Thursday, October 18, 2012

Process of Free Will Action


“This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the LORD your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the LORD is your life, and he will give you many years in the land he swore to give to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.” ………..Deuteronomy 30:19-20

“There is a path of joy and there is the path of pleasure. Pondering on them, the wise (one) chooses the path of joy; the fool takes the path of pleasure. Both the good and the pleasant approach a man. The wise man, pondering over them, discriminates. The wise chooses the good in preference to the pleasant. The simple-minded, for the sake of worldly well-being, prefers the pleasant.” ………….Katha Upanishad 1:2:1-2

I have specifically taken two different verses from the Judeo-Christian and Vedic scriptures to illustrate the purpose of free will operating in man. There is a huge debate as to whether we seriously have free will. Theologically the investment of free will to man by God to make conscious choice in his day to day existence is more tenable in the Judeo-Christian belief system. While in the Vedic philosophy which promotes the concept of Karma and reincarnation, it is rather difficult to accept that man is invested with truly a free will. The purpose of this article is to clarify the deeper meaning of choice as illustrated in the Bible and also to look at the operation of choice in a milieu where predestination appears to dominate.

In the Biblical passage of Deuteronomy there is a choice between life and death given to man by God. This life, of course, we understand is not the physical life. It is life of the spirit in man. But having said that we are faced with another contradiction, namely; knowing that the soul is immortal what is this talk of death? Hence ‘death’ requires a new definition. To aid this definition the second part of the verse is useful. The promised land of which God spoke to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob is not a physical location but a state of the spirit or the soul. 
This is illustrated in the Gospel of Luke; "And it came to pass that the beggar died and was carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom” …….Luke 16:22
Life is associated with an integration with the Divine spirit and death is signified by dissociation from this state of ultimate union or the wandering in the wilderness before reaching the promised land.

The action of free will is not to be associated solely with the human mind. Human mind acts as a an interface between the pure pre-emptive act of consciousness and the physical plane, namely; the brain and associated emotional and physical actions.

This is why the Katha Upanishad verse associated the path of joy or ananda, which is a pure consciousness experience, with the elevated state of soul and the path of pleasure, which is an emotion, with the lower mind dominated choice.

Since the primary causation is at the pure consciousness level the corruptible nature occurs due to the modifications at the subsequent levels of awareness that come into play. When we view the whole process of choice as emanating from the pure consciousness, the action of karma can also be explained as there is an act of predestination or Divine will. But to the  human mind it appears as free choice due to the action of the ego conditioned response to the primary cause. Whenever we make a life / spirit empowering choice, the primary causation is not filtered through layers of contamination. That is we allow the will of the Divine to operate in us. These layers of contamination can be removed through spiritual sadhana. But when we allow the ego dominated mind to filter the primary life empowering choice there is spiritual decay or death. Even in physical death, the spirit is not yet ready to enter the promised land and has to wander in the lower plane or wilderness until the purification is complete.

Love to you all.

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