In Ramayana, Lord Rama went after the golden deer, knowing fully well, deer can’t be golden.
In Mahabharata, Yudhishthira played gambling with Duryodhana and lost everything including their wife Draupadi.
It is said that Lord Krishna at one stage before the Mahabharata war, showed to Arjuna a scene of the 18th day of the war, where all Kauvaras was shown dead.
Lord Rama and Lord Krishna both were Omniscients. Both were aware of the future. & yet they both respectively couldn’t stop the war with either Ravana or Kauravas. This is only because these wars were destined and had to pan out the way it did.
This brings us to the moot question whether everything is predestined or we do have free will?
Karma, free will, destiny all are confusing for many. Therefore, people often feel either dejected when things are not happening according to their will and efforts or boast about their achievement when things are happening according to their will and efforts.
Especially in dejection, people get solace by thinking about destiny but when things are happening according to the will, destiny is ignored and people think their own efforts are making things work.
The existence of past Karmas is always in question. Therefore, the word destiny comes into existence. Destiny is nothing but Soul’s own past Karmas in operation. There is a belief that destiny influences our free will.
There is a saying Vinash Kale Viprit Buddhi means that when one’s doom approaches, then one’s mind, one’s intelligence works perversely.
However the reality is, our free will determines our destiny.
The following example will help us clear this significant concept.
Sachin Tendulkar is batting at 99 and ready to face the next ball. The following 5 things happen.
- The bowler bowls a short pitch ball.
- Sachin was happy.
- He hits the ball hard and the ball went up in the sky towards the boundary.
- There was one fielder at the boundary and the ball was caught.
- Sachin was angry.
Let’s examine our free will and operation of Karmas from the above event.
- Short pitch easy to bat ball he receives was the result of his past Karma, therefore, his destiny. (This could have been a googly and tough to play ball, but it was not.)
- His feeling happy, to see an easy to bat ball was his response to what happened to him. This was his free will, therefore, a new Karma.
- Hitting the ball hard towards the boundary up in the sky was the result of his past Karma, therefore, his destiny. (He could have been bowled but did not.)
- Getting caught out was was the result of his past Karma, therefore, his destiny. (The ball could have crossed the boundary but did not.)
- Feeling Angry, for getting out was his response to what happened to him. This was his free will, therefore, a new Karma.
His getting out at 99 was his destiny. Things don’t happen unless it’s destined. He could not have happened differently.
What happened at stage 1,3, and 4 were influenced by the past karmas and therefore destiny. These events were influenced by the past karmas of Sachin Tendulkar (the act of batting), the bowler (the act of bowling), and the fielder (the act of catching).
Sachin’s response at stage 2 (feeling happy) and at stage 5 (feeling angry) were his Soul’s responses to what happened as a result of his destiny, therefore done with Soul’s free will. Because these were done with the free will, it becomes new Karmas attached to the Soul.
Whatever happened above was known to the Omniscients. Sachin Tendulkar getting out at 99, how he would be out etc. were known beforehand to the Omniscients. How he would respond i.e. feeling happy and angry was also known to them.
Rama one the other hand fought an intense war with Ravana. Yet he remained equanimous. Neither angry at Ravana, nor happy when the war was won. This state is known as equanimous. In Bhagavad Gita this state is known as Sthitipragna, in Jainism, it is known as Samabhaav or equanimity.
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All events in the Universe are Krama-badhha (Jainism terminology) i.e. Sequential and are known to the Omniscients. Omniscients know the outcome of past karmas of every Soul, they also know what a soul would do with his free will.
However, this does not mean everything is destined and we (Souls) do not have a free will. What it means is how would Souls respond with their free wills are beforehand known to the Omniscient.
(Note: Astrologers, Palmist, and all other similar practitioners are not Omniscients. Omniscients are enlightened Souls.)
All physical non living happenings are destined. Every Soul’s responses are free will. We are confused because we the souls consider the self as a body I.e. physical. This is relevant to know how our confusion about free will and destiny creates our destiny. All our free will driven Karmas creates our destiny. These karmas fructify as destiny when they ripe with fruits.
3 of his Karmas fructfied as destiny at stage 1,2, and 4. His free will expressed at stage 2 & 5 was accumulated to his Soul as new Karmas. These will give their fruits as destiny as per their types. Imagine how many new Karmas we do with our free will when the destiny strikes us either with good or with bad.
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Knowing this principle should give us solace. Whatever is going to happen is bound to happen. We have no control over it. Our physical actions or inactions would be driven by what is destined. However, how the Soul responds in a given situation is Soul’s free will. Keep a watch on that because what you do with your free will is shaping your destiny.
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