Design Your Destiny

Recently I was observing commuters on the London Underground all reading the daily tabloid. I noticed several people eagerly flick to the horoscopes to discover their fortunes for the week. The idea that there are higher forces governing our fate in this world is definitely a captivating one. In reality what is actually affecting us? Is it the stars and the planetary movements? Maybe the cosmic ‘gods’ are crafting the roller-coaster journey through life? Could it ultimately be the will of a Supreme Person? More importantly, what power do we have to design our own destiny?

Imagine a scale which had ‘complete free will’ on one side and ‘complete fate’ on the other. Neither would seem reasonable explanations according to our daily observations. Despite our best efforts, things don’t always work out as we would like. Leaving aside the results of our activities, even if we analyze our power to decide how we act, we seem to have limited free will. How many times have you been impelled to do something you really didn’t want to do? On the other hand, we can’t say everything is predetermined. Clearly we’re not simply robotic entities playing the cog in a universal machine that moves according to its own design. Our desires and actions seem to mould our future. Social scientists and psychologists have conducted various studies addressing this.

According to Bhagavad-gita, life is an interplay of fate (karma) and free will. Karmic reactions are prompted by our previous activities, evaluated under the supervision of the Supreme Person, and predicted in our life by astrological charts. According to our karmic bank balance, we are faced with certain situations in the present. Astrological movements are not deciding our fortune, but rather giving a report of how our karma will be dispensed. Of course, within every situation we have free will to decide our future situations since karma is simply creating the context within which we exercise our free will in this life. Thus, in the ultimate sense, we all have the power to design our own destiny.

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