Saddarshanam, Class 13


Shloka # 21:

It is possible to talk of fate and self-effort for them who know not the source of the two. To them who know well the source of fate and effort, there is neither fate nor effort.

Continuing his teaching and refreshing our memory of last class, Swamy Paramarthananda said, in this shloka Bhagawan Ramana Maharishi is pointing out that any discussion of fate and free will is a useless one. A discussion with an Agyani will never have an end. One can never say if fate influences free will or vice versa. If you say fate is the original influence, we will never be able to trace the beginning as to which is first. It is a like a chicken and egg paradox. That is why it is called Maya or Mithya. In Chapter # 3 of Manduka Upanishad there is a discussion if Janma produces Karma or if it is the other way around.

Bhagawan Ramana Maharishi says for a wise person there is no creation at all, no duality, and no cause and effect. Therefore never enter into a discussion.

Why do we say such a discussion will be inconclusive? This is because fate cannot be established without free will. Who gives fate to an individual? God does not do it. If god does it, he will be charged with partiality. The world is not responsible for fate. Chance also is not responsible for fate. Since the world is harmonious and orderly, fate cannot be an accident or chance.  None of them determine my fate. I determine my fate alone. My past actions are now coming as my fate.

My body, mind, parentage, etc determine my past actions. Therefore my actions are determined by my surroundings. So which determines fate versus freewill is not possible to establish. It is like asking: does body control the mind or vice versa? Is individual controlling society or vice versa? It is impossible to say. Hence such a discussion is futile.

Even though a discussion is futile, we must, as Sadhakas, give importance to one it. We must focus on one. The choice need not be based on logic but more as a working arrangement. Therefore we must decide if the life we wish to lead is a Freewill-based life or fate-based life.

Visishta advaitam and Dvaitam philosophies:

Followers of Visishta advaitam and Dvaitam philosophies feel the following:

I am eternally dependent on God for moksha. You are never free. Only God is free. We are all dependent. Moksha is recognizing that I am a Dasa.

Now, Moksha itself means freedom. So there is a contradiction. So, free will is never our focus here. I am a small person. I have no free will. Therefore, fate dominates my life. Therefore, I learn to use a new language. “Everything is his will etc.” “ I am a Dasa and enjoy serving the lord in moksha”. Here free will is suppressed and fate is expressed.

Advaitam Philosophy: The Advaita Guru teaches us, “ I am cause of my karmaphalam”. “I am responsible for everything” Later this also leads to the claim that Aham Bramha Asmi. Everything is born out of me and everything rests in me. I am the Swamy. I don’t depend on time. Shankaracharya says, in this world (Jiva-Jagat-Ishwara), the Ishwara depends on me. Therefore if you want to know advaita, assimilate free will. Start practicing this now.

Therefore do not get into a debate.

Shloka # 21 (continued):

Discussion of fate and free will occurs only among ignorant. Vidhi is past action by a past “I”. Prayatna denotes the present “I”. So, this is a time connected “I”. Time connected I is Ahamkara. This discussion occurs, as we do not know the moolam of Ahamkara. The timeless I, Atma, is the moolam of Ahamkara.

A debate of Ahamkara is only possible when they do not know the Ahamkara moolam. Once they know it, Ahamkara vanishes.

Note: Shloka # 15 or 17 (depends upon book) discusses time, which is imaginary. Past and future, both are myths. Present is also a myth as it is in relation to past and present.  Thus, there is no Karta “I” or Bhoktha “I”. Therefore in advaita, Aham must be emphasized.

Shloka # 22:

That vision of the Lord which is without seeing the Seer can only be a mental vision. Indeed the Supreme is not other than Seer. His vision is absorption and abidance in one’s own source.

In this shloka all upanishadic teachings are condensed. For some it may even be disturbing.  It captures the essence of Keno and Brihadaranyaka Upanishads.

What we experience is not absolute reality. It is only a relative reality. Relative reality means it is Mithya. “ I” the observer alone am the absolute reality. Whatever is observed is a mithya. This world is mithya, as is my body and as is my mind. We can train the mind to understand this. But what about God? Is God a Mithya or Sathyam?

Upanishad says, it will not answer this question rather it asks you to determine the answer based on the norms it has provided.

What does God mean? If God is someone who is experienced by me (devotee), then God is Anatma. This may disturb some devotees. Upanishad though says a seeker of truth does so without emotions.

Therefore an objective God is a Mithya.

The absolutely real God can only be discussed in one way. When you understand him as “ I” the Experiencer.

Aham Asmi, this is God. The Aham is not the body or the mind. Therefore Ishwara Darshana as an object is a myth. However Darshanam of “I” is real.

For a Karmakandin this Shloka will be disturbing. Vedanta says duality is acceptable till you mature. During Karma and Upasana Yoga duality is acceptable, however, ultimately the objective god has to be negated.

The shloka: Ignoring I, the Atma, who is the real God and instead going after a God vision (darshanam) as an object does not make sense. God vision is only a mental projection or Mithya. There is no other God than “ I” the observer. Saddarshana is heavily influenced by Manduka karika. Upanishad does not see God as He. Non-advaitic philosophies downplay Upanishads by focusing on shakthi.


With Best Wishes,

Ram Ramaswamy