance of exercise of its austerity, even in this ashram it needs to be practiced with restraint. As Srila Prabhupada says, “So sex life is not required, but because we are attached to it, therefore there are some regulative principles.” The regulative principles are that one has such relationship only with whom one is married. And further, within marriage also it is only for begetting children. In conversation with Bhakta Bob, Srila Prabhupada predicts degeneration in Kaliyuga, when girls and boys will not marry (we are already seeing live-in relationships), “and their relationship will exist on sexual power” (the concept of gay is also same as it allows no scope for procreation which is one of the aims of marriage). [Based on Srila Prabhupada’s conversation with Bob, February 28, 1972 in PERFECT QUESTIONS PERFECT ANSWERS, “Vedic Culture: Varnasrama Dharma”, pp.16-22]
[To be continued]

Dr Vrinda Baxi says : Log in to Reply
Jul 17, 2012 at 8:22 am
(to dear Sitalatma mataji) Part 3 continued…

A man’s concept of “correctness”, “acceptability”, “morality” and “decency” may change according to time, geography and culture. Even the “gay relationships” that you refer here have received different responses through different times in the same country. What has made their attitude to change? – Only the progression in time (kaliyuga) which has allowed for more depravity and degeneration. Acts which were once considered devious are now very much acceptable.
But truth is one cannot take guidelines from a social verdict which keeps changing, we have to follow what shastras say as they are eternal. And we have just discussed what shastras say in this regard.
To add further, the Srimad Bhagavatam says, one should not become a guru, a husband, a father, and a leader unless one can assure their respective dependents’ return to their original home (back to Godhead). How do you think a gay couple who themselves have flouted the laid out instruction for marriage for procreation can endeavor to put their dependents on the path of return to Him? The wife’s first spiritual master is her husband. What kind of “guru” or “husband” will a gay couple play?
I have all sympathies for the souls who are facing this problem and who need to suppress their “svabhava”; but this cleansing is a prerequisite. It may be difficult, but certainly not impossible. Anyone who is really sincere and decides to tread the path of devotion with determination, patience and surrender, the Lord will certainly give the strength to fight their degraded “svabhava”. One can come out of this “svabhava”, only when they feel that there is something wrong with it. If the society sanctions and accepts the relationship, those who are facing those problems, will not feel any need to cleanse or come out of it.

Aspiring to serve,
Vrndavanlila dd

Dr Vrinda Baxi says : Log in to Reply
Jul 18, 2012 at 8:02 pm
Hare Krsna Sitalatma prabhu,
Please accept my humble obeisances
All Glories to Srila Prabhupada
Kindly forgive my oversight in not seeing the ‘das’ in your name and addressing you as mataji in my reply to your questions which I really liked.

Aspiring to serve,
Vrndavanlila dd

Sitalatma Das says : Log in to Reply
Jul 22, 2012 at 10:29 am
Dear Mataji, thanks for the reply, it’s much clearer to me now.

As members of the spiritual family we are basically free to do anything we want as long as we are engaged in service to guru and Krishna and so we should use this opportunity to purify our desires. Suppression of one set of desires, for example a career ambition, and developing another set, like trying to become a renunciate or a housewife, is like angling for another birth.

On the absolute level anyone who has interest in Krishna should be considered a vaishnava but practically the admittance test for us is 4 regs +16 rounds and it should stand this way until next acharya comes along.

On the absolute level, however, I am not sure about excluding 99% of the outside population from the opportunity to serve Krishna unless they give up their “animal svabhava”.

On the subject of free will I want to stress Bbd Prabhu (Mataji?) comment, I think it’s a very important point to keep in mind – question of free will is a sign of material conditioning, it doesn’t need an answer, it needs to go away. There’s another verse in the same chapter to further illustrate this, SB 11.13.36 – a self-realized soul has no awareness of his external body, whether it is currently sitting, walking, or sleeping. The question of free will in relation to that body shouldn’t even arise.

I hope now I got the OP and subsequent comments right.

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