The Karmas and our destiny

Vidyasankar Sundaresan vidya at CCO.CALTECH.EDU
Fri Jul 11 11:59:05 CDT 1997

On Thu, 10 Jul 1997, Gummuluru Murthy wrote:


> My question is this: Why not let destiny control one's life ? I would not
> use the word "control" but I would phrase my question this way.
> Destiny is what is in store for any of us. Why not let it take its own
> course ? It certainly would, irrespective of whether we "let" it or not.

The problem with this is as follows.

How does one know what is destiny, or what it has in store for us? Is
destiny an absolute thing that exists independent of "us"? If yes, then
the "us" becomes nothing more than a "jaDa-vastu"; if no, then it follows
that it is under our control.

I would like to mention that in a philosophical discussion, one has to be
careful not to use words loosely. In Sanskrit, the word "daivam" is used,
indicating a divine dimension to "fate". This is strongly correlated to
the notion of ISvara as the one who apportions karma-phala. Right here, we
have two components - an individual initiative in doing whatever karma,
and something outside an individual's control, namely ISvara.

> By this I mean: "Recognize that what is going to happen is going to
> happen. Be happy with the outcome. i.e. convert your happiness (in the
> dvandva) to eternal happiness". Shri Vidyasankar says "You can change your
> destiny through the use of your will". Why does one want to change
> destiny ? Or, why does one want to *think* that one can change destiny ?

If you say that one cannot change the natural order of things (svabhAva),
then fine. But the word "destiny" has too many other kinds of meanings
that don't always fit in with svabhAva.

This issue can also be clarified by asking ourselves the following. Is
moksha destined for some, and not for others? This question has to be
looked at both from a paramArtha standpoint and a vyavahAra standpoint.
Just one perspective will not do. And, your answer to this question will
strongly determine your view of "destiny" and "will".


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