Free Will and Destiny

Free will and destiny

"Whatever be your fate, you always have this choice of reacting to your fate in a positive or negative manner." - Dada JP Vaswani
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Is man a free agent? Or is he a puppet in the hands of Destiny? Can he change his own fate?

Let me quote a saying I hear very often: Bani banayi baan rahi aur kuch banani nah …

There are some people who will tell you everything is already ‘written’, that you cannot change what is to happen. Whatever you do, whatever efforts you put in, you will not be able to change your destiny.

There are others who tell you, that man is endowed with a free will, man has the freedom to change his destiny at every step, in every round of life.

Let me repeat the two different answers given to our question. The first is that man is a prisoner of his own fate. No matter how valiant his efforts, he cannot change the contours of his destiny.

The second answer is that man is absolutely free. He has the freedom of choice to act—to choose right or wrong. At every step of life, he can make the effort to improve his condition. Through his actions, he can actually succeed in changing his own karma and thus altering his own destiny.

I think that these two aspects of man’s condition are like the twin blades of a pair of scissors. The first is ichcha shakti—the freedom of choice; the second is prarabdha karma—our accumulated karma. Only when the two go together, can we act in any sense of the term. When the two blades act together, the scissors does its job. You cannot cut a piece of cloth with just one blade of the scissors. Likewise, fate and free will are both necessary for action.

Karma determines so many things that you cannot change. Karma determines the type of family into which you are born, your religion, your race and the type of body in which you are born. These are the things you cannot change.

But there is a place for free will even in such cases. Whatever be your fate, you always have this choice of reacting to your fate in a positive or negative manner. This is always within your power!

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