I had the happiest childhood imaginable. My father was a successful journalist working for a great newspaper, and my mother, was from a very cultured family. My brother and I lacked for nothing during our childhood. However, during my teen age years my father and my brother passed away. My life turned upside down.
If had known this was coming, my happy childhood days would be ruined. Those all too brief moments of happiness would have been snatched away. For me, not knowing the future was a huge blessing.
At any point in time, I never knew what lies ahead. As a result, I could live each moment with hope and enthusiasm; life has been a big adventure for me. There have been good times and bad times, like for everyone else, but not knowing what lies ahead has always been a big positive.
After getting my engineering degree, I worked for many years in India acquiring valuable experience and making a good living. I got married, not knowing what I was getting into. It has been a pleasant surprise all along. My wife and I are soul mates, with the same spiritual interests. We produced two lovely children, and they have been a source of joy for us, mixed with a little bit of pain now and then.
A few decades ago, we moved to North America. Again, we did not know what we were getting into, and it turned out to be a huge, big adventure. There have been ups and downs; I heard the word “layoff” for the first time ever, in North America. I even got to experience what this was like, for a brief spell.
Eventually, things turned out well and I landed a good, stable job with the Government of Canada, a very pleasant surprise, indeed. Again, not knowing the future kept us going through the good and the bad times. If I knew about the government job well in advance, I might have become complacent in my other jobs, to the detriment of my own career.
I had a stroke a few years back, and I did not see it coming. If I had advance knowledge of the future, I might have made some lifestyle changes to avoid it. Or, I could have fallen into depression and developed other health problems, too. Who knows?
There are people who claim they can predict the future. Some are astrologers, but there are others too. Media reports are largely about predicting the future and mostly it is doom and gloom stuff. In reality, it is speculation with some “scientific” backing to justify a particular viewpoint; no one can speak with certainty about the future.
I have been to astrologers a few times, and also studied astrology briefly, just to see what it is all about. If you go to an astrologer at any random time in your life, chances are very high that you will hear your Saturn is bad. This slow-moving planet spends two and a half years in each sun sign and affects the sign before and after it leaves – a period of seven and a half years, also called Sade Sati. Om Swamiji himself has talked about Sade Sati and how it is a cash cow for astrologers.
I still have an open mind about astrology, but my point is: why go there? Can anyone tell the future with 100% accuracy? Even if somebody could do so, how will it help us?
Not knowing the future is a bigger blessing. It makes life worth living and makes each moment enjoyable, filled with hope and excitement.
Sometimes, I watch live cricket matches on TV. Most of the excitement is about not knowing which team is going to win. If I watch a recording of a test match, where I already know the result, it’s not much fun. It is the same with. Our own life: the real joy is in not knowing what’s going to happen next.
In order to know the future, we have to know the past. All the bad things that happened to must have happened for a reason. In most cases, I can’t find the reason in this lifetime; hence it must lie in a previous lifetime. However, try as I might, I cannot recall my past life, except for a few, blurry glimpses now and then, in periods of great turmoil. For most of us, it seems, the future is unknown and the past, too, is a mystery. As the Sufi poet says:
“Zindagi se badhi koi sazaa hi nahi.
Aur zulm kya hai, pataa hi nahi”’
“There is no punishment bigger than life itself.
We do not even what we are being punished for”.
Maybe, it is better this way. Let life remain a mystery so that we have the joy of exploring this mystery all our lives.