Destiny vs. Free will. This is the topic that has always interested me. Is my life is predestined or i can control my life the way i want it to be? I am a firm believer of the ‘Karma’ theory, which states that we bear the consequences of our own actions. Karma is nothing but the action we do and every action has an equal and opposite reaction. Whatever we throw into the universe, be it positive or negative will most definitely in some or the other way come back to us. So, if my life events are already predestined then what is the need to do any action/karma? This thought again amused me and i started understanding what destiny is actually? In my humble opinion and research, destiny is nothing but the situations that come into our life and most of these situations are unprecedented and we don’t have much control on those external situations but we are always in control of our response to those situations.
Ever wondered why we are born in a certain family, we never choose our parents, we didn’t choose our looks, we were made a certain way and why each of us have a different life journey and life path and experiences. We didn’t choose any one of them. We were given it by god and we were sent to earth so we can pay back our karmic debt and hence, we human beings have to do karma and while paying back we will have all kind of positive and negative experiences. When experiences or positive situations come to us, we are delighted and when negative situations come, we become depressed or upset.
In Bhagwat Gita, Lord Krishna says to Arjun that neither do i make or control anyone’s destiny nor do i interfere when people are bearing consequences of their own actions/karma. To this Arjun asked that if we do have to bear the consequences then what is the right way of doing the karma. To this Lord Krishna replied that one should not focus on the fruits while performing any action as fruits are never in his hands, but perform karma as part of his Dharma/moral duty. He will definitely get the fruits, but whatever fruits he gets be it positive or negative, he must accept it as the will of the universe.
Now this brings us to the next question that why we don’t get the desired results or sometimes even get negative results despite our positive actions or sincere efforts. Why do we still suffer or go through painful experiences when we have not wronged anyone? For this it’s important to understand that we are the soul and not the physical body and the soul remains the same while we are just getting a new body to undertake and pay back our karmic debt. There are mainly 3 types of Karmas:
- Sanchita karma: These are the accumulated works and actions that the soul has completed in the past. These cannot be changed but can only wait to come into fruition. This is the vast accumulation of karma that encompasses our countless past lifetimes. This comprises every action that you have ever made in your past and present lives.
- Prarabdha: Prarabdha is that portion of the Sanchita karma that is responsible for the present life. Basically it is the reason or the destiny with which we are born. These are the ripe and fructuous actions and reactions. It cannot be avoided or changed, but only exhausted by being experienced. It is exactly the reason why we sometimes can’t control our destiny and while we may think i have never wronged anyone but somewhere from the past or past lifetimes, it is the fruits of our own karma which we are now experiencing.
So, does that mean everything is fixed and whatever good deeds or karma that i am doing in this lifetime holds no relevance?
3. Well that’s where the concept of a third type of karma comes called Kriyamana karma. Kriyamana karma is that which is being created in the present life and which will fructify in the future.
Hence, none of our current karma will ever go in waste. Despite whatever destiny or Prarabdha we are born with, we can always correct our current actions and help make a better future. While our destiny can’t be changed and if we have to undergo any struggle or suffering it will come, but at every step we can always choose our response, do good positive deeds, think good about others, and most importantly do good karma. Now whether this good karma will come back to us in this life or next birth we don’t know? But, since we have sown the seed, it will definitely pay back and hence, it is said that ‘Man is the maker of his future destiny’. Do it with grace while accepting the destiny as our own Prarabdha that needs to be experienced.