From the (Source: Day by Day with Bhagavan, 4-1-46 Afternoon)

Questioner: “Are only important events in a man’s life, such as his main occupation or profession, predetermined, or are trifling acts in his life, such as taking a cup of water or moving from one place in the room to another, also predetermined?”

Ramana Maharshi: Yes, everything is predetermined.

Questioner: Then what responsibility, what free will has man?

Ramana Maharshi: What for then does the body come into existence? It is designed for doing the various things marked out for execution in this life. The whole programme is chalked out. “Not an atom moves except by His Will” expresses the same truth, whether you say “Does not move except by His Will” or “Does not move except by karma”. As for freedom for man, he is always free not to identify himself with the body and not to be affected by the pleasures or pains consequent on the body’s activities.

My question is, how does a person then create āgāmi / new karma?

  • 1
    Afaik, Agami karma is not "created" as you understand the word. All the three Sanchita, Prarabdha and Agami are all preset. Its just as time flows Agami becomes Sanchita. As future becomes past as time flows.
    – user22253
    May 29, 2021 at 6:52
  • @Vivikta Can you please mention the source? It is interesting. Because this is not the traditional Hindu view on Karma. May 29, 2021 at 6:58
  • 1
    But the flow is controlled by one's will, so it gives the illusion the you are creating new karma. But this will is not free, it eworls as per Prarabdha. So its all automatic giving you the illusion that you are creating new karma
    – user22253
    May 29, 2021 at 7:00
  • 1
    @AmritenduMukhopadhyay , it's not my question. it's Curious Seeker's Question. I have only edited it. Yet, I have added a source too.
    – Vivikta
    May 29, 2021 at 7:02
  • 1
    Everything in life is predestined like parents, siblings, profession, consort, children, time of death, etc., which is collectively encoded in one's Vedic horoscope based on time, date and place of birth. Free-will is mere illusion. "A child is born on that day and at that hour when the celestial rays are in mathematical harmony with his individual karma."-Yukteshwar Giri.
    – user22687
    May 29, 2021 at 8:32

1 Answer 1


From The Mountain Path 1982, p. 23:, Ramana Maharshi says

A man might have performed many karmas in his previous births. A few of them alone will be chosen for this birth and he will have to enjoy the fruits in this birth. It is something like a slide show where the projectionist picks a few slides to be exhibited at a performance, the remaining slides being reserved for another performance.

Individuals have to suffer their karmas but Iswara manages to make the best of their karmas for his purpose. God manipulates the fruits of karma but he does not add or take away from it. The subconscious of man is a warehouse of good and bad karma. Iswara chooses from this warehouse what he sees will best suit the spiritual evolution … of each man, whether pleasant or painful. Thus, there is nothing arbitrary.

Talks with Ramana Maharshi 115

As long as you feel yourself the doer of action so long you are bound to enjoy its fruits. But if you find out whose karma it is, you will see that you are not the doer. Then you will be free.

“Action without motive does not bind. Even a Jnani acts and there can be no action without effort and without sankalpas — motives. Therefore there are sankalpas for everyone. But these are of two kinds, the binding (bandha-hetu) and the liberating (mukti-hetu). The former must be given up and the latter cultivated.”

Thus, new karma is created if we do action with sankalpa and these are binding karmas.

Talks with Ramana Maharshi 193

Free-will and destiny are ever existent. Destiny is the result of past action; it concerns the body. Let the body act as may suit it: why are you concerned with it? Why do you pay attention to it? Free-will and destiny last as long as the body lasts. But jnana transcends them both.”

That destiny is God-given and immutable, but that does not mean that one has to identify with the body that is performing and undergoing its various destined actions. Destiny pertains to the body and not to Brahman. Thus, Self-realisation, is realising that one is the underlying substratum, Brahman, not the temporary and ultimately unreal appearances (the world, the jiva and God) that appear and disappear within it.

Elsewhere, Ramana Maharshi says

The only true freedom we have in this life is you can identify with whatever the body is doing and suffer the consequences of that identification and also create new karma, or you can transcend identification with the body, abide as the Self, and then be a mere witness to the body as it performs its destined activities.

Thus if you continue to do actions with the idea that you are the body and perform actions, you will create new karma.

  • Thanks for your response. I didn't understand what you mean by - Thus, new karma is created if we do action with sankalpa and these are binding karmas. could you please elaborate? Jun 2, 2021 at 4:34
  • @curiousseeker It means if you do action thinking I am the doer, then it results in new karma. Depending on the action, good or bad karma will result. However, if you transcend identification with the body, abide as the Self, and then be a mere witness to the body as it performs its destined activities, you will not create any new karma.
    Jun 2, 2021 at 4:41
  • @GIRIBLR- Thank you, appreciate your clarification. Jun 2, 2021 at 17:20

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