Fate or Free Will ? Can free will change destiny? Is our fate predetermined?
An astrological perspective on fate vs free will in life
Fate or Free Will? Can free will change destiny? Can you go against fate? Do humans have free will or is our fate predetermined? Is free will an illusion? Are things fixed for us? Whether Astrology talks of fate or free will? Are we robots who are remote-controlled by planets?
These questions cross our minds quite often. From an Astrological perspective, there is no absolute term called 'Fate'. And neither there is any absolute term called 'Free Will.' The reality lies somewhere in middle of the spectrum defined by 'Fate' and 'Free Will.' Let’s understand this further.
Fate or Free will and the Great Karma Cycle 🦋
Hindu Scriptures defines three types of karmas. They are - Sanchit Karma, Prarabdha Karma and Kriyamana or Aagaam Karma. The ‘deterministic’ view of ‘karma’ is the most common even today. This view believes that we all must suffer consequences of our karma. There is no escape from it and neither can we change any outcome associated with it.
When the part of the Sanchit karma appears before us ready to be experienced, it is the Prarabdha Karma.
Kriyamana or Aagaam Karma is the karma that we create or incur through our thoughts. Once we incur this karma it becomes part of the sanchit karma. We have to experience this part either in this life or in future lives.
Swami Vivekananda believed that the ‘Will’ is not ‘Free’ in the true sense of the term. It is a phenomenon bound by cause and effect — but there is something behind the will which is free. (Sayings and Utterances)
The Vedanta Philosophy explains the karma cycle through a bowman analogy. We are a bowman with quiver full of arrows (sanchit karma). The arrows represent sum total of all good and bad deeds in our past lives. We take an arrow and fire it (Prarabdha Karma). The act of taking aim and firing the arrow is the experiencing of the past karma. Our family, society, self etc. influences this karma. The sanchit and prarabdha karma is together refered to as Fate or Destiny.
Are we bound by our Fate? 🦋
NO. It is not that absolute. We live somewhere in the middle of the spectrum of ‘fate’ and ‘free will’. Our action driven by intention leads to karma that decides future consequences. The Vedanta, Buddhist Philosophy or Hindu philosophy, all are stating the same thoughts.
RationalAstro believes that we choose positive or negative karma cycle by free will. All opportunities, situations or problems in life is due to our own Sanchit karma. We decide on that opportunity, problem or situation presented by the Sanchit Karma. This becomes our Prarabdha Karma. Our thoughts and mental state through which we incur Prarabdha Karma is the Aagaam karma.
Fate or Free Will - The Wise knew 🦋
The wise in our families always tell us to adopt positive thinking. A positive mindset means good aagaam karma. With such a mind when we decide on life’s opportunities, we improve our prarabdh karma. After we have incurred prarabdh karma on a situation, it becomes part of our sanchit karma. The positive balance of the sanchit karma improves. This, in turn, presents us with better opportunities and situations in life in future. This cycle goes on for eternity.
Vice versa is also true. Negative mindset means adverse aagaam karma. If we have a negative mindset, we spoil our prarabdha karma as well. This adverse decision increases the negative balance in the sanchit karma. Life then presents us with adverse situations, and the cycle continues.
Thus, we are masters of our fate or destiny. Whether life is driven by fate or free will, it all starts from our thinking. The planets do not fix everything around us and ask us to live life like zombies. We can drive our life by our thoughts (aagaam karma) and actions (prarabdha karma). It is in our hand to create a positive or negative karma cycle for us.
What’s the difference between Fate and Free Will? 🦋
Fate or free will is one of the most debated topics in philosophical thoughts. Fate is what is presented before us and Free Will is what we decide on what has been presented before us. Some scholars believe that free will is an illusion. There’s no such thing as free will as the will gets conditioned by our circumstances. There are others who has a completely different take on the theme of fate vs free will. For them, free will is absolute and unbounded.
From the point of view of Astrology, instance of a fate or free will has a continuum. There will be a point when fate and free will should coexist. Both fate and free will determine our life. We are governed by both fate and free will.
At a deeper level, all these schools of thoughts about fate, free will and astrology merge. We cannot say that our fate is predetermined. Free will shapes the destiny.
Why do we believe in fate? 🦋
There can be many answers to it, but one crucial aspect is the uncertainty of life itself. The randomness and chaos around us is profound and unpredictable. We are never sure what we will face in our life each day. The best of astrologers can only give general probabilistic indications about events. They can never predict precise events that are going to happen.
Each day we have to make hundreds of decisions on various life situations. We often take faulty decisions. This is due to our own cognitive biases or mental cobwebs and influence of emotions. We realize this much after we have taken the decision and faced its consequences. With the benefit of hindsight, we might even regret taking the faulty decision. But there is no way out as we have already made a decision and acted upon it. As a coping mechanism, our mind tend to attribute this 'learned helplessness' to "fate". The fatalist thought that such outcomes are inevitable and pre-decided is comforting. Such thoughts gives us temporary relief from the stress of our own faulty decisions.
But, genuine astrologers have a different view on it. They don't believe in ‘fatalism’ but are ardent practitioners of ‘free will’. The RationalAstro school of thought rests on this core principle. The role of 'fate' is limited only to the opportunity that is presented before us due to our sanchit karma. We take decisions on such situations. The family and social environment binding us can also be attributed to fate. But, beyond this, everything is free will. The action that we take comes back to us in the form of new and different situations at different times in our lives. And this karma cycle continues forever till we get moksha.
Astrology takes us from ‘fatalism’ to ‘free will’ 🦋
Whenever there is a discussion on fate vs free will, astrology has much to offer. Fate is a vast canvas within which we are free to draw whatever we like. Astrology is an excellent tool through which we can analyse the times we are in. This is done through a complete horoscope analysis. We can then exercise free will to align our lives according to the planetary energies. Astrology teaches us to be spiritual, focused and detached. It doesn’t advocates cures for sufferings for there is none. Suffer we must. Astrology only helps us to suffer better.
The probability of a right decision increases when we decide with a positive mind. In other words, we choose to remain in a positive karma cycle. As good things keep happening over and over again we say we are fortunate.
Astrology is thus a spiritual decision-making tool rooted in the karma cycle. It aims to bring out the best in us despite challenging situations that surrounds us all the time. Astrology is not about ‘eventualities’ but it is about ‘possibilities.’
If ‘fate’ steers our life, it’s like a rudderless boat at the mercy of ocean. If we take charge of our life through ‘free will’, it’s like a boat with a strong rudder cruising through the ocean storms. Let us create our own positive karma cycle and take charge of our ‘fate’. Let’s carve our own 'destiny'.
God of Fate 🦋
World over, in different mythologies we find mention of God of fate. In ancient Egypt, Shai, also called as Shay, Shchai or Schay is considered as God of destiny. Greeks consider Moirai or Moirae as the three goddesses of fate and destiny. Hindu Vedic Astrology considers Saturn or Shani as the God of Karma.
So, can God change someone’s free will? Can you go against fate? Yes, why not? We are part of God- the panchtattvas and God is within us. The great Maharashi Ramana said that the only truth is ‘Self’. The soul, this world and the God are mere appearances in it. When the ‘I’ merges in the self, the question whether life is controlled by fate or free will doesn’t matter anymore. The fate and free will dichotomy reconciles at this point.
Fate and destiny in Hinduism has been discussed at great lengths. Life is controlled by both fate and free will. There are differing views of Hinduism on this issue. But there is a broad agreement that karma decides destiny. Our fate or results one deserves in this life are deeply rooted in karma. Due to the karma cycle, we are not bound by either fate or destiny. It’s not about ‘fate OR free will’. Rather, it is about ‘fate AND free will.’
Mahavishnu Mukti Mantra 🦋
Bhagwan Vishnu sustains the Universe. HE judges the karma of human beings as ‘dharma’ or ‘adharma’. The Vishnu Sahasranama or the thousand names of Lord Vishnu talks of this function. One of the names of Vishnu is ‘Dharmadhyaksha’ as Lord Vishnu decides rewards based on the karma of the being.
Let us dedicate the next few minutes and listen to the 108 chants of the Mahavishnu Mukti Mantra. Let’s keep strengthening the values of love and compassion. Through our free will, let us make this Earth a better place to live for each one of us.
🙏 Om Tat Sat 🙏
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