Our question is based on a quotation from Sri Ramakrishna about Mother:

“You may feel a thousand times that it is all (Her) magic; but you are still under the control of the Divine Mother. You cannot escape Her. You are not free. You must do what she makes you do. A man attains Brahmajnana only when it is given to him by the Adyasakti, the Divine Mother. Then alone does he see the whole thing as magic; otherwise not.

As long as the slightest trace of ego remains, one lives under the jurisdiction of the Adysakti. One is under Her sway. One cannot go beyond Her.” (The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna, p. 460, in conversation with M. on Friday, June 20, 1884.)

Question: Sri Ramakrishna’s uncompromising statement seems to completely set aside any notion of free will. What is your reaction?


Contributed by Edith Tipple, Santa Barbara CA

Ramakrishna said: “You are not free… A man attains Brahmajnana only when it is given to him by the Adyasakti… As long as the slightest trace of ego remains, one lives under the jurisdiction of the Adyasakti.” Swami Prabhavananda used to quote Maharaj (Swami Brahmananda) as saying that all you see is nothing but the reactions of gunas to each other. This is what the ego is all about. One is constantly led by the neck by tendencies – reacting happily, sadly, angrily, and so on. That is our lack of freedom, that is the control of the Adyasakti. Swami Ramakrishnananda reminds us, “All Maya is localized in ego. [Story of a Dedicated Life, p. 183],” But we do have the freedom to slowly and slowly change our reactions, our tendencies, and reduce the ego to naught. This is what free will is all about, the voice of the Inner Controller, the Atman.

Contributed by Judy Blanco, Mecca CA

Sri Ramakrishna sometimes sang, “O Mother, all is done after Thine own sweet will… Thou workest Thine own work; men only call it theirs.”