Once while traveling in train, i met a person who broached a conversation with me, seeing me chanting.
He asked me abruptly,” Tell me, I have been thinking for sometime and cant seem to get a cogent answer for my doubt. I said,” Oh, what is it?. He said,” Tell me, If we are given the results of our previous activities (karma), where is the question of our independent decisions. I mean once an entity commits a sin, he falls into endless suffering ordained by the superior authorities. How can God who is known to be fair and all-knowing allow this? I mean the living entity is forced to commit further sinful activities by the reaction of his previous sinful activities,which is again reactions to previous sinful activities. Even a person of this world, would not be so unfair. I fail to understand how God can be witnessing the forced suffering of the people of this world”.
I could understand that he was quite frustrated in his mental speculation to find an answer for this. I asked him, ” Do you really believe in the existence of GOD?. He said,” Don’t you? I don’t expect that question from you (looking at my bead bag). Are you doing what you are doing out of fancy?” I got what i wanted in terms of understanding that he was really seeking. Now, i thought there is meaning to answer him and also could understand that this man has some background of spirituality. Actually i asked him the question since i had once read Joseph Stalin saying,” God is not unjust. He just doesn’t exist. If God existed, He would have made the world more just…. I’ll lend you a book and you’ll see”.
I said,” Tell me, if you buy a plane ticket to Delhi and board the plane and let us say that the plane has took off, can you reverse your decision to not fly to Delhi?”
He said,” I don’t think, i can !!!
I said,” Right, so you will certainly continue the journey, right?
Now that you have accepted that, this decision cannot be reversed, I am sure you will also agree that you will certainly have the opportunities to make new decisions while in the flight, right?
“Meaning, let us say you will make the decision to buy food or not buy food from the air-hostess, you may make a decision to read a book or the magazine available to you in the flight, or you may choose to take a nap, or would choose to start a conversation with your co-passenger, right?”
I thought,” Thus far, he is with me”. I aired,” Hmmm, albeit, you have been forced to fly due to your own decision, but during the flight, while you are undergoing the reaction to your own decision by flying in that plane, you have ample opportunities to make further new decisions which will result in some reactions. I was encouraged by his positive look and continued,” If you were to cause a violence in the flight, you would certainly be arrested once the plane lands or if you make friendship with a business man, it could lead to an avenue for a business for you as well. Similarly, when a living entity is in a particular body, which is due to its own past actions, within the human form, it has been given free will and decision-making while going through certain circumstances. So, if the living entity is fortunate enough to contact transcendental knowledge, then he is able to use his free will properly. And, even if an entity doesn’t get proper knowledge, still ignorance of the law is not an excuse for punishment. Hence, the Lord is in no way responsible for what we are undergoing. We are responsible for what we are going through. He is merciful to us by giving us guides in the form of Vedic Scriptures, Sadhus and spiritual master, in whose association, we are given chance to rectify our free will tendencies. But we very carefully and diligently try to evade them and the greatest irony, is even in that hellish condition of life, we think that we are enjoying life and hardly quest for the reality, like you did.
My station had reached and i hurriedly bid him farewell, while i saw the satisfaction on his face through his smile.
After i got down, i also reminisced, somebody telling me, “He sends rain on the Just and the Unjust”.
H H Radhanath Swami says,“The essence of spiritual life is simply to use our free will properly”.