The Definition of Free Will

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The Definition of Free Will

Postby backtohome » Fri Mar 05, 2010 11:11 am

Question: The Definition of Free Will

Hare Krishna!

Thanks for giving details regarding karma. I would be interested to know how free will is defined. If one knows that, it will be easier to refrain from sense gratification. The Supersoul or Paramatma is living in every creature and is a witness of all activities. I am of the opinion that Paramatma instructs every individual to do duties and shows the way. Can I say that when my heart says not to do something I should just refrain from doing it, otherwise this will lead to karma? So it is a must to know how free will is defined? Eating is a sharira or bodily dharma or duty. Working is also a dharma. I am not clear as to how far God has given freedom, as we are all conditioned souls.


Answer: Ability to Choose Between Alternative Possibilities

Free will means the ability to choose between alternative possibilities. God has given us the ability to choose between a life of devotion or a life of sense gratification. While I may have my opinion and you may have your opinion, this is not the way of knowledge. Rather it is through scripture and self-realized souls that we understand things as they are. Lord Sri Krishna explains in the Bhagavad-gita that He provides both remembrance and forgetfulness to the living entity. Srila Prabhupada has explained in this regard that if the living entity desires sense gratification, the Supersoul guides him to how get it, and that if he wants liberation from this material existence, the Supersoul will bring him in contact with a bona fide spiritual master. So the type of direction we get from the Supersoul within is according to how we use our free will. We can be guided how to rob a bank, or we can be guided how to find a bona spiritual master.

Eating and working are material duties related with the body, and they entangle us more in karma cakra. But when we transcendentalize these duties by only eating Krishna prasadam, vegetarian foods offered to Lord Krishna with love and devotion, and by offering the results of our work in the Lord's service, these duties become spiritual activities, which liberate us from material existence. It is up to our free will whether we try to enjoy the results of our activities or offer these results for Krishna's enjoyment. How free is will is utilized by us will determine whether we remain in this material existence or return to the spiritual world.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari
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