In the previous discussion, we demonstrated there's no essential difference between this world you live in and experience every moment and the Cause of this universe.
How was this demonstrated? A classic Vedic example of ornaments and gold was used.
Gold is the substance. Ornaments are also the same substance in various forms — to which we ascribe names for sake of discerning between a “ring” and a “chain”.
How romantic is it to say “He got on the knee and offered me Gold” — over “and offered me the ring”. Despite the former being more true.
And what happens when he or she loses the ring? A misfortune in seems. Sleepless nights. Reassessment of the relationship perhaps.
In other words, a series of protests over gold melted into shape of a ring in under ten seconds by the goldsmith.
Same principle be applied to ignorance of what this world is made from. Without knowledge of the substance, small things become big.
Meaning whatever business you have with ornaments (whether moral or immoral) — you are only ever dealing with it's essential substance.
No Gold. No ornaments. No business.
In the same way, there's no essential difference between world (of infinite ornaments) and the Cause of the Universe called God.
It's as though you are swimming in God.
However this explanation raises a valid criticism from the listener worth addressing…
The student's concern is, “You reduce God to human level by using cause and effect (discussed in previous sessions), and other tools of logic. My understanding is that God's will cannot be questioned! He is beyond our limited power of reason. Beyond our small minds. Whereas according to your contention, God and we are identical. If your interpretation is the truth, then why do we have conflicts in the world? Why the misery and violence? The One must be affected by all our problems.”
“The One Cause is not affected by it's creation, nor by anything that happens within it.
Like sunlight revealing everything — it remains untouched and bright, serene and unwavering.
Violence and conflict, animate and inanimate — are all revealed by the Limitless One.
For example, no pollution or environmental degradation can desecrate space.
It's the same with Consciousness. Untouched by what it reveals, it supports the universe.
We have explained at length the ontological status of the world.
It is mithya, dependent-real.
Satyam can never be affected by mithya.
Just as no matter what happens in the movie, moral or immoral — it's order of reality doesn't affect the screen.
Whether movie of a different director, historical period, character — it keeps projecting on the same ancient screen.
What's more, what you term as “God's will” is the very order we call Creation.
Order like cause and effect, ends and means.
There is no asking why and where about this order. It is just and fair.
It's the same as asking “Why the sun should rise every day from the east side? Why not for a change rise from the west?“.
This is a ludicrous question. Because even if sun was rising from west, then you could equally ask “Why not rise from the east?“.
The fact that sun rises from east is God's will. Distance between earth and sun, force of gravity, speed of sound, etc. They are variables already willed by this vast Intelligence.
So we see around us the order at work in every aspect of our life.
If God's will was beyond comprehension — then how will you explain the chaos, the confusion reigning around us?
It would make God whimsical — blessing some and damning others.
How can we rely on a whimsical being? It most certainly cannot be Limitless Intelligence called God.
If we look through the apparent chaos, we find there is order in the world.
Every effect has a prior cause. Every end comes from a means, whether known or not.
The misery, pain and violence are effects of various causes. A mingling of fate, psychology and free will.
Given the law and order of the created world — we are responsible for the rights and wrongs using or abusing our gift of free will.
In other life forms, it is more an instinct — the will to survive, a nature's programming to propagate the species.
Whereas a human being is privileged a gift of deliberate choice — weighing our options, choosing one and discarding others.
This precious gift specially endowed to us, is meant for use with care. “
The student continues, “How do we know if it is fate or free will that decides?”
“It is an age old debate; the question of free will or fate.
Again, there is an order of cause and effect. We see it working everywhere, although we don't take notice of it.
If we do, we come to see a past action gives a present result.
Extending this order to life beyond — what we call fate of today is the result of our free will exercised yesterday.
And the conscious choices you are making now will contribute to your fate tomorrow.
In short, a past life's action fructifies in the present.
This logic we can accept because it follows the observable law of cause and effect.
Extending cause and effect even before this lifetime — a person's past actions in a previous life of which he has no remembrance — decides his or her birth, genetic code and many situations destiny holds for him.
Past life's hopes, unfulfilled desires, hurt and pain (given and gained) — are some of the factors which contribute what personality and life you have in this lifetime.
However it doesn't mean your present life is set in stone, despite the force of past life's factors. Just as force of any addiction can be alleviated through time.
It is the use, disuse or misuse of your free will in this lifetime that yields the fruits of actions.
For example, if the force of the past is to belittle the world — and you choose to yield to that force — then a gloomy view is sustained. Or we can intercept the force by choosing an alternative perspective.
We enter this world with certain predisposition, talents, predilection, flavors from our past lives. To achieve our potential, we have to act. We have to choose to do or not.
Fate cannot play it's cards without you, the player.
Fate itself follows an order ordained by the Creator.
Destiny has dealt us the cards, time, place, family and circumstances.
It is our game. We have to make the moves. They either bind you or free you.
This is where fate plays it's part. Meaning we have a choice laid out…
A life of acquisition and success OR a life of study and contemplation — discipline and renunciation.
If the end we wish to pursue is knowledge of the Truth, we must choose a lifestyle appropriate to our desire. Because ends and means must align to achieve the chosen goal.
There will be obstacles, numerous hidden variables over which we have no control, since we don't know what they are.
But with patience and devotion, a single-minded approach — you can surmount even the steepest slope.
We must work towards our chosen goal without anxiety of future result. Thinking about the end robs energy and focus from the present means. Which paradoxically reduces the chances of attaining the end.
Rather being mindful of the process and it's details, see your present efforts as mark of devotion.
Whatever results you receive, remember, they are a blend of free will and fate. We accept them with grace… as blessings of God. “
The student asks about right and wrong, “How do we know what is right and wrong without being taught? Life is rarely black or white. Situation we face are often fluid. Life is invariably in shades of grey. Can we ever escape the clutches of fate?”
” Right or wrong we can sense instinctively. It is the reason we call it universal.
If education is required, then it wouldn't be available to everyone. In which case, God's law of dharma would be including some and excluding others. This would imply a defect in the order.
Universal values like the one's we commonly sense — not-hurthing-ness and truth — applies to all people in all situations in all countries.
These of course have to be fine tuned to suit unique individual roles and situations.
Modified or specialized values differ according to each person's age, status, occupation, time, place, culture and so on.
For these modified rights and wrongs — we need help, advice and counsel from wise people.
Whereas for universal rights and wrongs, every human being knows.
However due to emotional pressures, we choose to ignore them consciously, but more often mechanically.
Thereby gathering many fruits of action, turning ourselves over into the ready hands of fate, the law of cause and effect. “