Bhagavagd Gita - Session 21- Track 2103

That can be also a kind of further argument: even in this form of determinism, such as the famous argument, which was put before Napoleon. Napoleon was a believer in destiny, and he said everything happens according to the destiny: destiny is working out. So, Napoleon was asked: if everything is worked out according to the destiny, why do you, you, yourself go on planning this, cancelling this planning, taking another plan, and introducing other elements? So, his answer was that “even ‘that’ is determined, that I will do like this is also determined”. Even then the question still remains: when you say that “even ‘that’ is determined”, what does it mean? That means that there are two levels of determination: one determination, which is happening as it is happening; another, in which you decide, although you are determined to decide to do that; but still, it is another level, another layer. And how that layer comes into the picture?

If you try to understand the Gita’s position in this regard, which is a very important proposition of the Gita, you will find that the moment you accept that the Nature consists of 3 Gunas, you have already decided that there are 3 levels of action. Prakriti is not only Tamasic; Prakriti is also Rajasic; Prakriti is also Sattwic. Now, this very statement itself is very complex. When you say: prakṛtiṁ yānti bhūtāni, all things are determined by Prakriti, even there, you have to say that Prakriti itself has three layers. Therefore, one layer is not determining, the 2nd layer also is working, the third layer is also working; and there is a difference in the working of the three layers.

If you are only Tamasic, then you hardly have any choice before you, even the idea of choice does not present itself. If somebody is entirely sick, cannot even wake up, cannot even wake up, Prakriti is entirely Tamasic, now you say you are free to wake up and take your medicine with your own hands, even that possibility does not exist. The very fact of his impossibility of doing anything leaves him only one choice: that he has to be served; he can do nothing by himself; there is no choice before him. The moment you say that there is another element, Rajasic element in him, the question is: how this new element comes about? If there is only one Prakriti, how does this Prakriti get another fold on it? So, there must be something, which creates another possibility; and you can see that as soon as the Rajasic nature begins to develop, you will find the Rajasic development presentation of multiple choices. In Tamas there is only one choice, hardly any choice at all. But in the Rajasic, the moment you begin to have the force of kinetism, which arises from Rajas, you have several choices, and then you say: I will do this, or I can do this, or I can do that.

Now, it is argued that the moment there is a choice, there is a tendency to choose. Now, this choosing is done by whom? There is something other than the Prakriti, which is making a choice; or even that is questioned, and said that no, even ‘he’ who thinks that he is making a choice is also part of Prakriti, ahaṁbhāva is also part of Prakriti. So, you might say that the Prakriti itself, having created so many possibilities is itself choosing out of so many possibilities, and is acting accordingly. Even if you say this, the fact remains that there is a phenomenon of choice; there is a larger flexibility in the movement of Prakriti; and then a choice is made whether there is somebody else than Prakriti or not, but at least, there is an appearance that there is something else than the Prakriti, which makes the choice, at least an appearance. Whether this appearance has any reality or not can be seen only afterwards, but at least you can say that there is an appearance that there is something other than the Prakriti which is making a choice.

Now, it is often argued that even though that there may be this appearance, really speaking there is no freedom, when you say, “Look I have a choice of making a factory here, or going abroad, or there is a third possibility that I give in charity everything that I have, or a fourth that I engaged myself doing what I am doing now and making no plans at all; all these possibilities exists before me”, and then you say: I freely now decide “this”, now, even though you feel that you are doing freely, the calculus argument would be that if you examine all the four possibilities, if you examine the past way in which you have been developed, the forces which are working on you at that time, the pressure of the circumstances, the pressure of your family, the pressure of your perception of the future, all that you put into it, all is part of Prakriti. You put all that into picture, then, you can calculate before hand that you will not choose anything else than what you ultimately choose, because you are determined, there is no other alternative. You may think that there was a freedom to you, but actually speaking you count everything, you calculate all the forces in the picture, and you will find that you are forced to take a decision in this direction. So, again you may say: prakṛtiṁ yānti bhūtāni, the Prakriti itself determine you to do “this”.