The Sanskrit word “Karma” is loaded and layered with multiple meanings, so for the purposes of this post, I will limit the topic to Cause and Consequence in relation to fate and free will.
The universal law of Karma seems straightforward enough – every action has an equal and opposite reaction. This is true about every action / motion / intention within the created universe.
If Cause is the action and Consequence is the resulting reaction, doesn’t it follow that the action you perform out of your “Free Will” is the cause; and what you might call “Fate” is consequence?
Or in the language of Karma,
- “Agami Karmas” are your current actions (performed out of choice, or free will), and
- “Sanchita Karmas” and “Prarabdha Karmas” are your past accumulated actions that will come around as Consequences or circumstances (in other words, fate).
In other words, the choices that you will have available to perform your next actions are based on the consequences of your previous actions and consequences. So your Free Will is limited to choosing between the choices you will have based on the consequences of your past actions. As you can see, the simple law can get really complex, really fast.
Therefore Karma becomes an endless cycle of actions and reactions, causes and consequences. Creation itself was born out of this duality. Positive and Negative. Light and Dark. Cause and Consequence. Fate and Free will.
But the problem arose when the human mind was taught to distinguish between those dualities.
How to stop the cycle? How to step off the ferris wheel? The only way out of the rat race is to transcend it. By recognizing that fate and free will don’t exist on their own. That cause and consequence are not separate – they’re one single entity.
With this awareness comes clarity. With illumination the darkness dissolves. If you work your way back to the Source, there is no duality. There is only singularity – the absolute. And that’s the ultimate goal of the spiritual seeker.
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