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Karma, Causality and Freewill

Friend (F): Guruji, What is Karma? Is it not deciding everything every one does? If everything is predetermined, how can there be freewill?

Guruji (G):

This question is very simple to ask, but complicated to answer. It is a very good question. I don't think I know the answer even partially. But let me try to tell you what little I know.

What is Karma? It says, you reap what you sow. If you sow good thoughts, say good words and do good deeds, you get things which makes you happy. If you sow bad thoughts, say bad words and do bad things, you get things which makes you miserable. It is true, you reap what you sow. But does it say you do not reap what you did not sow, but other's sow? That does not follow. That is very important fact to remember.

Does it also say anywhere that because of Karma, every thing is pre-determined? Is Karma a law of predetermination? Is it like the flow of time, which goes on inexorably from past to present and into future. Even if it was a flow of time like an arrow, it is still not clear how everything including the will to think, speak and do are completely determined.

What about the Karma which you do for the sake of others? Don't the others reap what you have sown for them? If you hit someone, that person feels the blow. The farmer has sown seeds of rice and vegetables; I enjoy the rice and curry. We have to get clear about our ideas: not only do we enjoy the fruits of our own actions, but also the fruits of other's actions impinging on us, making us happy or miserable. I am not the sole reason for my state of being. The world has a great say in that. In fact I owe my very existence to the act of love between my father and mother; when I was not even in their minds, nor did I have much of a choice in getting the spark of life. I was an accident. I won a luck dip in which a billion of my possible brothers or sisters who were dead but trying to get a chance to live. How can we say everything is predetermined even in a classical sense?

In me there are billions of living cells. Like our Sun, there are billions of Suns (called stars) in in our world. Roughly, I as a human being stands somewhere as a harmonic mean between the very large and very small systems. Very large systems are about 24 powers of ten times larger than me; I am 24 powers of ten larger than the smallest constituents of matter. I and Universe share the properties of large redundant systems.

One of the significant properties of large systems is the arrow of time. It seems to be irreversible, even though the equations of motion of individual particles are not sensitive to the direction of flow of time. In the equation: force equals the product of mass and acceleration, you can replace "t" by minus "-t"; yet the equation merrily remains the same because (-dt  x -dt=+dt  x  +dt). What it means is that considered as an individual particle, you are perfectly free to move forward or backward in time. Nothing stops you from that. Only in a collective sense, you cannot do it.

This means that even in a classical sense, you have a freedom. You could go forward or backward in time. An individual can do that. A person is free to think, speak and do what she wants. However, the rules change, if a collective is involved. Statistical rules come into play. It is very easy to mix up two distantly colored handfuls of sand masses. To separate the mixture it is very hard. The ease with which we can create disorder and the difficultly in creating order puts the arrow on time. We say that time flows in the direction of increasing disorder. There is a collective Karma, influencing how you tend to behave or ought to behave.

But listen. A particle has two modes of existence; one in which it looks and acts like a particle, and another in which it looks and acts like a wave. These are two ways of looking at the reality. Any one way is not superior or inferior to another. Now we are moving away from classical mechanics to quantum mechanics.

A particle supposedly exists at one place and time. A wave exists at all places at the same time. There is a very interesting relationship between the speeds of a particle and its wave. The product of the two speeds is c x c , where c is the speed of light. It follows that if the speed of the particle is v , which is less than c, then the speed of the wave has to be larger than c so that their product remains the same. Now another very interesting point comes up.

Any thing going slower than the speed of light has to go forward in time, into future. And, any thing moving faster than light has to go back in time, into past.

So now we have a dilemma. A description of the particle is saying, the particle is moving slower than light and going into future. Another equally valid description says the wave is going into past. Both are same, both are valid representations! One is moving into disorder; this is the material part. The other is moving into order; this is the wave part. The funny thing is that both are happening at the same time. Are we confronted with conservation of entropy, another form of energy?

Now I am venturing into uncharted waters. I am leaving science which is concerned only with an objective reality independent of any subject. I may not be right; I may be quite wrong in fact. From this point on, you may believe or disbelieve. It does not matter; because a fact cannot be reduced to a belief. Go by facts, not by faith in me. I repeat, I am fallible. You are warned.

I wish to think that the wave representation corresponds to consciousness, or awareness. Since waves have the property of superposition, they can interfere with each other constructively or destructively at different points. When many waves interfere constructively there is a very high degree of order generated. Coherence creates, manifests high degrees of order which seem to violate behavior of inert matter ( which prefers disorder), described so well by science which has not taken the subject into consideration.

I suppose this is what Krishna is saying to Arjuna in Gita: whenever disorder increases largely in the world, I come again, to reestablish order; to protect the pious and destroy the confusing. What we are witnessing is a pendulum swinging between order and disorder, between time going back and forth.

Consciousness has power over matter. If I tell you, get up, you simply get up. Your physical body by itself cannot do that. It is inert; it cannot violate gravity. But your consciousness controls that and allows an impossible event of levitation to become possible. This is a daily miracle, going unnoticed.

Now let us work with these ideas. Through my awareness, I can really go back in time; and through my physical body I can come back to the present moment. Let me do a thought experiment.

Suppose I become coherent (some how, kundalini may help perhaps) wave, I move faster than light, go back into a time when my grandfather has not given birth to my father. And I shoot my Grandpa. Now I come back to the present time with or without my physical body. Now I ask the question, do I exist or do I not exist?

Logical time based reasoning (shall we call it popular view of Karma?) states that since my father never was born, how could I be born to my father? So I don't exist. Then who is asking the question? I. So I exist. So we see that my ability to use my two representations wisely has enabled me to define two equally valid and opposite states of my being; namely, 1. it is true that I don't exist, and 2. it is true that I exist. I have created a new possibility, not determined by the irreversible flow of time, which I call Karma. In fact I have changed my destiny; I now have two bodies. One that exists and one that doesn't. How clever! What happened in the time after I shot grandpa and now? May be, because my father was not available ( he was not born), my mother could not, and so did not marry him, but found some one else. There might have been progeny, a different scenario altogether. My ability to go back into the past and act there has affected not only my destiny, but of so many other people as well, creating a tremendous confusion like a miracle does to us now. We know it is there; we don't know how it happened.

If we can move in time, many impossible things can be done. Put your thinking caps on. You can walk through walls. A wall may be a wall for a particle, but is not a wall for a wave. So an alpha particle, being a wave, doesn't have to climb a wall; it can simply leak out through the wall.  We call this radio-activity. You can read other's minds. Your coherent waves can interact with the thought waves of others. You can see through other's eyes. You can go to the next galaxy and comeback without a space ship before I can blink my eye. A space ship would be an obstacle. Your going there is tough enough; carrying it with you will be tougher. You will be able to see time like you can see space; you develop a 4 dimensional vision. The concept of distance vanishes for you. You can become small, like an atom and so vanish from vision; or become huge like a tower. The notions of before and after lose their meaning. Is the nose of a dog earlier or later than its tail? The only thing that survives perhaps is the topological connectivity. In this sense, Karma has to be redefined as connected-ness of proximate areas in space-time. What is disjoint can't be connected; what is connected can't be separated. But one can kill both (disjointedness and connectedness) and start afresh. The freewill not only exists, but exists absolutely.

What appears impossible now may become ordinary in future, when people manage time like they manage space. This is the promise of investigating into knowing who you are.

The next question: What is a particle? That which behaves like one, not like many particles; even if it did consist of many. In my present state I don't look or function like a particle, because all the waves constituting me are so wide apart, separate. I behave like a conglomerate, to which this simple approach doesn't work. But suppose I work myself into a trance, a hypnosis, where all my thoughts are focused on one single thought, " I am " , then, I become a particle and a coherent enough wave to which statistical thermodynamic laws will not work. I eat up all time and space; they are in me. Distance in time or space matters little, if I can move with infinite speed. I am everywhere at the same time. I have an " oceanic " awareness. In such a state which people call "Samprajnata Samadhi" , situations are created just by a thought. The thought is so powerful; it searches every nook and corner of the space time world, and manifests it taking care of all consequences. I think coherence is the key for bringing order back into our world; to wind the clock back and start afresh. We don't have to lament, time lost is gone for ever. Ever reformatted a disk and wrote it all over again?

Am I there? No, definitely not. Am I trying to be there? Yes I am trying. So I can't teach you all the things I am talking to you about. May be they are just guesses; you may be better in finding the truth about Karma, than I found. If you do, please teach me.

I can't help you much in this matter. I am a blind soul trying to grope in darkness. Please find some one who is a Siddha; not one who is trying to be.

Sorry if I could not be of much help. This is all I think I know about Karma.