Happy Thanksgiving, America!
The law of free will says that we have the right to live freely as long as our behavior doesn’t harm another. (1)
If it does, the law of karma kicks in and teaches us the costs. (2)
In my view, we start out learning right and wrong from the law of karma. It’s wrong to kill another. It’s wrong to steal from or cheat another. And so on.
We then go on to experience the workings of the laws on subtler and subtler levels as our discernment or discrimination increases.
Karma does that: It works to sharpen our discrimination. It gradually guides us to be like God.
But it does something even more important. It teaches us over time to be able to distinguish God from all that’s not God by a process Hindus call neti, neti – not this, not this. This is not God. That is not God.
And I think that’s its greater purpose.
Why is that?
Because, as far as I know, the purpose of life itself is that God should meet God in a moment of our enlightenment. (3) And that happens as an outcome of discerning the Real from the unreal, the Eternal from the temporal, the One from the many.
Bayazid of Bistun depicts that moment:
“I went from God to God, until they cried from me in me, ‘O thou I!'” (4)
What was two has now become One – again.
Discernment being of such importance in the Plan at its highest levels explains why Krishna would say:
Grow attached [to sense-objects], and you become addicted;
Thwart your addiction, it turns to anger;
Be angry, and you confuse your mind;
Confuse your mind, you forget the lesson of experience;
Forget experience, you lose discrimination;
Lose discrimination, and you miss life’s only purpose. (5)
What is life’s only purpose? To develop the discrimination needed to recognize the One. “O Thou I!” And God meets God in a moment of our enlightenment.
Thus, the final action – to realize that we are God and that God has become everything – is one of discernment: discerning the Real from the unreal, the One from the many.
(1) See “The Law of Free Will” at https://goldengaiadb.com/index.php?title=The_Nature_of_Life_2#The_Law_of_Free_Will.
(2) See “The Law of Cause and Effect or Karma” at https://goldengaiadb.com/index.php?title=The_Nature_of_Life_2#The_Law_of_Cause_and_Effect_or_Karma
(3) See The Purpose of Life is Enlightenment at https://gaog.wpengine.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/Purpose-of-Life-is-Enlightenment.pdf.
(4) Bayazid of Bistun in Aldous Huxley, The Perennial Philosophy. New York, etc.: Harper and Row, 1970; c1944, 12.
(5) Sri Krishna in Swami Prabhavananda and Christopher Isherwood, trans., Bhagavad-Gita. The Song of God. New York and Scarborough: New American Library, 1972; c1944, 41.