Search & Read
Do I Have Free Will?
Question: Hi, Arlindo. Let’s say I go to a store and decide to have vanilla ice cream instead of chocolate. Am I the doer? If not, who is? Are you saying God is the doer? God chooses what ice cream I eat? Are things predetermined? Do I have free will?
Arlindo: Yes, you do have free will to choose, but the problem is that generally speaking our free will is only driven by our desires and aversions – our likes and dislikes. This kind of free will is mechanical and often fails to take into consideration the interest of other beings and the environment. In other words, our vasanas dictate our decisions, our “free will.” Free will is a profound subject.
My take on it is that for as long as one exercises free will driven by one’s binding vasanas such free will is not really free, but compulsively driven. But things get more complicated when we bring into the picture the fact that even compulsively driven (binding) vasanas may be an expression of free will, provided they are thoughts and actions in total harmony with dharma.
The bottom line is that free will is the will to think and act in harmony with Isvara, the scriptures. To conform one’s thoughts and actions to the scriptures is the true exercise of jiva’s free will.