Karma And Freewill | Sikh Philosophy Network
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Karma And Freewill

Jun 1, 2004
By Trilochan Singh Ji

The fact that man suffers for his bad deeds, or is rewarded for his good deeds
inevitably leads to the theory of Karma.

In Sikhism, the law of Karma according to which we reap what we sow is not
inexorable. The burden of our sins, the taint of Karma, the weight of all the
past can be thrown off, by diving deeper into Truth, by the Grace of God, and by
leading a purer and nobler life.

This life, the human life, is an opportunity for this freedom to rise or to fall
into the pit. There is no determinism in our fate, if we rise above the level of

At the level of Nature or animal existence, we no doubt reap what we sow, but at
the spiritual level of existence which can be reached by moral and spiritual
efforts and illumination, man attains his freedom.

It is freedom, not only from the wheel of Karma, but also from birth and death.
Those who lead a purely temporal life at the level of the sense, "their deeds
follow them and they reap what they sow.

"Kirt una ka metis nah, oh apna bijia khah"
- SGGS 1183

But the Guru's word erases the blot of thousands of evil deeds of the past, and
the greatest sinner can become the greatest Saint.

"Gur ka sabad kate kot karma."
- SGGS 1195

Countless sins of the past life are washed away by the illumination of the Word.

"Kot kotantar papa kare ek ghari meh khovai."
- SGGS 438

It is not a mere coincidence that Guru Nanak and the subsequent Sikh Guru's had
the closest doctrinal relations with the Qadariya and Chisti schools of Sufis
which believed in free will in opposition to the Jabariya Sufi school of thought
which according to orthodox Islam, is based on complete dependence on Divine

The idea of determinism and fatalism is repugnant to the Sikh mind as it does
not reconcile with the idea of reward and punishment, nor with the doctrine of
Grace and Compassion.

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Shabad Vichaar by SPN'ers

The shabd under discussion in this article is composed by bhagat Dhanna Ji – ਆਸਾ ਬਾਣੀ ਭਗਤ ਧੰਨੇ ਜੀ ਕੀ॥ Asa bani Bhagat Dhanney Ji Ki – and is contained on Page 487 of the SGGS...

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