Sanatana Dharma is a way of Life and it imparts a way of Living to people. It enquired inti the nature of Life, Death and After Life. Experiences of those who searched for this knowledge are recorded as/ in the form of Samhita,Brahmana, Aranyaka and Upanishads.And the principles one has to uphold in Life are also explained throughout.
In its quest to find out what lies beyond Life, reasons for our difficult times and pleasant periods, Sanatana Dharma informs in detail about Free Will and Determinism.
Are we free to do everything in our Life? Or our actions and events are determined beforehand ,which many call as Fate? If the latter is true, then one is not responsible for his actions including his attainment of Moksha. He is also not responsible for his actions, and consequently for the results thereof. Therefore theory of Karma goes for a toss. Karma Yoga,Gnana, Bhakthi and Raja Yogas also become redundant as all our actions are predetermined.
On the other hand, we have Free Will , which means that whatever we do or what we are is of our Free Will. This does not explain away the dispositions of an individual or the Events in his life as they do not happen the way he/ she wishes.
So, the discussion about Determinism and Free Will is never ending. And to resolve this at philosophical level is daunting.
Ithihasas and Purans address this issue. There are N number of controversies about persons/ events in them. It may relate to Dharma, An Event where the Avatar of God is present in the Epic.
One such highly controversial episode is the Gambling in Mahabharat, in which the Pandavas lost, not only their Kingdoms but the eldest among Pandavas, Yudhishtir,gained ignominy for his betteting his brothers and even wife as a Wager!
The germ of Mahabharata war was sown here and the Mahabharata war resulted in near annihilation of a dynasty and in enormous loss of life.
That the Pandavas won the war against a superior Force of Kauravas is because of the presence of Sri.Krishna on the side of Pandavas.
Sri. Krishna is an Avatar of Vishnu and He is the Personification of Reality, Everything is His and He is in Everything. He is The Eternal Time. There is Nothing beyond Him.
Yet Mahabharata happened despite Krishna’ s presence in Mahabharat.He could have prevented Mahabharata war . He could have easily stopped the Gambling indulged by Yudhishtir and Duryodhana. He did not. Yet the same Krishna talks about Dharma,among other issues in the Bhagavad Gita.How is Dharma compatible with Gambling,which is regarded as one of the five great Sins?Could not Krishna have saved the Pandavas Kingdoms,the humiliation heaped on Draupadi at the Royal hall where she was stripped in Public , stopped the war by the single act of stopping the Gambling of Yudhishtir and Duryodhana?
This failure, as it were, doesn’t go well with Krishna, an Avatar of Vishnu.
Life presents us with Choices.At any given point of Time,we are presented with limited number of choices. For the same issue, we may be presented with either more or less number of choices at another point of Time.So , our Freedom or Free Will is limited to the number of choices are are presented with.Determinism comes into play on the number of choices presented to us.So Free Will and Determinism are both in operation.
And let’s look at our tendencies or dispositions. Not all our dispositions or attitudes, tendencies are not acquired by us. Those that acquired by us how are they present? They are there because of our Vaasanas, remnants of the fruits of our actions. Shall write in detail later.
This question was asked by Uddava of Sri.Krishna.https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uddhava
Now on to the great teacher Sri. Krishna answer the riddle of His remaining quiet? Or His not stopping the Gambling in Mahabharat?
“Uddhava, what I spoke to arjuna in the battle-field then is Bhagavd Gita. What I will now speak to you is Uddhava Gita. I have created this opportunity just for that. Ask without any hesitation.”
Uddhava started, “First I need one clarification. You were an intimate friend of the Pandavas. They trusted you implicitly as a friend in need. Being aware of not only the present but also the future, should you not have prevented Dharma from engaging in the dice play as an illustration of the definition of a good friend that you have preached? Why have you not done so?
Let it be. Once the play started, you could have made Dharma win and taught a lesson to the cunning ones. You did not do that either. Dharma lost his wealth, his kingdom and himself. He could have been spared with that as a punishment for having gambled. You could have entered the assembly when he wagered his brothers. You did not do even that.
Duryodhana challenged, ‘Draupadi is lucky. Play with her as the stake. I will return all that you had lost.’ At least then, you could have swung the fortune by making the bogus dice turn in Dharma’s favour. You did not do that also. On the contrary, only when Draupadi was disrobed and she was about to lose her honour, you saved her and boasted that you had saved her honour.
When a third person seized her tresses, dragged her to the court of cunning people and touched her clothes, what honour was left? What is your pride about? Is not the one who rescues a friend at peril the friend in need? Are you a friend in need, having failed to do so? Is your action righteous?” Uddhava was in tears.
This is not merely the mental upheaval of Uddhava; they are the issues all of us raise after reading Mahabharata. Uddhava has raised them with Krishna for us close on the heels of the war.
“Uddhava, the rule of nature is that the one who is circumspect should win. Dharma did not have the wisdom which Duryodhana had. That is why Dharma lost.”
“Duryodhana was not adept in dice play. But he had abundance of wealth to offer at stake. He said, ‘I will offer the stake, my uncle will roll the dice.’ That was a master stroke. Dharma could have said, ‘I will offer the stake. My brother-in-law, Krishna, will roll the dice.’
If Sakuni and I had played, who would have won? Could Sakuni have been able to roll the numbers I called? Or, would I not have been able to roll the ones he called?
Let it be. It might be forgiven that Dharma forgot to include me in the play. But, he made another unwise thing. He prayed, ‘Alas, I have committed to play dice by destiny. Krishna should not come to know of this. He must not by chance come into the gambling house.’ He bound me out of that place. He prayed to me that I should not go there. I stood outside waiting for someone to call me. ‘Source of quote below.