The Law of Destiny –
The nature of man is the cumulative effect of all his past thoughts, desires and actions. Past activities are the cause. Present nature is the effect. This effect is called destiny. Your present is therefore a result of your past. Past activities are fait accompli. They have been concluded already. You cannot alter them. The result is set by those causes. Hence your present destiny is fixed irrevocably. You are a victim of your own past actions. If you had education in the past you are literate today, if not you are an illiterate. Once you pull the trigger in a gun the bullet must travel in the direction of the barrel you have set. You have no option thereafter. The bullet has left the barrel. It must take its course and strike the target.
You are the creator of your own destiny. People believe that destiny is pre-ordained by God. It is not so. God is the supreme power, which enables you to think, desire, and act. But God does not interfere with the nature of your thoughts, desires and actions. You are the architect of your actions. You make or mar your life. It would therefore be unfair to blame God for your destiny.
What you sow you reap. Your luck or fortune lies in your own hands. Nowhere else. Had it not been so religion would have no purpose to serve? Spiritual courses would have no meaning. Vedanta fixes the responsibility of your life upon yourself. You can mould your destiny in any manner you like.
God helps those who help themselves. This is the law of nature. When you put in the effort, when you fully deserve anything, you get it. But without effort, without deserving you will never get it. Vedanta says, Deserve only and you need not desire’.
“The Law of Destiny explains your present with reference to your past. Law of Karma is an extension of law of destiny. Law of Karma explains the entire phenomenon of life on the basic principle of cause and effect. The law covers your past, present and future. It says that you are not only the product of your past but producer of the future. With reference to the past actions you are a product. Whereas with reference to the future you are a producer.
As it is you are bound by your own past. At the same time you are free to act, as you will. Freedom and bondage seem to co-exist in you. Therefore there are two elements in man. One is independent variable, free. Other is dependant, invariable, binding. The independent element is called Purushartha or self-effort. The dependant element is called Prarabdha or destiny.
You are free to choose either of the two elements. Your present destiny or fate is the result of your own choice of action in the past. Your prarabdha is a sum total of all your past purusharthas. Your destiny is the effect. Your self-effort is the cause of it. If your self-efforts in the past have all been positive your present destiny will be positive. If they have been negative your destiny will be negative. If your efforts have been partly positive and partly negative then your present destiny will take the same proportion”.
“ It is your effort that makes the difference in your destiny. People do not understand this but attribute their success or failure to God. God is only the substratum of all activities. He has nothing to do with the mode of activity. God is like the sun above. Sun is the source of all activities. Sun provides energy to the saint and sinner alike. The same sun provides vitality to animals and plants as well. But all of them act according to their inner nature. You cannot blame the Sun with vice or virtue of men. So also God is above your activities and fruits thereof.
Your present destiny is the result of your self-effort. If you are a sensual man you pursue sensual activities. If you are a spiritual man you pursue spiritual activities. Does that mean your present choice of activity is influenced by your past? If that be so where does purushartha comes in? What does free-will mean? How does self-effort fit in the present tendency set by past activities? These questions have baffled serious thinkers on the subject. Vedanta gives a complete answer. The following e.g. should explain the relationship between prarabdha (destiny) and purushartha (self-effort).
A wall is painted yellow color. There is a tin of blue paint. Take a little of blue paint and apply it on the wall. Blue mixes with yellow to form green. Those who look at the wall directly do not see blue at all. They believe you are applying only green paint. But in fact you are applying only blue. Keep painting blue over and over again. The yellow gets neutralized and blue appears on the wall. Now compare blue paint to your free will or purushartha. Yellow background to your destiny or prarabdha. Just as blue is independent of yellow your free will is independent of your destiny. But when you apply your free will in the background of your destiny its effect is changed. The only way to assert your free-will is to keep on applying it. Sooner or later it neutralizes your destiny and establishes itself ”.