Shri Datta Swami

Posted on: 12 Jul 2020


How could souls be divided into castes when they had no free will in the beginning?

Shri Anil asked: In beginning of creation, there was no free will and everybody obeyed God’s commandments just like robots. In that case, can we assume that there was no caste categorisation based on one’s profession and qualities, in the beginning? Since there was no free will, how could one choose one’s profession among the four professions pertaining to each of the four castes?

Swami replied: O Learned and Devoted Servants of God! This question appears due to the basic confusion in understanding the term ‘free will’. Here, free will only means the free will to deviate from the path of good qualities to the path of bad qualities. The free will to deviate from one good quality to another good quality is not the free will referred to over here. When it is said that there was no free will in the beginning of creation, it does not mean that there was no freedom to leave one good quality and choose some other good quality. It is like saying that you do not have the freedom to leave fruit juice (good quality) and choose any type of alcoholic drink such as beer, wine, rum or gin (bad quality). But you indeed have the freedom to leave one type of fruit juice, such as mango juice and choose another type of fruit juice, such as orange juice.

The Veda says that the caste system created by God existed from the very beginning of creation. (Brāhmaṇo’sya mukhamāsīt...). The Gītā also says that God created the caste system (Cāturvarṇyaṃ mayā sṛṣṭam...). Here, caste system means the classification of the various good qualities, which, in turn, are linked to the corresponding good deeds. There was no bad quality or bad deed in the original caste system created by God. The souls had the freedom to choose the set of qualities and deeds related to any particular caste, based on their taste. Hence, there is no problem in accepting the existence of the caste system in the beginning, even though souls did not possess the free will to choose bad qualities since they certainly had the free will to choose any of the good qualities. There were no atrocities committed by one caste upon another due to the absence of bad qualities. All castes respected each other in a spirit of equality and the four castes were compared to the four parts of the same body. Equality thus existed in all the castes within society, just as the same awareness pervades in all the limbs of the body.

The free will to choose one good quality instead of another good quality is one type of freedom and the free will to choose even a bad quality instead of a good quality is another type of freedom. Only the first type of freedom existed in the beginning (Kṛta Yuga) and there was no bad quality at all. Later on, God even gave the second type of freedom to souls because souls were bored with just the first type of freedom. When we compare the soul in the beginning of creation to a robot, it means that the soul did not have the second type of free will. The robot, of course, does not have any type of free will. The soul of the Kṛta Yuga, which did not have only the second type of free will is compared to the robot. In any comparison, a similarity in even one aspect is sufficient. There is no need to have similarity in all aspects.

There is also a basic similarity in the mechanisms of the behavior of a robot and a soul. The robot acts only as per the information fed to it externally by the scientist. Similarly, the soul too, whether it has only the first type of free will or even the second type, acts only based on the information fed to it, either by God or by society. That information might have been fed to the soul, either in the present life or in previous lives. This makes the soul fundamentally similar to a robot. The reason for this robot-like behavior of the soul is that awareness too is only a specific work-form of inert energy. Inert energy has no freedom since it is inert. So, awareness too, like the inert energy, which is its cause, has no basic freedom. True freedom only lies with God. The soul’s so-called free will of selecting one of several available alternatives, due to the so-called free will, is based on certain logic derived from the outside world. It is not inherent to the soul. So, the soul’s choices and free will are only based on externally-fed information after all. In that sense, it resembles a robot. Hence, fundamentally, the soul, which is an imaginable awareness produced from inert energy, has no real free will. Actual free will exists only in the case of the unimaginable awareness, which is the absolute God. The differences in the selections of souls among given alternatives is the result of the differing forms of logic acquired by each soul.

The lack of free will in the beginning means that no soul had the tendency to do any type of sin. But free will certainly existed in choosing their profession. For instance, souls could choose between the preaching of spiritual knowledge (brāhmaṇa) to society or the protection of justice (kṣatriya) or the distribution of food and essential items by doing business (vaiśya) or the production of food through agriculture (śūdra). In the Kṛta Yuga, since there was no sin, there was no sinner in any caste either and hence, there was no existence of the so-called untouchable fifth caste. Later on, the sinners among all the four castes were boycotted from society and they formed the fifth untouchable caste. They were expelled from society only for the sake of their reformation, similar to suspending an indisciplined student from school for the sake of his reformation. There was no sense of revenge in it. The children of untouchables were not considered sinners by birth, unless they too repeated the sins of their parents. Everything was logical and justified in the beginning of the creation, due to the lack of the second type of free will.


| Shri Datta Swami | How could souls be divided into castes when they had no free will in the beginning? | Brahmanosya mukhamaasiit Chaaturvarnyam mayaa srushtam Krutayuga Braahmana Kshatriya Vaishya Shuudra