Karma & Destiny

Written in http://groups.yahoo.com/group/varahamihira/message/3901
Date: Nov 5, 2000

I am writing something which i was willing to write for many days but couldn't get the time to do that. In a mail, I supported the concept of fatalism and said that I shall write some more things on the same topic. Here I shall write my understanding of two things:

1. How the karmic forces influence us?
2. How do the planets interfere in the life of human?

Anyone who has read the Hindu scriptures or understand the Indian philosophy wouldn't deny the influence of karmic forces in the life of human beings and the theory of life, death and rebirth; the theory of reincarnation. karma and all the above mentioned concepts are highly related and intertwined.

Whatever we do is the karma and also reap the result of the karma. The result may be got in this birth or the next birth. When we think that why shall we get the result of this birth in our subsequent birth, we may not get an answer if we think as a physical body. But if we consider to be spiritual beings and come to the earth for a brief journey, they we may feel that though the body has changed, we haven't- we are the same being in different body... u may call the being as the soul. Irrespective of the body the soul presently have, he has to borne the result of the past karma.

The results are nothing but the situations that arise in our life-good or bad, the events that happen in our life-good or bad. But then these situations and events force us to behave in a particular way... that is the karma we are performing in this birth...which again will cause some situations or events to happen in the future. If this is the case are we really so much bound by the unending chain of cause and action...karma and the result, which we cannot get out from this chain. Is the situation so hopeless? No, it is not... The situation is not so much hopeless... we have free will. But the natural question arise here is that if we are so much bound by the cycle of cause and effect, where is the scope of freewill? Though apparently there seems that there is no scope, there is enough scope for exercise of the free will.. I will explain it after sometime. But let me say something else before that.

Now I shall take up the issue of who is the doer? Are you are the doer of whatever you are doing? You would find the answer very soon! Just think, how many organisms you kill when you respire.. How many ants or insects you kill when you walk over any place. These figures are innumerable. If you are asked that who is the killer all these organisms, you would probably say that it is not you. Because the death of these organisms had come that’s why they went into your mouth when you respired or came below your feet when you walked. Again think how many people you influence knowingly or unknowingly in day which leads them to act in a particular way. Let’s take an example here, you had a fight with some one say Ram and that fellow got so much angry that he tried to kill someone else say Balram. Here if you analyze the charts of all the persons involved in the process you would find that there is some indication of this happening. You will feel that it is a mere coincidence that these things happen that way only. Balram was supposed to be threatened by
Ram at that moment and Ram was supposed to have a fight with you at that moment, that is why it happened. You are only a link in the chain of cause and effect.

When a person say Parshuram has to die, he may get a heart attack, but do you say that heart attack was the doer of the death of the person. No, probably you do not. We would rather say that the heart attract was the cause of the effect (Heart attack). But if someone else says Kashiram kills Parshuram, why we say that the Kashiram has killed Parshuram, why don't we say that Kashiram was only a means to the end or a cause to an effect or an instrument with which Parshuram was supposed to be killed. Extrapolating the same concept we may see that whatever we do have some or other implication whatever may be its intensity-small or large. We must understand that the implications had to happen that is why we were inspired to the action.

In all the cases we have means to some end which again becomes the means to some other end and the chain goes on. In these chain all these means and ends or the causes and effects are the links. In other words we are not the doer whatever we do, we are only means or the instruments in the hands of some invisible force. But the question here is why we do the things the way we do. Why we don't do it in some other way. Could we have done the things we did in our past in some other way? I would say because each of the actions done by us lead to many other actions and which would lead to many other and if analyse the horoscopes of all these situations we would see that there are indications of their happening the way they have happened, it is very unlikely that the actions performed could have been performed in some other way. Again as answer to the question why we acted in a particular way in a given situation, who inspired us to behave in that way, I would say that it is the PRAKRITI and THE GUNA of the person, who inspired him to act in a particular way. We act in a particular way in a given situation, because we get the urge to act that way. And this urge is controlled by the PRAKRITI and GUNA we have.

If we introspect on the teachings of GITA we will find the same essence that we are not the doers, we are only an instrument in the hands of someone else (KRISHNA/ BRAHMAN/ SUPREME CONSCIOUSNESS). When we are not the doers, why do we expect the result of the actions performed by us. Let’s take an analogy to understand this. Let’s say you have invented a robot which works for you. You programmed (PRAKRITI/GUNA) the robot to kill some one or help someone. If the robot kills or helps someone, do you condemn or praise the robot for those actions. Probably not. You, who have programmed the robot should be accountable for or held responsible for whatever the result. So when we are not the doers, we should not expect the result of the actions we have performed rather we shall surrender ourselves to the supreme and accept whatever he does with us.

Now I shall take up the topic of free will. Before that we shall know that the human birth has some importance attached to it. It is not a mere accident. This is a vehicle with which we can attain the BRAHMAN or self realization. This the birth which accumulates karma (good or bad). Because we don't have any control of the situations or the events or the actions we are doing, what matter is the attitude with which we are doing the same job. Different attitude towards the same action can accumulate different types of Karma. Here comes the importance of FREE WILL. How we are performing the karma and not what we are performing. If a person does a particular action with the feeling that he is doer of the karma, then the result-negative or positive will be accumulated in his repertoire of karma and may lead to bad or good situation in subsequent or even the same birth. But even the good or prosperous condition as a result of a good karma is not that good as it attach the soul to the material world. But if the same action is done with complete self surrender to the BRAHMAN, then whatever the result may be good or bad won't be having any effect on his karma repertoire rather he will exhaust some of his past accumulated karma in the process, and in a way break some links of the chain binding him to this material world and move towards attainment of self-realization. Thus we can exert our freewill in having an attitude which take us towards self-realization, i.e., the attitude of self-surrender to the supreme and have unbroken faith in his actions. If we have the same attitude in all of our actions we would see that our ego is vanishing and we are reaching towards supreme/infinite consciousness from individual/ finite consciousness.

Thus though we seemed to be bound by the law of time-space and causation or though the destiny seems to be fatalistic, we can get out of this unending cycle by exerting our free will in surrendering ourselves to the almighty.

Lets see how with self-less or surrendered action we can reach near the almighty. Here we see what the prakriti of a person is? It is accumulation of attitudes. If we behave in a particular way in a given type of situation similarly again and again repeatedly, it becomes our inherent nature (this is the prakriti) and we would spontaneously behave the same way in future given similar situation. Thus with exertion of free our nature of self surrender would become more and more strong and more and more we reach near the goal of self realisation.

Now let me take the issue of planetary movements and human destiny. Here I have some different viewpoints. If we presume that everything is governed by some law and nothing is haphazard or accident, then everything can be predicted. We can predict the motion of earth around the sun very precisely because it is a regular motion and guided by some celestial law. Had it been haphazard, we couldn't have predicted that. Take anything in the universe from the smallest atom to the galaxies, everything is guided by some law and hence have some pattern in their behaviour. If we understand the underlying pattern in their behaviour we can predict how they would behave in future. Deciphering the underlying pattern is the most difficult this. There is chaos nowhere.... everywhere there is a very regular patterned behaviour we fail to decipher and we see chaos. Let’s take an example to see this. Let’s try to find the pattern the given series of number.


Here if we are asked to predict the next number, we may feel apparently that there is no pattern but a jumble of number instead. But if we try to analyse deeply, we would find that this is an interweaving of three different series.

1,2,3,4,5,6,7 2,3,5,7,11,13 (prime numbers) 4,9,25,49,121,169 (squares of the prime numbers)

Now that we have deciphered the pattern in the series, we can predict the next number in the series. Even in case we don't find any pattern after any number of try, which would mean that we haven't explored the total possible environment of the system. For example if we have series like

1278838923484981 here we may not find any pattern but if more data is taken we would find that there is a repetition of the following set of numbers in the total system, and that is the pattern.


AND because nothing in this universe is unconnected with each other, there is a pattern of relation within so called apparently unconnected systems. Though it seem that solar system, the universe and the earth and the life in earth are unconnected system, they are the part of a bigger system. So if the pattern of connection or the relation between these apparent unconnected system is deciphered, the future can be predicted taking cues from any part of the whole system.

Maharihis have tried to decipher how the planets and the stars in the sky during the birth of a person is connected to the destiny of that person. Thus they have found out the pattern of such connections and that is jyotisha. Thus the configuration of planet during the birth time can only indicate but not influence the destiny of the person. This is somewhat similar to statistical analysis of trend over a period of time. The coorelation between the celestial even and the occurance of a particular incidence in a persons life has been found out and wherever they are found to be strongly coorelated, those predicters are retained. But coorelation by itself doesn't show any causal relationship. This is why we can predict the destiny from palm of our hands. That doesn't show that the lines in our palms cause somethings in our life, but only show that there is a high correlation between the lines and the events occuring in the life. This can be done with any such thing which is seemingly unrelated to us... but in this case deciphering the pattern will be very difficult or near to impossible. Because the law operating everywhere is the same everywhere, the properties present in the macrocosm is also present in the microcosm. Thus those this which can be predicted with the help of planets and stars in the sky, can also be predicted with the help of palm or for that matter the little finger or thumb alone. For that matter we can go much smaller level to the genetic composition of the person. Everything would yeild the same result.

Now I shall end with a statement which may stimulate some thinking... "If we are guided by our own karma, prakriti and Guna, why are we allowing the planets to interfere with our destiny and influence us" Why we bring planets in the picture to govern us, whereas in reality it is not so. "PLANET CAN ONLY INDICATE BUT NOT INFLUENCE OUR DESTINY"



ARDHA4 said…
a deep philosophical insight with subtle teachings of parampara encoded in it.Keep up the good work.
Ron said…
Hmmm... great article. After reading it twice, I would say there could be three thoughts on karma and destiny:

1) If we do good karma then we get good destiny. And vice versa.

In this case, we would be thinking along the lines of Dwaitya (Duality).

2) Everything we do, we don't care whether it is good or bad.

Why? Because the judgment about good or bad varies from person to person, culture to culture, and so on. And, who can be the judge? Except, perhaps Parameshwara (who is the creator of everything)?

If we think along this lines, we might be more into Adwaita (non-duality) school of thought.

3) Or, we sit and do nothing until we die (at least in this life).

Now, observe the third thought above. Isn't it what Maharishis and Sages did eventually?

Isn't it a bit like the concept of Moksha as explained by the story of Lord Ganesha?

Ganesha is a Mokshakarak (Ketu) because, without a head (Rahu), one cannot have five senses (sight, sound, hearing, smell, taste, touch) and therefore no temptations or desires.

But, is it possible for us to sit and do nothing in this century?

That is a further thought. So, please continue this discussion. Thanks.

Drushan said…
Dear Sarajit, your ideas are totally acceptable, but you haven't mentioned what after the state of self-realization. What after your soul departs this body? Does your soul being qualified not to take any birth roam around as it is? You seem to have read scriptures but you forgot the real essence. In the end you say OM TAT SAT, but you forgot who is that 'OM'? Just like I was use to not taking the name of that Supreme (Krishna for me) you're also misleaded in same direction, and to acquire this knowledge you will have to take another birth though you might have reached The Brahman level, Supreme is the doer, He has a form, and the proof of it is you yourself. His qualities reflect in us as parts. For me He is Krishna, I beg you not to speculate your mind in this direction of vague ideas, define that Brahman. Lastly I apologize if you already have Him defined, but acceptance aloud is must, this is what I've learned. Thanks for that post, indeed it was great!!

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