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?
Sri Ramakrishna: 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.*
- Excerpt from a conversation in The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna (Vol 1, Page 211)