Freedom and Karma
We have seen that the real nature of man is freedom. Freedom is not conceived as a character or a quality belonging to the soul, it constitutes the very essence of the scul. A quality or a character is something different from that to which it belongs, but freedom does not belong to the soul, the soul is freedom. But then, Vivekananda also believes in the Law of Karma. He is of the opinion that our actions produce tendencies-karma, in accordance with which our future lives are determined. He, like the ancient Indian thinker, believes that man normally performs his actions out of ignorance. He somehow or other forgets his own true nature, fails to discriminate between the real and the unreal, and consequently performs his actions in the light of his wrong and false notions. Such actions create sarhskdras or tendencies which determine his future nature. Now, a doubt arises : how can Vivekananda maintain at the same time the determining character of karma and man‘s freedom ? If man’s entire personality and actions are determined by his karma-tendencies, then man is determined; how can we say that freedom constitutes his real nature ?
Vivekananda is aware of this problem, and solves it in a number of ways. Firstly, he says that freedom does not mean absence of all kinds of determining factors, in that case freedom would be a state of chaos. Freedom, truly speaking, does not mean ‘no-determination‘, it means self-determination, which suggests that the free agent is determined not by anything else but by himself. If this is understood, freedom and karma no longer remain incompatible with each other. Man's karmas determine his nature, but they.are MAN’s karmas, his OWN actions create tendencies that bear fruits for the future. Secondly, karma does not contradict man’s freedom also because final escape rests ultimately again on man's ‘own actions. By his own good deeds man can win over his ignorance and suffering. That also shows that man is basically free. Again, Vivekananda solves this problem more or less in the Vedantic fashion by showing that the apparent incompatibility of karma and freedom is only apparent. The soul-the Atman. in fact, always remains free– is never in bondage. The apparent state of karmabondage, is really a delusion created by ignorance, it is merely lila in which the soul has become involved. When he would finally win over this delusion he would be amused to find that he was, in fact, never in bondage.
Written by – Late SRI, BASANT KUMAR LAL
Aim of Article- Aim of this article on Swami Vivekanandas life is to inspire people to live
meaningful life by indulging their selves into the path of spirituality, by taking the guidance of
a true guru to become (liberated soul ) in this life.
Copyright- Motilal banarsidass