Understanding God’s Will and Free Will
Hinduism states in a direct manner that God is all pervading and all knowing (Brahman). God exists in many forms and names, and personifies bliss.
Maya and Brahman
God’s creation, the world and all living things, is his divine play or maya. Creation, maintenance and destruction occur due to his will. Ramakrishna Paramahamsa reveals that maya and brahman are the same. But, man is lured into a state of delusion by maya, and identifies himself with his ego, mind and body.
Karma and Free Will
Man’s ego makes him think that can he act as he wishes because he has free will. However, a more realized person, who is aware of the trap of egotism, understands that God’s will reigns supreme. If you act on the whims and fancies of your will, then you will have to face the consequences. This is exemplified by the proverb, “You reap what you sow”. This belief, that one gets what one gives, can be credited with maintaining harmony in society.
God’s Will and Karma
Hinduism says that the law of karma is controlled and dispensed by God’s will. Thus, Hinduism states that while man proposes, it is God who disposes. This can be explained by the following example:
A man makes strenuous preparations to go on a pilgrimage to a holy place. He uses up many days planning, arranging for money, getting materials, booking train tickets etc. But, on the day of departure, he receives the news that his elder brother has just died. This forces him to cancel his plans. Ramakrishna says the bad news at the last minute, which disrupted the man’s careful plans, is an indicator of God’s will. Ramakrishna further advises to surrender one’s will to God and accept his dispensation.
Free Will and Renunciation
Is it possible to totally abandon free will? A self-realized person has no self will. He understands that he is not the doer, as God acts through him/her. Such a person has transcended maya and the world’s dualities. His/her actions are united with God’s will. The more egoistic a person is, the more he/she will insist on the importance of self will. But, realized persons assert that everything exists due to God’s will.