Freewill: A Hindu Perspective
Editor’s Note: FāVS is launching a new series on Freewill. For the next few weeks our columnists will answer questions on the topic, including: What is free will? Do human beings have it? Is it possible to have some form of free will in one or more areas of life and not in others? What role, if any, does God play? If it exists, does it bring a sense of security, if it doesn’t exist does it lead to complacency? How does your view impact concepts of justice and accountability?
We are free to make our own decisions in life. We create are own destiny.
The Vedas say if you sow goodness you will reap goodness. If you sow evil you will reap evil.
We don’t believe in fate, we believe in the law of karma. Everything that happens to us is because of our actions in this life or a past life, whether they are good, bad or mixed experiences. These experiences are all good because they help us to mature as a soul.
Experiencing the World
God has given us this world to have experiences so we can mature. At the core of our soul is God and we are here to realize that. We came from God and are on a journey back to God. We are already one with God we have to learn to live up to that perfection.
These experiences help us to grow like a acorn into a mighty oak tree.
Karma is the teacher. Maya, the playground where we make our karma’s, and Anava is our ignorance or sense of separateness from God.
Karma is on many levels personal, family, community, national, global and universal. Specifically, there are three types of karma. First is sanchita, the sum total of our karmas yet to be resolved. Parabadha are karmas we are experiencing in this life, and kriyamana are karmas we are currently creating.
God is loving and helps to evolve spiritually. He is not wrathful or punishing. It is our karmas that come back on us that rewards or punishes us. We can atone and soften or dissolve our karma’s.
Another law is that there is no experience that you cannot handle. By living a religious life, virtuous living, selfless service and penance karma’s can be softened or negated.
Going to a Hindu temple, God, the great inner plane, beings and devas can help to clear up karmas going back many lives.
Pilgrimage and daily spiritual practices such as home worship, meditation, hatha yoga, changing mantras, scriptural study and singing to God and the gods will soften karmas.
Donating time money and helping to build a temple brings good merit. Supporting orphanages, homes for the elderly and religious institutions is helpful. Passing on our religion to the next generation will bring good karma and fulfill our obligation as a parent or elder.
When you do these practices good things will happen in life for you. Your timing will be perfect and opportunities will come to you. Creating bad karma can bring woeful births and problems for family friends and country.
From the Tirukural
Virtue yields Heaven’s honor and Earth’s wealth. What is there then that is more rewarding for a man There is nothing more rewarding than virtue,nor anything more ruinous than its neglect.