Letter 57

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11th August, 1946
About ten months ago, Krishna Bhikshu wrote to me saying that he was thinking of gifting away his property to his brothers and then taking to sannyasa and going about the country, hoping thereby to get peace of mind, and that he was wondering what Bhagavan would say about it. I informed Bhagavan about this letter.

Bhagavan first said, “Is that so? Has he finally decided?” and after a while remarked, “Everything happens according to each individual’s karma.”

When I wrote to him about this, Krishna Bhikshu replied: “It is said that ‘Karthuragnaya Prapyathe Phalam, fruits of actions are ordained by the Creator.’ What has become of the Creator?” I was disinclined to tell Bhagavan about this, and was considering what to write in reply.

Meantime, one devotee asked Bhagavan, “In ‘Karthuragnaya Prapyathe Phalam’ who is the karta (doer)?” Bhagavan said, “karta is Ishwara. He is the one who distributes the fruits of actions to each person according to his karma. That means He is Saguna Brahman. The real Brahman is nirguna (attributeless) and without motion. It is only Saguna Brahman that is named as Ishwara. He gives the phala (fruits) to each person according to his karma (actions).

That means that Ishwara is only an Agent. He gives wages according to the labour done. That is all. Without that sakti (power) of Ishwara, this karma (action) will not take place.

That is why karma is said to be jadam (inert).” What else could be the reply to the question of Krishna Bhikshu? So I wrote accordingly to him.

With the supernatural powers of his sandals, Vikramarka went to Brahma Loka, the world of Brahma, whereupon Brahma, being pleased, told him to ask for a boon. Vikramarka said, “Lord, the Sastras loudly proclaim that when you create living beings you write on their foreheads their future life according to the results of their actions in past lives. Now you say that you will give me a boon. Will you rub out what has already been written on my forehead, and write afresh? Or will you correct it by overwriting? What exactly is done?”

Brahma was pleased at his intelligent question and said with a smile, “Nothing new is done now. That which was already preordained according to the karma of beings, comes out of my mouth. We merely say, ‘Yes, we have given you the boon.’ That is all. Nothing is given anew. Not knowing that, people do penances for boons at our hands. As you are an intelligent person, you have found out the secret. I am very happy.” So saying he presented Vikramarka with Brahmastram and sent him away. I remember having read this story in my younger days.

In the tenth canto of Bhagavata, the same idea was given in the exhortation of Lord Krishna to Nanda: to give up the performance of a sacrifice to God Indra.