For the universe to repeat exactly, don’t the person’s thoughts & emotions have to repeat exactly ?

Reading and re-reading numerous past posts and comments on here by Swami Vishwananda & IAmMilind, I get that the universe repeats exactly in the time cycles. That’s the only way infinitely repeating universe can exist, is if it’s the exact same. Different jivas filling slots and positions in Vivekanand’s ferris wheel universe.

But then our emotions and thoughts have to be the exact same too right ?

So there is no free will in how we act and what we do but also there is no free will with our thoughts and feelings ?

Could someone clarify this for me ?

I’m at the point of losing sleep over trying to understand this, shouting in the shower and everything 😂 Losing my mind guys hahaha:D

Edit : Embarrassing to admit, but I have also spent tons of time googling to try and understand this. There is so much contradictory information out there on time cycles and free will in Hinduism. I’m even more confused after so many hours of trying to look this up 😂 Someone plz help 😬

Edit : Ok modifying/bounty stuffs too, any input or thoughts or even just comments with your views are greatly appreciated, thx 🥶 By the way for writing an answer, I don’t require strict answer from Hindu texts. Answers from text commentaries or acharyas types (blogs, lectures, Yootoobz vids or such are fine too, I mean, at this point I’ll accept a TikTok if it has the pertinent info hehe:D I just really wanna understand this, so yeah, thx :)

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    what about infinity? infinite time (samsara), eternal return is limit, eternal is now, no choice to make
    – blue_ego
    Jan 7, 2023 at 11:21
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    free-will is autonomy of will, a will that is dual of matter, not beneath matter, a metaphysical necessity, therefore, mind is free to choose. this is Kant's categorical imperative
    – blue_ego
    Jan 7, 2023 at 11:27
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    still choosing, but free from choice dilemma. why not free? greed and lust...
    – blue_ego
    Jan 7, 2023 at 11:30
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    choosing (a or b) within choice is free, but choice(s) still have constraint (a and b) of world at large
    – blue_ego
    Jan 7, 2023 at 15:55
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    Could u pls link which answers you have read on the stackexchange website in the Qn and formulated an opinion? Jan 8, 2023 at 6:17

2 Answers 2


The universe can't repeat exactly. Many people who attain moksha in one cycle will not be there in another cycle.

Is there free will?

I am posting Sri Ramakrishna's answers to this question where he suggests that free will is a mere illusion.

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.'

The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna, Chapter 9, Advice to the Brahmos

"It is God alone who has planted in man's mind what the 'Englishman'4 calls free will. People who have not realized God would become engaged in more and more sinful actions if God had not planted in them the notion of free will. Sin would have increased if God had not made the sinner feel that he alone was responsible for his sin.

"Those who have realized God are aware that free will is a mere appearance. In reality man is the machine and God its Operator, man is the carriage and God its Driver."

The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna, Chapter 18, M at Dakshineswar (II)

THE YOUNGER NAREN: "Sir, have we any free will?"

MASTER: "Just try to find out who this 'I' is. While you are searching for 'I', 'He' comes out. 'I am the machine and He is the Operator.' You have heard of a mechanical toy that goes into a store with a letter in its hand. You are like that toy. God alone is the Doer. Do your duties in the world as if you were the doer, but knowing all the time that God alone is the Doer and you are the instrument.

The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna, Chapter 42, Car Festival at Balaram's House

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    “The universe can't repeat exactly. Many people who attain moksha in one cycle will not be there in another cycle.” <—— PG, friend, if you read the threads I linked in the comments above, the threads by iammilind & Swami Vishwanand, they explain that universe repeats exactly. Chaturyugs are kinda the same, kalps are more the same, then universes are zactly the same. Different jivas in same bodies doing same stuff every time. Here is one thread explaining that : hinduism.stackexchange.com/questions/10911/… Jan 17, 2023 at 4:59
  • @devibhakt I disagree with the idea that the universe repeats exactly the same. I have given one reason why it isn't so. Jan 17, 2023 at 5:01
  • Ok, however, the argument of people obtaining moksh will be out in next universe is actually supported by this theory. In that it will be same looking physical person but a different jiva in that body moving through the same actions. Vivekanand gives example of ferris wheel of jiva positions, the ferris wheel doesn’t change but the jivas do. Also this RK quote : “In reality man is the machine and God its Operator, man is the carriage and God its Driver." <—— This quote supports zero free will with the mind & body both being moved to speak & act by God. Madhav says to Arjun same in Gita too. Jan 17, 2023 at 5:12
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    The arguments by Svami Vishwanand & iammilind are pretty convincing & supported very much by RK & Vivekanand. Extrapolating out to logical end would imply that action & thoughts/emotions gotta be with no free will. Which is why time cycles perfectly in place, & why there are different positions filled by different jiva, like how Ashwatthama will be next Ved Vyas, or that this or that jiva will be one of the SaptaRishi in next kalp & that sort of thing. Hanuman the next BrahmDev. It’s people moving up and down & laterally too, of course. However I’m not entirely sure so posted this question. Jan 17, 2023 at 5:20
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    We are a combination of body-mind complex and the Atman. The body-mind complex simply can't have any free will since it is simply a machine. Even modern science now accepts that. Any free will is due to the presence of the Atman. Only the Divine will is free. Some of the free will of the Atman leaks out and make us feel that we have free will. Actually our free will is not ours but that of the Atman. A jivan Mukta is completely free while most people are only partially free. Jan 17, 2023 at 5:42

In yoga vasishta chapter called "self realisation of queen chudala" lord vasistha basically says that some people are born exactly as they were born in a previous iteration of the universe and sometimes they are born somewhat like their previous iteration.

but after reading the whole of yoga vasistha and from personal experience , what I find what according to vedanta the answer to free will is this : at the highest levels , the level of the rishis or people who have won over their senses first and then found realisation of brahman/non duality upto an extent , for them there is total free will but for normal people like you and me, who are also atman but do not have realised non duality/ brahman and have , due to ignorance, not gained control over our senses or still cant discriminate that for us there is mostly destiny and fate and freewill is very low or less. this is because we ( the jivas ) have bound ourselves by our own habits/vrittis and samskaras and due to these its become difficult to actually do something which we actually want to do.

let me give you an example. a jiva is like a tobacco addict who was once free and could do whatever he wanted, but then by his own mistakes he formed a habit which was smoking cigarette which he liked doing at first but then he became an addict and as soon as this "recreational habit" became an addiction, his "free will" turned into shackles or destiny and now , until he becomes free of that addiction either through grace of a guru or through his own efforts of using nicotine patches or whatever, until then he will have to obey his body's wish of taking tobacco/nicotine into his system now. so what was once a pleasurable activity now became his "destiny" i mean you understand my example correct ? if you have a question ask.

another example of freewill existing is that yoga exists, which is basically techniques aimed at achieving union with brahman or a god with form like lord janardana or lord sadashiva or goddess Ambika etc. since the texts describe techniques which one should do to achieve union with god, that surely means that jivas must have free will of some kind , even if its very less, since the texts wouldn't advise have advised a person to do techniques or follow yoga if everything in his life was fixed.

so conclusion is: True free will exists , but for those gods or siddhas like beings who have done yoga and realised non duality upto an extent or upto a great deal. for jivas like us free will exists but very less, and due to our heavy baggage of karmas it seems like we dont have a say in almost all the things which happen in our life, but still there is some kind limited kind of freewill even for jivas this we can infer from yogic texts which advise humans to do certain things to achieve union with brahman.

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