Free Will, Destiny and Krishna-karma

HH BVPS Maharaja: Predestiny and free will are simultaneous. One is the situation, one is what you do with it. And with your free will you are creating the next situation, and through the exercise of your free will, you receive your previous stuff.

It’s like this. Was it by your free will that you stepped off the curve unto the street? Yes or no? The light turned green, and you stepped off the curve, was it your free will? Yes, okay. Now, the Mac truck that happened to come by and run you over, that’s the predestiny. But it was for your free will that put you in front of that truck. [Laughter] You know what I am saying? Was it your free will that you are driving down the highway at 90 miles an hour? Yeah. But it’s predestiny that there is another car going the opposite way at 90 miles an hour that happens to run into you. Do you understand? So it’s their free will to be the car that will run into you. They don’t have to be. They could have driven properly, that’s their free will.

(..)

Prabhu: You gave the example that if somebody uses his free will and steps off on the road in front of the truck, then the effect that he gets run over by the truck, that’s predestiny. So if he exercises his free will more carefully, will that predestiny of being run over still happen to him somewhere along the line?

HH BVPS Maharaja: What does that matter? Yeah. See, the thing is is, what do you want to get out of it? Means, think about the question.

Prabhu: Being run over by a truck…

HH BVPS Maharaja: Okay. But what’s the problem with being run over by a truck?

Prabhu: Not remembering Krishna.

HH BVPS Maharaja: Not remembering Krishna. That’s the real problem in getting run over by a truck. Because the point is, if you get run over by a truck, you will get a new body. You know, it’s just like you go out and buy the ice cream, and the kid drops the ice cream, and then the mother will buy him a new ice cream. You know, what I am saying? So the real problem is not remembering Krishna.

Prabhu: So if he got run over by a truck while remembering Krishna, it’s a quick ticket.

HH BVPS Maharaja: Yeah, it’s a quick ticket. You know, not necessarily an ideal ticket, but… [Laughter] You know, generally most think of some nice, more peaceful, you know, devotees, kirtan, that kind of a more environment, not many think about trucks and… Does it make sense?

So the point is is, why are we worried? Because we want that things will go nicely in the material world, but the point is, material world is not nice. You know what I am saying, you have nice and not nice, like let’s say you are part of a gang, okay, the gang is not nice. But let’s say, today the gang leader is not punting you around the block. So, today he is nice. You know, what I am saying? That’s all. You said something stupid, and he didn’t throw you into the elevator shaft with the crocodiles. You know what I am saying? So, that’s nice, so that’s the whole point is, it’s simply material comparison. In other words, I think it’s modern, the idea of the curve, you know, of grading in school. Everybody basically failed, so you draw a line over those who really failed, and those who just failed. And the guys who just failed got an A, and the guys who really failed, then they got the D, or the F. So it’s just in comparison, that we say it’s like this. But the actual point of what gives the results, it’s because Krishna said what’s good or bad. So you get proper results or not proper results, because Krishna, there is an Absolute Truth of what’s right or wrong. But us thinking the material world is a nice place, that’s just comparing less nice to more nice. You know what I am saying?

You know, our non-organic building of just bricks and glass, and this and that, is nice, because it’s in an area that’s not spray-painted with graffiti. And we have a tree, there is a tree on the sidewalk. While you go to another bureau, and then it’s not so nice, also our windows aren’t  barred up, while theirs are. But it’s still bad, it’s still just cement. But we’ll say, this cement is good, that cement is bad. Do you understand? Or person says, “Well, yes, you know, yes, I would like to die in my sleep,” something like that, so then they’ll think that’s good. But the point is is, you are still dying, so that part gets left out. Do you understand? So you have to be very careful that, “Oh, if I did this, would it change?” No, the point is is, even if you changed, there is still the material world. So, unless it’s connected to Krishna, then there is no problem. You know, what I am saying?

In other words, when it’s connected to Krishna, the real problem is gone. And then, according to our conditioning, then Krishna will arrange the situation for whatever reason. Does that make senses? Because then we forget. Because sometimes, when Krishna make it nicer, we’ll remember Krishna, “Oh, Krishna is so kind,” and all that. And sometimes, when we are not remembering Krishna, then by it not being nice, then we remember Krishna. So whatever is going to be favorable for remembering Krishna, that’s what we are gonna get.

So it’s like, “Why does Krishna make it this way? You know, it’s so bad.” But the point is is, it’s only bad because we are attached. If we are not attached, it’s not so bad. You know what I am saying? So because we are attached, that’s why it’s there, just to show that there is no value to it. If we are not attached, what’s the need? So the point is is, in any case, it’s the focus on Krishna consciousness, not on how to remove the material problems. No, you focus on Krishna consciousness, whatever material problems will go away, will go away. And whatever won’t wont. Does that make sense?

Prabhu: Removing the material problems, Krishna does that part.

HH BVPS Maharaja: Yes, it’s not ours. Ours is to follow Krishna’s direction for His pleasure. We do that, then everything will be at its best.

Prabhu: So, Maharaja, exercising my free will, whatever situation I get in I am trying to improve my relationship with Him, even if it’s bad…[indistinct]

HH BVPS Maharaja: Yes, yes. What went wrong, what actually went wrong? So the situation being bad, that’s not what actually went wrong, it’s how you responded in that situation. So we look at it, well, what will improve the situation? What will improve the situation is how you are going to respond in that situation. So if we responded badly, it won’t improve the situation in the future. Because one hasn’t learned. If one has learned, see, on the material platform, justice is justice, you’ve done the work, you get the result, because ‘I did my work, I get my good result. I did my work, I’ll get my bad result.’ So whether you have reformed or not, it doesn’t matter, you get the result. Does that make sense?

You go to the restaurant, you order something, and then, in the meantime, you know, a friend comes in and says, “Hey, I got this,” and you eat that, and then you are not hungry, and then when the waiter shows up, “Oh, I’m not hungry now, it’s ok.” But you are still going to get it. [Laughter] Does that make sense? So the point is is,  it’s only for the devotees, practicing devotional service that it may not happen or not. Because if it’s necessary, it will, if it’s not necessary, it won’t. So if it happened, it was necessary.

Prabhu: And then seeing that it’s something necessary, we see how we should have acted in that situation…

HH BVPS Maharaja: Yes, so, or in other words, means, if it’s obvious, you can see it, or with some contemplation you can see it, great. If you can’t see it, then still understand, it’s Krishna’s arrangement. You bring it back to Krishna, because the point is to remember Krishna. And what I should have done still has to be connected to Krishna.

(From Lecture on Bhagavad-gita 4.11-4.15, 4 November 2010, Bhaktivedanta Academy, Sri Mayapur Dhama )

Full lecture audio here:

This passage starting 01 hr 08 mins 40s

Lecture notes HERE

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