KARMA AND FREE WILL
Karma has been produced because of free will. Divine Will does not produce any Karma, for Divine Will is non-binding. But free will can be binding, and there can be good Karma and bad Karma. They are binding because all Karma has nothing to do with the Spiritual Self of man, and Karma only has to do with man’s mental self.
If a person murders, is it his Karma to murder? It depends on who is killing. If a lion kills a man, then it is not Karma of the lion because that is its duty, its natural way. It is forced by the processes of nature to kill to eat. No lion ever kills anyone for the fun of it. It would kill a deer or anything, for self-sustenance, for food. Man does not do that. By committing that very act, he is adding to his Karma. But what were the conditions before he did that? The murder is not because of past Karma but because of past mental conditioning, and that mental conditioning was brought about because of his past Karma. So, who laid the egg? Which comes first, the chicken or the egg? So, everything is Karma, and everything is not Karma.
Free will means that you have thought power, and because of that thought power, you have the freedom to do what you like. That is free will. You decide on something, good or bad, and you do it; you do it because of free will. Karma does condition free will. For it is because of your past experiences in life and in previous lives that you can think in a particular manner. If your experiences and conditionings in life were such that it would make you think of doing good work today, of helping people, constructive work, then you would be doing productive work spontaneously. But if your condition is such that you do destructive things, then that is done spontaneously.
THE SUBCONSCIOUS MIND CONTAINS ALL THOUGHT PATTERNS AND EXPERIENCES
Many a murderer does not do that because they want to do it. There is a compulsion in them, a need, for some personal gain, or this act is performed to satisfy a mental aberration. This imbalance in the subconscious mind comes to the fore in the conscious mind, making him perform this action, although the conscious mind will argue the pros and cons. The conscious mind will stop him from committing a specific act, but the conditionings of the subconscious will override the conscious thinking, and he will do that. He is to blame, not because of his conscious self because his conscious self is in conflict, but he is to be blamed for his subconscious self, which contains the seed and force to override the conscious pros and cons and make him perform the act.
The subconscious levels that are there contain all these thought patterns and experiences. He might have had some experience where he was hurt or even killed, and then the subconscious that lingers on after the body has been discarded wanted revenge, and that very sense that is born within this pattern is what we know as a compulsion. If he does not commit that act, he can go insane, and most of these killers are, in reality, psychopaths. If he consciously curbs it, he will suffer repressions within himself, which will drive him insane. This is where the conscious mind can do something, although forced by this inner compulsion. When the conscious mind argues the pros and cons of some wilful act, which we call free will, that person needs help, not to alter his subconscious mind, but to strengthen the excellent thought in his conscious mind so that that person himself can get that good thought deeper down and alter the subconscious pattern. Then he will not kill, and I believe that many people with these tendencies should not be jailed but should be treated.
KARMA IS A WINDING UP THAT NEEDS TO BE UNWINDED
What is free will’s relation to Karma? You cannot alter your Karma with free will, for what you have sown, you will have to reap. But you can put the same momentum in a different direction. That same force that is there, within the subconscious, can very consciously be diverted into another channel, and for this, great understanding is required. That means that we are not changing our Karma, but we are changing the direction of our Karma. Karma is only a winding up that has to be unwound.
How it is to be done is the question. How do we unwind the Karmic debts so that we do not suffer the consequences so much? I have said in some talk somewhere that if you kill ten people, it will not mean you will have to be killed ten times. Use your free will and conscious analytical powers, and save eleven lives. Then the debt of killing the ten people will be rubbed off. A balance is performed. No particular Karmas will have its effect; no cause will have its impact similarly. Your free will can change the outcome differently. And yet, the momentum, the force of Karma, will not be lost. It will be there, but by free will, by gaining the understanding we have spoken about, we alter the course of that Karma, which could be progressive for us. Evolutionary-wise, it could be progressive.
THE FORCE OF FREE WILL CAN CHANGE THE COURSE OF KARMA
Difficulties also have specific Karmic values, which is why man has been given the thinking mind. We are talking of the average man, not the aberrant mind that cannot think right. By the force of his free will, the average man changes the course of his Karma. There are so many ways this understanding can be gained; knowledge can be acquired by good advice from those who know. It has to be convincing for the mind to be pleased. That is one way to approach it. The other way is surrender, where we would say, “Not my will, but thy will be done.”
Free will is always ego-orientated, we call it free, but that is a misnomer. The will is not free, and we call free will a reflection of our personal, conditioned ego. Instead of free will, it would be more appropriate to call it ego-will. It is not free; it is bound. For, underlying that ego, there is still a Divine Will, and to develop that kind of surrender where we can genuinely say, “Thy will be done,” it would mean that the so-called free will has to merge into the Divine Will. Otherwise, it is just thinking uselessly, of no avail or value.
What is the procedure, and how do we merge the so-called free will into the Divine Will? It comes about not by annihilation or destruction of the ego, for that is impossible. The ego can never be destroyed or annihilated, but the ego can be clarified, clarified, and more transparent. When our egos, by spiritual practices, become transparent, the light of the Divine Will shines through, and when the light of the Divine Will shines through, it overcomes the ego-will, which we term as free will, and when that is overcome, there is a spontaneous surrender.
SURRENDER HAS TO BE SPONTANEOUS
No surrender is ever true or total by the free will itself. It is just a re-patterning. We say, “I surrender my will to Thee. Let Thy will be done.” That is a mental concept, and it is bluffing our minds because tomorrow, we go and do according to what our ego-will wants to do. That is not the way. It is perfect for prayer, and it has its uses, where, at that moment, in that utter emotional state, when all is lost, that is the only time people do it. When all is lost, you say, “Oh, God, take my will. Let your will only be done.” It is suitable as a prayer; it is good as an affirmation and does help. It could be a path; you are on the path towards surrender, but it is not. Surrender is a thing that has to be spontaneous. Otherwise, it is a conditional surrender with so many strings attached.
Only when they are in trouble, when they have hit their head against the wall people want to surrender their free wills to the Divine Will. When they cannot find any way out, when all the doors they incidentally have caused to be locked are locked, they say, “Oh, God, I surrender; you do now.” And that is a critical point. I wish more doors could be locked because you reach that stage of utter desperation. By saying, “Thy will be done,” you have desperation, not surrender. But this desperation, as the stepping stone, can lead one to surrender. Because in this desperation, you feel helpless. If you do not know what to do, you pass the book. But, at this moment of desperation, when mind and body are lost, then Divine Will enters. The reason that produces what we call free will is the stumbling block, and what is the mind, but your ego self?
“I want to surrender my ego to God.” It is impossible, it is a mental concept, and the mind or mental concepts do not attain Divinity. It is not attained that way. It is attained when you reach rock bottom. An alcoholic, he is so much in his compulsive drinking it becomes a disease to him, and it is said that it is only when he reaches rock bottom that he changes his lifestyle that the compulsion goes away from him, and he stops drinking. So, to reach that stage of desperation, call it difficulties, is a great boon to humankind. From there, from rock bottom, you can only turn upwards.
SURRENDER HAPPENS AUTOMATICALLY
Man cannot reach surrender; he can get desperation. But that is the stepping stone where you allow the Divine Will to start doing its work because the mind is gone. And Divine Will can only do its work when your mind is finished when you are in a state of no mind; then there is a chance for that spiritual force which we call Divine Will, to enter; its path is not impeded; it is not blocked. Then surrender automatically happens. Surrender cannot be brought about; it happens automatically. You cannot order the grace of God, the grace of Divinity; it automatically happens, only you have to be conducive to it.
However, you do not want to reach a total state of desperation for that to happen, so in our conscious state, through spiritual practices and meditation, when we go beyond the mind, we allow that Divine force to enter us. When the mind is pushed aside when one transcends the mind and goes beyond the mind, then the Divine Will has its play. And that is called surrendering the ego. Remember, you cannot surrender your ego. Divinity makes it surrender for you, not by forcing you, but by infusing itself in your very Being. That Being, that higher Being, infuses itself in the lower layers of Being, which is what Divine Will is about free will.
FREE WILL PRODUCES KARMA, AND KARMA PRODUCES FREE WILL
Free will is the producer of all Karma. Free will produces Karma, and Karma makes free will. It is a vicious circle. As I said, what came first, the chicken or the egg? That is the whole theory behind it and not a cognitive theory. That is what it IS, and it is an IS-ness. To be in that area where Karma can be controlled because Karma is but free will, Karma produces free will.
The Karmic reflections and workings of Karma are what we term free will. We can either do it through desperation or we could do it through spiritual practices. As I have said, open the window, and the fresh air must come in. Open the mind and allow the fresh air; let the Divine Will blow in. That is all. So simple.
… Gururaj Ananda Yogi: Satsang UK 1981 – 02