Destiny or Providence- that is,’The Supernatural Power which Controls
What happens In The Future’, as per the definition given in the
Merriam Webster Dictionery.
The subject has captured the interest of many people, educated and uneducated, and is a matter of constant dispute,especially in the developing countries.
Scientists and rationalists like Sanil Edmarku challenge the existence of any such power, supposed to operate on the basis of a person’s past actions, called ‘Karma’,in this life or in a previous life, which predetermines everyone’s future.They dismiss it disdainfully as ‘Blind Faith’. and attribute all happenings to Chance and Coincidence.
For clarification, if you are passing along a road on which there is a ditch at one point, the likelihood of Your falling into it is governed by the Law of percentage of Chance, and to reduce that chance to ‘zero’, what is required to be done is – not going to an astrologer and getting some ‘vidhi’ or ritual done to ensure that you will not fall into it, but – exercising your Free Will to gather the support of all the people who have to use that road, and bring pressure on the Municipality to fill up the ditch at the earliest, so that the danger itself is removed and thus not only you, but nobody need fall into it! The Same principle applies to Social evils and Medical illnesses. The remedy is to raise social awareness to curb social evils, and improve the cleanliness and hygiene of the surroundings, and not to go to a soothsayer for delivery from that evil or illness!
Likewise, if a Truck comes and hits you, just as you set out to cross the road, it is only Coincidence or the fault of your personal judgement and Not your Destiny, according to the rationalistic intellectuals.That is, you could have avoided the accident by keeping your eyes and ears open, and using your Free Will to decide whether to cross the road at that moment or wait for the truck to pass, judiciously.But Is it always that? That is the matter of dispute !
An acquaintance of mine told me a very interesting story about how some unfortunate things are ‘destined’ to happen in some people’s life, which cannot be avoided, even if the person is informed about the impending misfortune, and makes all possible efforts to put it off.
He told me about a man known to him, who went to an astrologer friend, and requested him to tell him when he was going to die,and in what way.
The friend naturally tried to dissuade him from learning about his death,
As astrologers normally do, for they think there is no point in knowing when one is destined to die. However, the man insisted on being told about it.
Finally, the astrologer relented and told him about a period during which he would die, while driving a vehicle. Accordingly,when that period approached,
The man stopped driving any vehicle. He appointed a driver for his car,and on the days when the driver took leave, he would travel either by autorickshaw or bus or local train, BUT COMPULORILY SHUNNED holding the steering wheel of his car, and driving his car himself. So the entire period of foreboding passed uneventfully, and the LAST DAY ( The ‘Eides of March’)arrived, after which the astrologer told him that he would live a long life if he survived that day. Well, that day too progressed normally till the afternoon, and the man started taking easy breaths.
Then, at about 3/4 oClock, a friend of his came to call him to see the car which he had newly purchased, and which he had to check before taking possession of it. This man refused first, telling him of the prediction, but his friend coaxed him to come,saying that he would not have to drive the car, but just sit by the side to guide his friend in using the parts of the car, and tell whether it ran properly. So the ill- fated man went along and sat by the side of the driver’s seat. For some time, his friend seemed quite confident and comfortable driving the car, so they went along merrily. Suddenly, at a turning, it so happened that the car’s owner wanted to reverse the car,but started fumbling and getting nervous as he could not do it, and he saw a truck just behind his car. Seeing that he began to drive awkwardly, as not yet used to driving, the man who went alongwith him too became panicky, and seized the steering wheel from his friend,to take the car to one side, and escape being hit by the truck. That one moment was enough for the truck,or his Destiny to catch up with him, and the truck rammed into the new car, killing him on the spot, while the owner of the car escaped with minor injuries! That means that what is destined to happen, will happen, no matter how much one may struggle to avoid it.
However, sometimes, premonitions, or advance and timely warnings through astrological predictions do have a life- saving effect too. It was explained to me that this may be because of a phenomenon called ‘Gandantar’, which means that though your allotted life span may not be over, the position of the stars in the heavens is such that any misfortune or death can occur before it’s due time. I too have experienced the saving power of premonitions or intuitive warnings in my life, and know that they often help!
My father and I also belonged to the band of disbelievers in the theory,
and my Father opposed even his father, my grandfather, in getting my horoscope prepared. He sincerely believed that the horoscope or astrological predictions should not influence one’s actions, plans for the future, and one should exercise one’s ‘Free Will’ in leading one’s daily life.
However certain things that some acquaintances told me, viz. about future events that would happen in my life, well in advance, by their astrological Calculations, made on the basis of my Birth Date, turned out to be so uncannily correct, date wise, and content wise, that they left even my skeptical father astonished and wonder-stuck. He just could not follow how the events could be predicted so exactly, so far ahead in time!
And particularly how can the Position and strength of Planets or Stars,(which are merely physical astronomical bodies in space, according to Astronomers and Physicists) classified as Beneficial and Malefic, at the time of birth, in the Natal Chart, influence anyone’s personal life?
I had similar experiences in relation to my late husband,about whom too, predictions made by astrologers, one of whom drew out the ‘Phal-Patrika'(statement of predictions) through a ‘Granth’ (collection of horoscopes and the readings of Destiny as derived from it), named ‘Bhrigu Samhita’ after the Sage Bhrigu, to whom the Granth is credited,
with surprising accuracy, even about the period of his demise, which was
Foretold to be destined to occur in Navratri,and happened during a Navratri!
Then my father tried to figure out how these predictions materialize, viz. the connection between the events and their prediction, by rationalization. According to him, some persons have the psychic power of ‘clairvoyance’, I.e. A kind of ‘sixth Sense’ which gives them the ability to see incidents happening in other people’s lives, which are not in their immediate sphere of observation or hearing, and that the horoscope,or the natal chart is simply a way of achieving the concentration necessary for such visualization. This is the view held by many Scientists who do research in Paranormal Happenings. However, this theory is liable to the argument that, to be able to read or see what is written in the future of any person 2/3 years in advance, means that there must be, or there IS something decided beforehand by the ‘Power’ or Destiny of the person, for it to be predicted, or to be realized at the calculated time!
However, no one knows or completely understands the ‘Modus Operandi’
of the factors which Determine a person’s Fortune or Destiny – How his/her past actions, good and bad, in this life, or an earlier one get translated into his/her ‘Fate’, viz. good or bad luck to be encountered later on, through the medium of the Stars! The mechanism of this has remained a mystery for me to this date.
Even more controversial is the theory of ‘retribution’,ESP. In the judgement in criminal cases. If everything is decided from the beginning by Destiny, why punish murderers and criminals? It might be the victim’s ‘Prarabdha’ or Destiny to die by murder, because of some atrocity that the murder victim may have inflicted on the murderer in a past life, that impelled the murderer to attack him!
The justification for non-retaliation is to avoid the continuity of hatred towards the person, and not take upon oneself the sin of doing harm to that person. If he/she is destined to suffer, or die of murder, for some past Karma, somebody else will do it, if not we!
At this point, I feel like quoting a reply of my son, in jest of course, to my question to him about the rash way in which young people these days walk with Headphones over their ears, listening to music, or chatting on their Mobile phones, or else, ride their vehicles on busy roads. I had asked him,”Do you think that just because you have been generally lucky, you can Assume that you can move about like nobody’s business on a crowded street, and escape being knocked down by a loaded truck rushing towards you?” He said, “Why not? If I am lucky, the driver of the truck will apply the brakes well before his truck throws me down”!
While there is truth in this argument, as it has really happened so once in his own case, except that he was saved from a car instead of a truck, my sincere advice is that, because Providence or ‘Addrisht’ is unforeseen and unpredictable, its grace should never be taken for granted, for we can’t say when it will fail us.
On the other hand, believing too much in negative predictions can block our Free Will to make effort or ‘Purusharth’, or exercise our judgement to take independent decisions, and thus become unduly inhibited,so that we may give up trying in some matters altogether, simply because some Jyotishi or Fortune – teller has told us that there is no chance of success or good luck in those endeavors or matters, like taking decision regarding a marriage or business proposal. Worse, sometimes, a mistaken prediction about a vital matter like death can subject a person to unnecessary anxiety and panic!
Therefore, though I believe that there is a definite phenomenon as Destiny or Fate, I hold the opinion that one should not allow ourself to be bound by the shackles of ‘fatalistic thinking’, but should instead concentrate on doing honest effort and good ‘Karma’ , at least for achievement of realistic worldly goals, as well as for peace and harmony among human beings, if not for some supernatural benefit through the ‘Time- Machine’, (Kaal Chakra) of Karma!
For, as wise folk say, “God helps those who help themselves”! In Sanskrit too, there is an equivalent Shloka,” Karmanye Vadhikaraste, Ma phaleshu kadachana:||
Even Good Fortune to be realized requires our effort, e.g. to get Success in an examination to Qualify for a Degree in a field of education, we have to study. For Lady Providence is not going to drop the Degree in our lap, unless we study for it!
Likewise, though each of us has a soul which is a part of the Eternal Spirit,
Through the medium of which one can reach great spiritual heights and attain communion with the Divine, we have to remember that we also have a mortal body of flesh and blood which is subject to all the risks of this physical world, which has nothing to do with our being good or bad, but has a greater relation to exercise of caution.
For example, If I walk down a rough road lost entirely in lofty or other thoughts, and fail to notice a ditch in my path, I am bound to have a bad fall, as surely as a wicked person, in spite of my virtuous nature.
Likewise, if I eat some unhygienic food and develop food poisoning, I have only myself to blame for it, because God and Nature don’t promise to protect anyone who remains habitually absentminded and detached from the world of reality. He has given us a body to carry out all the functions of life, and we are as much bound to guard it from accident and ailment, as to keep away from things that defile our Soul!
Nevertheless, I do wish that some scholar in this field would elucidate
the connection between ‘Karma’ and ‘Niyati’ (Destiny), for our enlightenment on this Deep and Occult Subject. I feel that the accuracy with which the predictions made by some expert astrologers – about the distant future of their clients on the basis of their Natal Horoscope(Lagna Kundali) and ‘Navmansh Kundali’- turn out to be correct at the stated time, signifies that the Law of Destiny, supposed to be related to our ‘Karma’ or Deeds in this life or perhaps earlier lives if there are any, does work in some way through the Medium of the Stars or Planets, though the Mode of its Operation still remains a Mystery!