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Is every thing pre-destined !
(Excerpts of the answer Poojya Guruji gave to a youngman at an open house question-answer session at Indore)
No, everything is not pre-destined. To say every thing is pre-destined is to deny all what scriptures have been trying to communicate. It would be greatest dis-service to the ageless vedic wisdom, if every thing is imagined to be pre-destined, and the basic objective of religious masters is equated with predicting future. It is not only denying the scriptures but even your very life & freedom.
Lets just go into this. Who has created this destiny ? Two possibilities crop up in our mind. Either this destiny factor has been created by God or by the karma's of man. In either case there is a problem. If God has created destiny then he alone will be responsible for all the pain, injustice and mess we see around. He will have to be seen as the greatest sadist we can ever imagine. Moreover, if he alone runs the show then why should he come and give discourses to humans who are just his puppets, who have no freedom whatsoever. Scriptures like Vedas and Gita who talk about karma's will become redundant. To say that God alone decides everything is to rob the life of all its drive, challenge & creativity. If we however say that it our past karma's which constitutes our destiny and that alone decides everything in this life, then a question arises that if I am the one who has created these papa-punya karma's in my earlier life, then I can very well create some papa-punya in this life too. And if that be so then I can very well change or create my so called destiny. There is thus no scope of saying that everything is pre-destined.
Even though everything is not pre-destined yet there is something called destiny. The word destiny implies that some things are inevitable in this present moment. What is inevitable now is the fruits of our past actions. They are something which are already done and not available for change, so their effects, good or bad, are said to be destined. Every action has to bring about a result, so action once done will bring some fruits, whether I like it or dont. If I have overeaten last night then my indigestion becomes my destiny in the morning. Having got such a situation we can thereafter perform some other karma's which may neutralize its negative effects, but we have to face the music of our past karma's. This is a perfect cause & effect theory, and there is neither any thing wrong or strange about it. That we get the phala of our karma's is a great blessing. It speaks a lot about the order existing in the creation. It also shows that whoever has created all this has bestowed us with a freedom to make or mar our life. He has indeed passed the ball in our court. We are free to turn this fact into our own advantage, by simply becoming all the more alert about our actions. Our destiny is thereafter carved out by us. In the right karma we play our part yet retain awareness of that intelligence who has not only created this whole order, but has bestowed us with this ability and oppurtunity to carve our destiny.
There are two aspects of a karma. One, a situation comes, and two, we respond to it. Every situation is a product of the sum total of all our past karma's, both of this life and of the earlier ones. This aspect is destined to come. In our response we are however totally free. We can act mechanically, casually or even dynamically, intelligently, creatively in a completely new way. We are free and in fact this alone is our freedom. This aspect not only reveals our freedom, but this alone is of greatest consequence. This is our 'karma', this alone creates all papa or punya. In this aspect alone is real challenge & creativity. In fact in this alone is the real joy of karma. If someone exercises and enjoys this aspect properly then he or she is the most blessed person. One, the joy of such person who enjoys the very act of doing something is never snatched away by any situation whatsoever. Two, even if the person is not too bothered about the fruits of action then also such person alone gets right fruits too, for the simple reason that they have performed well, and finally, such people acquire all the qualities required to awaken to the transcendental dimension of their own Self. They are called the Karma-yogis. Such people are never bothered about their future, they enjoy every moment of their lives. Such people consider prediction of their future unnecessary, and also smacking of lack of faith in God who alone is the dispenser of all fruits of action. What we do is our offering at his feet, and what comes to us in the form of situations is his gift to us, his prasad.
Predictions take away the very joy of suspense inherent in all situations. It is only those people who do not know what is their role in every action, who are not aware of what their real freedom is, and also do not know what gives the real joy - the very act of doing something or getting its fruits, and who are lacking within, and in their extrovertedness are desperately bothered about getting some situations, that destiny becomes some thing very important. Such people are deluded fools, they are people with weak minds, missing something great in life. They do not know how to live. They know not what is the vision, message & purport of scriptures. They are holding on to Vedangas, and that also wrongly, and leaving aside the message of the very Vedas. So dont bother about destiny, change your priorities, live every moment in suspense and enjoy it thoroughly. Believe in yourself, believe in God, take every situation as a challenge and enjoy the very act of doing something, enjoy every moment of your life.
Back to Vedanta Sandesh - Oct 98 (NF)
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