Free Will? Destiny?

The idea of destiny working to bring you to a particular place at a particular time is really amazing. Although at first thought it seems like impossible, one’s experience itself teaches one that there is such a thing as fate/destiny/something that is pre-determined. It is beautiful and yet scary too. 


From the moment we are born, the environment we grow up in determines our circle of free will. This circle of free will is as big as the amount of knowledge we acquire about the different choices in life. If lets say in all the colours we only know about yellow, red, blue and green, then our choice is limited to only these four colours. Whereas the more colours we know the more choices we have. Therefore, there is always a limit to the circle of free will we have. Most of the time our circle of free will is pre-determined by the limitations in the environment we grow up in. Therefore, free will is really a misnomer!


Such being the case, our choices in life are really pre-determined. It “seems” as though we are making a choice out of our free will, but our choices itself are limited in a certain way. Many things we do in our lives, our likes and dislikes, our temperament, our natural tendencies have all been pre-determined. Nothing can really happen with our own choice. We cannot even determine when we will fall asleep. All we can do is ready the bed and lie on it. Sleep will come but we cannot control when and how it comes. Such is our life. Life is nothing but realizing this grand truth, that things are not always in our hands or in our control! 


This idea, which at first seemed very romantic and beautiful, now seems to be daunting. It makes us think that we cannot change our future at all. Though our choices are limited and pre-determined, we still have that “free will” with which we can still make a choice between what is good and bad or right and wrong! But many times we are pushed to make a choice that is agreeable to all, but not in alignment with our innate temperament or nature. For example, a woman whose talent and interest lies in dancing has to “choose” to forego her dream in completing a degree in fine arts in order to attain a degree in engineering. A degree in engineering will “secure” her future compared to a degree in fine arts which will not yield financially. Now where is the choice in that? Seems like something pre-determined right?


Krishna in Bhagavad Gita says in Chapter 2, Verse 47: You have the right to perform your actions but not to the results of your actions. How very true! This verse does not tell you that you should not expect any results at all. It only tells you that the results cannot be influenced by you. This is just like sleeping. You can only make your bed and lie on it. The result (i.e. sleeping) is not in your control. You cannot say that 10 seconds from the moment you lie on your bed you will fall asleep with certainty. The result is not in our hands. But the action is. 

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