Karma and Free Will
How much of our life is determined by karma, and how much by our free will? Sadhguru explains, while the residue of the past has an impact, the karma of this moment is always in our hands.
Questioner: I want to know about how much of our life is governed by karma and how much is our free will? You talked about it in the morning but it’s like… so many people I’ve heard said everything in your life is governed by karma and the others, like, we make choices. So how… if we make a choice is… are we creating the karma from our choice?
Sadhguru: Looks like the mor… morning session went over your head. Karma means what? Action. Whose action? ‘My action.’
Questioner: __ (Inaudible)
Sadhguru: No, no, no, who’s action? ‘My action.’ Whose responsibility? ‘My responsibility.’ So if it is your action, is it by your will? Yes or no? It is by your thought, by your emotion and your action - this is how you perform your action, isn’t it? So karma means, till now whatever you did, the residual impact of that is definitely there upon your life. But this moment’s karma is in your hands. Yesterday’s karma, you cannot change, but this moment’s karma is in your hands. This moment karma… this moment’s karma should… could be a karma of freedom or of bondage. If you do… if you handle this moment in a certain way, you will be (free?) from everything that was yesterday. If you do not handle it that way, yesterday will rule you today; this is also your karma, this is also your…
See, please do not understand karma as some kind of punishment and reward. It’s not like that. It is just that everything that you touch with your mind, with your emotion, with your body, a bit of it sticks to you; the residual action is remaining with you. Yesterday whatever you did, is it not there in your memory? Is it not there in your memory? Is it not influencing what you do today? Yesterday what you thought, is it there in your memory? Is it not influencing your thought and action today? Yesterday what you felt in your emotions, is it not there in your memory? Memory is not just physic… I mean mental memory. Memory is on many different levels; it is in your body, it’s in your chemistry, it’s in your energy, in many different back-up systems are there for your energy… for your memory.
So this memory is acting itself out. But this moment if you wish to be conscious, this memory you can use it whichever way you want. You can look back on your life and laugh at all the stupid things that you did. You can look back on your life and cry, ‘Why did I do all this stupid things?’ Or you can look back on your life and learn that, ‘Okay, I did all these stupid things yesterday, what is the smart thing that I can do today?’ Same karma. Yesterday’s karma is same karma but this moment’s karma can be different depending upon how consciously you act this moment, isn’t it? This moment’s karma can be either karma of sweetness or bitterness. Yesterday might have been sweetness or bitterness; you cannot change that. Can you change what you did yesterday? You cannot change that. But what you make out of it today, that you can change, that is always in your hands, always and always, it’s in your hands. ‘And is everything karma or free will? Is my life being determined by this, that? What’s happening?’ Tch. Do you golf? Do you play golf? You do? (To the questioner)
Participant: ____ (Inaudible)
Sadhguru: I knew. (Laughs) So this happened. One day… one evening, Shankaran Pillai and his wife on a full moon evening like this, they got little romantic and then his wife got little emotional. And then she held his hand and said… they were sitting on bed and she said, ‘Suppose I die, will you marry once again?’ Shankaran Pillai said, ‘No! No, never! I will never marry.’ Then she became upset. ‘Why? Has it been so bad for you, this marriage?’ (Laughter) He said, ‘No, it’s been very good. Okay, I will marry.’ (Laughter) Then she again became emotional. ‘Will you… will you bring that new wife into this… our house?’ Shankaran Pillai thought and said, ‘Then where else should I go? I have to bring her into this house, isn’t it?’ She became little depressed. ‘Will you actually use the same bedroom?’ He said, ‘Where else? Can I build one more… one more bedroom in this house? No. I think I will use this bedroom.’ ‘Will you take her out golfing?’ He said, ‘Yeah, because I need to go golfing. I will take her golfing.’ ‘Will you let her use my clubs?’ Shankaran Pillai said, ‘No, she is left-handed.’ (Laughter/Applause) You don’t know what’s lined up for you. (Laughter) Please.