All feel this conflicting view – we feel that we are free, but we also feel we are not free. Swami Vivekananda says (Complete Works, V8 p 35 and available here under the heading Lectures and Discourses sub-heading Discourses on Jnana-Yoga - http://cwsv.belurmath.org/volume_8/vol_8_frame.htm):
Vedanta says, ‘We are free and not free at the same time.’ That means that we are never free on the earthly plane, but ever free on the spiritual side. The Self is beyond both freedom and bondage. We are Brahman, we are immortal knowledge beyond the senses, we are Bliss Absolute.
But first, does the universe repeat. The universe does repeats. This is taught in scripture. Brahma Sutras 1.3.30 says (Swami Vireswarananda translator, available here - http://www.wisdomlib.org/hinduism/book/brahma-sutras/d/doc62753.html):
And because of the sameness of names and forms (in every fresh cycle) there is no contradiction (to the eternity of the Vedic words) even in the revolving of the world cycles, as is seen from the Sruti and Smriti.
And in his commentary on this verse, Sankara says:
…This eternal existence of the world in gross and fine forms are brought out by the Sruti and Smriti texts. ‘As formerly the Lord ordered the sun and the moon, heaven, earth, and sky’ etc. (Rg-Veda 10.190.3).
And in Brahma Sutras 2.1.35-36 it says:
If it be said (that is) not (possible) for want of any distinction in work (before creation), (we say) no, because of (the world) being without a beginning.
And (that the world is without a beginning is reasonable and is also seen (from the scriptures).
And Sankara’s commentary on verse 35:
…is answered by the Sutra, which says that creation is without a beginning and the question of first creation cannot arise. It is like a seed and its sprout. So the individual souls have always had a previous existence and done good or bad deeds in accordance with which their lot in a subsequent creation is ordained by the Lord.
And his commentary on verse 36:
Reason tells us that creation must be without a beginning. For if the world did not exist in a potential state in the form of Samskaras (impressions), then an absolutely non-existing thing would be produced at creation. In that case even liberated souls might be reborn. Moreover people would be enjoying or suffering without having done anything to deserve it—an instance of an effect without a cause, which is absurd. It cannot be attributed to primeval ignorance, which, being one, requires the diversity of individual past work to produce varied results. The scriptures also posit the existence of the world in former cycles in texts like ‘The Lord devised the sun and moon as before’ (Rg-Veda 10.190.3).
So partiality and cruelty cannot be imputed to the Lord.
Swami Vivekananda says (Complete Works, V2, pp 229-31 and available here under the heading Jnana Yoga, sub-heading Immortality - http://cwsv.belurmath.org/volume_2/vol_2_frame.htm):
But the question of immortality is not yet settled. We have seen that everything in this universe is indestructible. There is nothing new; there will be nothing new. The same series of manifestations are presenting themselves alternately like a wheel, coming up and going down. All motion in this universe is in the form of waves, successively rising and falling. Systems after systems are coming out of fine forms, evolving themselves, and taking grosser forms, again melting down, as it were, and going back to the fine forms. Again they rise out of that, evolving for a certain period and slowly going back to the cause. So with all life. Each manifestation of life is coming up and then going back again. What goes down? The form. The form breaks to pieces, but it comes up again. In one sense bodies and forms even are eternal. How? Suppose we take a number of dice and throw them, and they fall in this ratio — 6 — 5 — 3 — 4. We take the dice up and throw them again and again; there must be a time when the same numbers will come again; the same combination must come. Now each particle, each atom, that is in this universe, I take for such a die, and these are being thrown out and combined again and again. All these forms before you are one combination. Here are the forms of a glass, a table, a pitcher of water, and so forth. This is one combination; in time, it will all break. But there must come a time when exactly the same combination comes again, when you will be here, and this form will be here, this subject will be talked, and this pitcher will be here. An infinite number of times this has been, and an infinite number of times this will be repeated. Thus far with the physical forms. What do we find? That even the combination of physical forms is eternally repeated.
A most interesting conclusion that follows from this theory is the explanation of facts such as these: Some of you, perhaps, have seen a man who can read the past life of others and foretell the future. How is it possible for any one to see what the future will be, unless there is a regulated future? Effects of the past will recur in the future, and we see that it is so. You have seen the big Ferris Wheel in Chicago. The wheel revolves, and the little rooms in the wheel are regularly coming one after another; one set of persons gets into these, and after they have gone round the circle, they get out, and a fresh batch of people gets in. Each one of these batches is like one of these manifestations, from the lowest animals to the highest man. Nature is like the chain of the Ferris Wheel, endless and infinite, and these little carriages are the bodies or forms in which fresh batches of souls are riding, going up higher and higher until they become perfect and come out of the wheel. But the wheel goes on. And so long as the bodies are in the wheel, it can be absolutely and mathematically foretold where they will go, but not so of the souls. Thus it is possible to read the past and the future of nature with precision. We see, then, that there is recurrence of the same material phenomena at certain periods, and that the same combinations have been taking place through eternity. But that is not the immortality of the soul. No force can die, no matter can be annihilated. What becomes of it? It goes on changing, backwards and forwards, until it returns to the source from which it came. There is no motion in a straight line. Everything moves in a circle; a straight line, infinitely produced, becomes a circle. If that is the case, there cannot be eternal degeneration for any soul. It cannot be. Everything must complete the circle, and come back to its source. What are you and I and all these souls? In our discussion of evolution and involution, we have seen that you and I must be part of the cosmic consciousness, cosmic life, cosmic mind, which got involved and we must complete the circle and go back to this cosmic intelligence which is God. This cosmic intelligence is what people call Lord, or God, or Christ, or Buddha, or Brahman, what the materialists perceive as force, and the agnostics as that infinite, inexpressible beyond; and we are all parts of that.
In the Gita (IX. 7-8), Krishna says (Swami Gambhirananda translator):
O son of Kunti, all the beings go back at the end of a cycle to My Prakrti. I project them forth again at the beginning of a cycle.
Keeping My own Prakrti under control, I project forth again and again the whole of this multitude of beings which are powerless owing to the influence of (their own) nature.
And in Gita VIII. 19:
O son of Prtha, after being born again and again, that very multitude of beings disappears in spite of itself at the approach of night. It comes to life at the approach of day.
And in Gita XVIII. 60-61:
Being bound by your own duty born of nature, O son of Kunti, you, being helpless, will verily do that which you do not wish to do owing to indiscrimination.
O Arjuna, the Lord resides in the region of the heart of all creatures, revolving through Maya all the creatures (as though) mounted on a machine.
In the Gospel if Sri Ramakrishna, Ramakrishna Paramahamsa says (Chapter 9 – Advice to the Brahmos and available here - http://www.belurmath.org/gospel/chapter09.htm):
VAIDYANATH: "Sir, I have a doubt. People speak of free will. They say that a man can do either good or evil according to his will. Is it true? Are we really free to do whatever we like?"
MASTER: "Everything depends on the will of God. The world is His play. He has created all these different things-great and small, strong and weak, good and bad, virtuous and vicious. This is all His maya, His sport. You must have observed that all the trees in a garden are not of the same kind.
"As long as a man has not realized God, he thinks he is free. It is God Himself who keeps this error in man. Otherwise sin would have multiplied. Man would not have been afraid of sin, and there would have been no punishment for it.
"But do you know the attitude of one who has realized God? He feels: 'I am the machine, and Thou, O Lord, art the Operator. I am the house and Thou art the Indweller. I am the chariot and Thou art the Driver. I move as Thou movest me; I speak as Thou makest me speak.'
So the question becomes, if this universe and all these forms repeat and there is no free will, is a man free to do whatever he wants? No. What matters is your mind and your motive. Again, in the same chapter of The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna, Ramakrishna says:
"'As is a man's feeling of love, so is his gain.' Once two friends were going along the street, when they saw some people listening to a reading of the Bhagavata. 'Come, friend', said the one to the other. 'Let us hear the sacred book.' So saying he went in and sat down. The second man peeped in and went away. He entered a house of ill fame. But very soon he felt disgusted with the place. 'Shame on me!' he said to himself. 'My friend has been listening to the sacred word of Hari; and see where I am!' But the friend who had been listening to the Bhagavata also became disgusted. 'What a fool I am!' he said. 'I have been listening to this fellow's blah-blah, and my friend is having a grand time.' In course of time they both died. The messenger of Death came for the soul of the one who had listened to the Bhagavata and dragged it off to hell. The messenger of God came for the soul of the one who had been to the house of prostitution and led it up to heaven.
"Verily, the Lord looks into a man's heart and does not judge him by what he does or where he lives. 'Krishna accepts a devotee's inner feeling of love.'
"In the Kartabhaja sect, the teacher, while giving initiation, says to the disciple, 'Now everything depends on your mind.' According to this sect, 'He who has the right mind find the right way and also achieves the right end.' It was through the power of his mind that Hanuman leapt over the sea. 'I am the servant of Rāma; I have repeated the holy name of Rāma. Is there anything impossible for me?'-that was Hanuman's faith.
Krishna says (Gita XVIII. 62):
Take refuge in Him alone with your whole being, O scion of the Bharata dynasty. Through His grace you will attain the supreme Peace and the eternal Abode.
Understand that there is no free will, but think and act as if there is free will