If Krishna is the cause of all causes, is he the cause of everything that we and others do?
The Spiritual Scientist Q&A
Transcribed by: Geetanjali Nath Mataji
When Krishna is the cause of all causes then isn’t He the cause of the evil things that people do? Or in other words, if God is omnipotent then doesn’t that mean that we don’t have any free will? If He is the controller of everything then isn’t He the controller and the cause of everything that we do also?
No, because the word “cause” has different meanings. And, we need to understand that Krishna is the cause of all causes but He is the cause of all causes in different ways. We all have free will, for e.g. if there is a billiards stick and it is hit against the ball, and the ball goes and hits another ball, so this billiards stick hitting is the cause of the motion of all the other balls. But when we talk about the actions of conscious beings, there is a difference, for e.g. if somebody walks into this room just now and gives me some good news, now on hearing this news I may say “Thank God, I am so grateful”, “Thank you Krishna”. Now we could say that the person’s speaking was the cause of my exclaiming “Thank you Krishna”. But it is not exactly the same because, if that person had told me, I might have responded in different ways, instead of saying “Thank you Krishna” I could have said “Yes I have done it now”, “Yes it’s good luck “, or I could have responded in any number of different ways. So in this case because we all have the capacity to choose our responses, so therefore, there may be stimuli, the causes that actually act in the sense of a stimuli, but we can choose our responses. And that is the essential difference between sentient and insentient beings. When you talk about physical causes acting on physical objects or insentient objects, then there is no capacity for choice of response over there, that means that things will act in a specific ways – if a vehicle is parked on the road and a truck comes and hits it, so the whole trajectory of the truck, of the motion of that vehicle after the collision with the truck, will be determined by the laws of motion, and that is the cause. But if there is a human being along the way, human being may freeze, human being may try to jump out of the way, human being may just lie flat on the ground and try to escape unhurt from under the truck, or the human being may scream hoping that the truck driver will notice and jam the breaks and stop the truck in time. So the point is, now none of these responses would have taken place if the truck had not come charging down. In that sense they are caused by the coming of the truck, but at the same time they are not caused in the sense that they are not pre-determined. A different cause could have been chosen if the person had been different, or a different choice could have been made, a different action could have been chosen, or even if the same person had been in a different mind, then a different action could have been chosen. So what this means is that Krishna is the cause of all causes, in the sense that it is He who is ultimately the stimuli behind everything that happens. So of course, why particular things happen to us, we could have intermediate causes, like say the cause in the terms of law of Karma or whatever, but He gives us free will, and that’s why He cannot be held responsible for everything that happens and our freedom is not taken away because of His omnipotence. His omnipotence means that it is by His sanction that everything happens, and in that sense He is the cause of everything but still He is not the cause of everything in the sense that He allows us free will. Now even the gamut of free will that we have, that is dependent on the way we have used our free will properly, and that is dependent on the way we choose to act. But still it is undeniable that we do have free will. So by now assuming that God is omnipotent, does that necessarily mean He is the governor or He is the shaper, He is the determiner of our behavior? No, by His omnipotence He has given us free will and with that free will He gives us the opportunity to choose how we want to act, and depending on how we act, we get the reactions. So therefore He is not the cause of our actions and even the events that happen to us. We can say He is the ultimate cause but when the events happen because of other people’s actions, then He is the ultimate cause but He is not the immediate cause. So both ways, our free will and others’ free will, is not compromised or contradicted by Krishna’s omnipotence. And similarly Krishna’s omnipotence is not brought into question by the presence of our free will.