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NITAAI-Veda.nyf > All Scriptures By Acharyas > Bhakti Bhavana Bisnu Swami > A Short Presentation on Jiva-tattva > Free Will

Free Will


Free choice is an inherent quality of all living entities, yet this quality is greatly misunderstood. As we will show, residents of the spiritual world are blissful and are never forgetful of their eternal position as servitors of the Supreme Lord and therefore will never misuse their free will. All living entities in the spiritual world are on the same transcendental platform. References for this are given later in this presentation. There is no more chance for a jiva to leave the spiritual world than it is possible for Baladeva to give up his relationship with Lord Krsna.

A living entity misuses his little independence when he wants to lord it over material nature. This misuse of independence, which is called maya, is always available, otherwise there would not be independence. Independence implies that one can use it properly or improperly. (Bhag. 3.31.15, purp.)

The devotees of the Lord do not misuse their freedom. (Bhag. 1.8.23, purp.)


The living beings are given as much freedom as they deserve, and misuse of that freedom is the cause of suffering. The devotees of the Lord do not misuse their freedom, and therefore they are the good sons of the Lord. (Bhag. 1.8.28, purp.)

A pure devotee of the Lord is so purified in his heart that he cannot leave the shelter of Lord Krsna in any circumstances. There is no self-interest in such service. (Bhag. 2.8.6, purp.)


Bhaktijana: When the souls that were never conditioned at all..., do they also have the independence?

Prabhupada: Yes, but they have not misused. They know that "I am meant for Krsna's service," and they are happy in Krsna's service. (670218CC.SF)


Krsna says He has given free will, but His personal advice is: "I am now talking to you the most confidential words." Sarva-guhyatamam. "You stop your so-called free will. Just surrender to Me." This is the most confidential. "If you surrender to Me, that is good for you. But if you go on keeping your free will you'll not be happy." (


In the ISKCON GBC Position booklet (OOPs p. 194) it is stated that the residents of the spiritual world have the free will to leave, as a crazy man has the free will to jump off the roof. In this booklet they state that these residents are indeed crazy (bewildered) when they leave. This explanation is very insubstantial and misleading. In the material world we always have the choice between matter and spirit but in the spiritual world there is no matter so one will not and cannot choose matter.


The living entity enmeshed in maya sees no viable choice besides maya, in the sense that he is attached and thinks that this life of maya is in his best interest. Although he has the free choice to choose spiritual life, he sees this as a threat to his sense gratification and therefore undesirable. In the spiritual world however, the living entity, fully absorbed and overwhelmed with ecstatic love, cannot bear the thought of doing anything averse to the Lord's interest—seeing this as a threat to his continued absorption in pure loving ecstatic devotional service—his very life. In the spiritual world, all the living entities are fully self-realized. As shown below in section 6a, they have fully realized the conclusions of sastra—that they are an eternal servant of the Lord, and they are fully experiencing their realizations of eternal blissfulness. It is not that they know every last detail of sastra. For example, some of the gopis were previously the Personified Vedas. Although as gopis, they are celebrated as exhibiting the highest standard of devotion and are recognized as such by Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu—ramya kacit upasana vraja-vadhu-vargena, they had almost no knowledge of the Vedas, and state as much in their wonderful prayers upon meeting their beloved Krsna after so long at Kuruksetra. (Bhag. 10.82.48) Yet we should not agree with them that they are ordinary girls simply engaged in household affairs. They are the personification of the Vedas, absorbed in the highest mellows of devotion—krsna-prema.