Hukam and Free Will

April 19, 2007

Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh!

Sorry for the lack of posts in the recents months. I have not really been reading very much as a result of which I did not have much to share.

Over the last 5 weeks I have been attending the Understanding Jap ji Sahib course which Amardeep ji is conducting. The first four weeks were dedicated to understanding some basic concepts of Gurbani so that we will be better able to appreciate Jap ji Sahib. I shall share these concepts in the next few weeks.

As the title mentions, I plan to talk about Hukam and Free Will. Often we get confused as to what is Hukam of God or the Will of God and what is Free Will. In this post I intend to share with you about these concepts.

Hukam/ Will of God

Any law of nature is Hukam. For example Newton’s Law of Gravitation or Newton’s 1st Law of Motion.

Before I go on, I must state that gurbani does not talk to our physical body, it talks to our invisible body or “Sooksham Sareer”. The ” Sooksham Sareer” is made up of three things. Mun (mind), Budhi (Intelligence) and Aahankar (Ego).

It is the ” Sooksham Sareer” that leads us to make decision, carry out actions etc. The three aspects of the “Sooksham Sareer” act as per the law of nature or Hukam . Some of you may wonder how does Aahankar or Mind always act under the will of god. In order to say whether some thing acts as per the law of nature or not we need to know what that law is.

Mun ( mind) – role assigned is the path of least resistance.

The mun will tell you koi na one more burfee wont mean any harm. or like my mun tells me…go back to sleep!

Budhi ( Intelligence ) – role assigned to do the right thing !

It is the Budhi that must take control of the situation and say no more burfee or no more sleep get up do path.

Aahankar ( Ego) – role assigned , cloud the budhi

Ego will make you feel all big and proud and cloud yr intelligence and tell you, ” I am invincible and you go to an exam without much prep.”

As you can already tell the Mun and the Aahankar work hand in hand to ensure you don’t always do the right thing. That too is Hukam!

Free will also lies under the domain of Hukam, the law it follows is that you have the choice to do what you wish to do.

Having established that Free Will lies under the domain of Hukam, we cant say, ” Oh if god wants me to be good I will be good , etc”. We ought to do out best, putting our budhi to the right use and fight against the mind and ahankar. Doing so we must be able to leave the result to God, that is not in our control unlike our actions ( via our budhi).

That is all I have to share from my notes. Amardeep Ji if there is anything you would like to correct or add please let me know.

Guru Ang Sang Hove



7 Responses to “Hukam and Free Will”

  1. Inderjeet Singh Says:

    Having read above, i will like to add that Hukam is not the result of everything we do. Generally, we confuse between Hukam and Result. Let me explain : Result is the outcome of our actions based on the Laws as per Hukam. Hukam is a set of laws and rules which Akal Purakh created once at the beginning of the world. Since then the world has been governed by these rules. Hukam is like a constitution which has been created once.

    Now when we agree that everything is happening as per Hukam, then it could also mean that we donot have any free will. But this is wrong. It could also mean that we donot need to do anything. A simple example is that we have the free will to sow a seed of whatever kind, (ie do any action), but whether it will grow into a tree, bear fruits or not, will be as per the Hukam (ie set of laws).And Hukam (ie set of laws, ie constitution)takes into account our past and present karmas (deeds) while giving the result.

  2. Angad Singh Says:

    Result, I believe is also hukam.

    Our job is to do our best and leave the results in the hand of god. We aim for the stars and work towards that and if we only reach the tree top we should not get disappointed.

  3. Upinder Kaur Says:

    ਗੁਰਿ ਮਿਲਿਐ ਸਭ ਮਤਿ ਬੁਧਿ ਹੋਇ ॥
    Meeting the Guru, all wisdom and understanding are obtained.
    ਮਨਿ ਨਿਰਮਲਿ ਵਸੈ ਸਚੁ ਸੋਇ ॥
    The mind becomes pure, when the True Lord dwells within
    ਸਾਚਿ ਵਸਿਐ ਸਾਚੀ ਸਭ ਕਾਰ ॥
    When one dwells in Truth, all actions become true.
    ਊਤਮ ਕਰਣੀ ਸਬਦ ਬੀਚਾਰ ॥੩॥
    The ultimate action is to contemplate the Word of the Shabad. ||3||

    Mat(ਮਤਿ) is the thought process which we have to control. Its like a vehicle on a round about, Its steering wheel has to be controlled so that it takes the correct road.This thought process(ਮਤਿ) when we meet the Guru gets converted into Budhi(ਬੁਧਿ) and if we get involed in Ego(ਹਉਮੈ) gets converted into man(ਮਨਿ).
    Its not so simple but what I am trying say is that our thought process(ਮਤਿ) is the pilot of our actions and thus the result. Our thoughts which lead us to lust and greed and on other hand these very thoughts can make us accept his will and be contented.
    Bhul Chuk Maff

  4. G Singh Says:

    Very good discussion (both in the blog and comments).

    I think you guys discussed how the thought process goes. I sort of agree with Upinder Kaur that mun is standing at a point where it has to decide between two paths – one is lead by Budhi (Informed) and the other one by Aahankar (uninformed). There are three kinds of people – one who follow budhi (follow the hukam), one who follow aahankar(do not follow the hukam), and one, like me, in dubidha (duality).

    A person who is informed will do the right thing. As Angad Singh has argued, budhi’s assigned “role . . . [is to] to do the right thing !” But how would do you decide what is right, because there is no definite definition of “right.” For example: Some argue that eating meat after taking amrit is right, but others do not.

    Here I would take Upinder Kaur’s ਪ੍ਰਮਾਣ (evidence):
    ਗੁਰਿ ਮਿਲਿਐ ਸਭ ਮਤਿ ਬੁਧਿ ਹੋਇ ॥

    It all depends on Karams if one will have budhi. “Karam” means two things – grace and deed. One can argue that who follow ego or are in duality have done bad deeds in their previous life. But, I follow the other meaning. Who win the current life are one with Waheguru’s grace, and whatever they do is right:

    ਜਿਨ ਅੰਤਰਿ ਹਰਿ ਹਰਿ ਪ੍ਰੀਤਿ ਹੈ ਤੇ ਜਨ ਸੁਘੜ ਸਿਆਣੇ ਰਾਮ ਰਾਜੇ ॥
    Those whose hearts are filled with the love of the Lord, Har, Har, are the wisest and most clever people, O Lord King.

    ਜੇ ਬਾਹਰਹੁ ਭੁਲਿ ਚੁਕਿ ਬੋਲਦੇ ਭੀ ਖਰੇ ਹਰਿ ਭਾਣੇ ॥
    Even if they misspeak outwardly, they are still very pleasing to the Lord.

    ਹਰਿ ਸੰਤਾ ਨੋ ਹੋਰੁ ਥਾਉ ਨਾਹੀ ਹਰਿ ਮਾਣੁ ਨਿਮਾਣੇ ॥
    The Lord’s Saints have no other place. The Lord is the honor of the dishonored.

    ਜਨ ਨਾਨਕ ਨਾਮੁ ਦੀਬਾਣੁ ਹੈ ਹਰਿ ਤਾਣੁ ਸਤਾਣੇ ॥੧॥
    The Naam, the Name of the Lord, is the Royal Court for servant Nanak; the Lord’s power is his only power. ||1||

    Who lose the current chance do not have Waheguru’s grace and are influenced by ego.

    One who are in dubidha are in the worst situation because they are traveling on two boats simultaneously.

    How can one get Waheguru’s grace?

    With ardas. People with ego can not do it because their ego influence would not let them do it.

    And, the bani of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Jee mostly focuses on Ardaas. Most of the shabads end with Guru Sahib Jee doing ardaas or suggesting to get guru’s grace. Since there is no difference between Guru and God, Guru’s grace is the only way to cross this ocean of sorrows.

    ਹਮ ਅੰਧੁਲੇ ਗਿਆਨਹੀਨ ਅਗਿਆਨੀ ਕਿਉ ਚਾਲਹ ਮਾਰਗਿ ਪੰਥਾ ॥

    ਹਮ ਅੰਧੁਲੇ ਕਉ ਗੁਰ ਅੰਚਲੁ ਦੀਜੈ ਜਨ ਨਾਨਕ ਚਲਹ ਮਿਲੰਥਾ ॥੪॥੧॥

    This is Waheguru’s game that we are playing. If we can recognize who we are (ਮਨਿਮਨ ਤੂੰ ਜੋਤਿ ਸਰੂਪੁ ਹੈ ਆਪਣਾ ਮੂਲੁ ਪਛਾਣੁ ॥).

    How can one recognize oneself?
    With Waheguru’s grace.

    How do we get Waheguru’s grace?
    With Ardas only (Good deeds of thousand years can’t get you what can be achieved by doing prayer; for example, Santokha Jogi from Santokhsar)
    ਨਾਨਕੁ ਏਕ ਕਰੈ ਅਰਦਾਸਿ ॥ਵਿਸਰੁ ਨਾਹੀ ਪੂਰਨ ਗੁਣਤਾਸਿ ॥੪॥੧੮॥੨੪॥

  5. Angad Singh Says:

    Fateh Veerji..

    There are three kinds of people – one who follow budhi (follow the hukam), one who follow aahankar(do not follow the hukam), and one, like me, in dubidha (duality)….I disagree with you on this..there is no such thing as not being under Hukam..everything is under Hukam which is a Law.

    As for how does one make the right decision, that is where your teaching and knowledge come into play. If one Does bani with their heart, the person will know what is right for them.

    So meat no meat? Yoga no Yoga? Do your bani, do Aardas guru sahib will tell you what to do..its upto u it or not that he leaves to you..and that is what separates Gurmukh and Manmukh

    Akaal Sahee

  6. tirath singh Says:

    Not quite, budhi only affirms and acts upon one line of thought arising within man. If budhi is, as you suggest, inherently ‘the right way’, it makes the concept of vivek redundant. Vivek is in practice a budhi that is correctly oriented to make decisions based on sat (that which is eternal) rather than affirming thoughts that are based on asat (that which is illusory).

    A superb discussion though. Its great to see sangat who think about such things.

  7. Gabbar G Says:

    There is a very thin line between “Man” and “Budh”, and most people are not able to differenticate between the two. As Tirath Veerjee says, we make make decisions based on our worldly (Asat) knowledge, which however may be not in accordance to “Bibek/Vivek”. The very fact that one so proudly states that he/she made the right decision by keeping his/her mind (budh) over the heart (Man) is ones EGO (Ahankar) speaking.

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