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For example, Is a person walking just an illusion and it is God moving the person who thinks they are in control, or is the person actually exerting true free will, or is it an interplay of "random events", meaning no one is in control?

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  • Hi! Welcome to Hindusim SE. Please take a TOUR of this site to get acquainted. Further, kindly visit How does a new user get started on Hinduism SE?. For more info please do visit: the HSE Help Center.
    – Vivikta
    Feb 12, 2022 at 2:41
  • AFAIK there is no freedom whatsoever, as weird as that sounds. Anyone who tells we have that is rather much incorrect, from what I understand. Dec 9, 2022 at 14:16
  • @veganenvironmentalist - that is wrong. if there was no freedom, there is no need for scriptures to give rules - which implicitly means there is a choice. the alternative is that shastras are useless - if you are of this opinion, then fine. but if you believe shastras, you must believe in freedom of soul. this is specifically mentioned in Brahma Sutras
    – ram
    Apr 8, 2023 at 20:33

2 Answers 2

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First of all different sects of Hinduism answers the question somewhat differently. But they all agree that there is no free will Hinduism.

I'm going to answer according to Dvaita school of thought which many people can understand especially the one's who are new to Hinduism.

One important point to remember is there is no free will in Hinduism.

It is only when "being" or existence gets moulded into name and form that it obeys the law of causation, and is said to be under law; because all law has its essence in causation. Therefore we see at once that there cannot be any such thing as free will.

Swami Vivekananda.

Source

The Hindu theory is every soul has its own quality called Swabhava or its own quality. God only creates surroundings based on this quality and puts the soul in that situation. Then this starts the karmic cycle. And past goes on influencing present and present the future.

Now the souls are categorized into three types. Sathwik, Rajasik and Tamasic. Sathwik souls because of their quality achieves Moksha. Rajasik is stuck in Samsara and Tamasic goes to eternal hell, called Andha Tamas. So souls simply pass through as witness when their quality goes on manifesting.

So when someone is walking. The soul is actually the witness. The rest all is done by God based on its quality and previous karma. Which gives an illusion that a person is himself or hersef doing.

Refer: Madhwa Philosophy

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God is inspiring the person from within to walk. He never forces anyone to do a particular task, He only inspires and in this way, He controls living entity not by force or tyranny but by love. There is Paramatma residing in every living entity's heart - sarvasya chaham hridi sannivishto (Bhagawad Gita 15.15). Paramatma controls everyone and everything

Thus in your example given, the person walking includes both his free will and control of God. The person's free will has negligible weightage (according to shastras it is approximately 0.01%) and for 99.99%, he is dependent upon God (Krishna).

If there was no free will of person, then it would become tyranny. Thus both are present in different proportions.

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    according to shastras it is approximately 0.01% Reference please? Feb 12, 2022 at 9:33
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    But what if a person does papa? How can God inspire him to do papa?
    – Shashaank
    Aug 11, 2022 at 15:19

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