Here and Now

'There is neither destiny nor free-will,
Neither path nor achievement; this is the final truth.'

(Stray Verses) p. 93

Maharshi's statement specifically negates the concepts themselves, and the application of them only by inference.

'Destiny', like 'free-will', is a word which seeks to describe a concept, as also are 'path' and 'achievement'. They are not sensorial perceptions, interpreted as having objective existence, but structures in mind whose existence is inferential only, i.e. directly conceptual.

Therefore they cannot have any nature of their own, such nature as pertains to them depending entirely on an assumed 'entity' to which they as concepts can be applied. Being nothing themselves, their truth or falsehood depends upon the truth or falsehood of the 'entity' to which they are attached and whose comportment they are designed to explain.

It follows that if there is an 'entity', a question arises as to whether such entity suffers 'destiny' or not, exercises 'free-will' or not, has a 'path' to follow or not, can claim an 'achievement' or not.

There seem to be two ways of answering this question: one is by asking the awakened Masters, the other is by asking oneself. As for the former I think I am correct is stating that in all Advaita, whether Vedantic or Buddhic, the totality of great and known Masters have categorically declared that no such thing as an entity has ever existed, exists, or ever could exist. The Buddha mentions the fact nineteen times in the Diamond Sutra alone.

As for ourselves, each of us can try to locate such an entity either subjectively or objectively. The results of my own efforts, if that should have any interest, have been entirely, and in my own view definitively, negative. So that it seems to me to be reasonable to declare that the explanation of Maharshi's magnificently categorical statement is that there is neither an entity to suffer destiny, nor an entity to exercise free-will, neither an entity to follow a path, nor an entity to achieve an aim.

Should it not follow that if we are lived, without attempted 'volition' on the part of a purely suppositional 'entity', we may ask what could there be to have cares and worries, for the disappearance of a supposed 'path' can only leave what inevitably must be our normal and eternal condition here and now, in lieu of 'achievement'?

Note: An entity requires inferences such as 'space' and 'duration', an entity is subject to limitation, an entity is an object and needs a subject.

(© HKU Press, 1966)

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