Fate Versus Free Will
As an astrologer and numerologist I am often able to see certain types of events -- both favorable and unfavorable -- that have happened in the past and could happen in the future for a client. This invariably brings up the question of whether our lives are fated or whether we have free will. What follows is not only what I have learned but what intuitively makes sense to me based on my belief that we live in a fair, just and loving Universe.
In the West we like to believe that we are in control of our own destiny; that we are the architects of our lives. In the East most people believe strongly in karma; that our past thoughts, words, and actions shape our future in this life and in successive lives. Which is true? I believe both are true! The life you have right now has been shaped by your past karma (and some group karma) in this life and in previous lives and the karma you are presently creating is shaping your future! Astrology and numerology do not tell us what will happen in our future. They tell us what might happen unless we consciously act to prevent or modify it. So, in a fair and just world, we are not the victims of fate at all -- we're the creators of it. Think about it. If we enjoy speaking well of people and being kind and loving then that is what the Universe will return to us eventually -- and vice versa. This is obvious just by observing people's lives. It can't be any other way since you are the creator of your own destiny. How wonderful is that?! You reap what you sow!
But what about "bad" things that happen to "good" people and "good" things that happen to "bad" people you may ask at this point. This is a good question but unfortunately, most of us are not aware of what we said and did in previous incarnations (lifetimes) so we don't know how that is affecting our life now. Also, we don't really understand just how powerfully the way we are thinking and acting now is actually shaping our future because of the time delay between what we think, say and do and what happens in our life. Furthermore, we all have unconscious and subconscious beliefs that profoundly effect our lives (see my section on Beliefs).
Now here is where things get a little bit trickier to understand because: (1) there are different kinds of karma, (2) there are different potencies of karma, (3) there is collective karma, (4) there is something called "the grace of God," and (5) we all inhabit the same Earth and are ultimately made of the same Essence (spiritual energy) but we are all at different levels of conscious awareness of our God-like, loving nature due to our individual karma that we carry over from previous lives. So, let me discuss each one of these points in turn.
Different Kinds of Karma
In Vedic astrology there are four different kinds of karma that effect everyone's life. Below is a table to help you understand the four different types of karma.
It is Sanchita karma and Prarabdha karma (past life karmas) that seem like fate. However, they are merely our actions in past lives that are returning to us now. It helps explains why "bad" things happen to "good" people and "good" things happen to "bad" people in this lifetime. Everything happens for a reason. Nothing happens by chance! The story of Job in the Bible is a good example of having faith in a loving Universe despite the Sanchita and Prarabdha karmic circumstances of your life. Obviously Kriyamana karma and Agama karma are the free-will karmas. What was done by free-will today acts as the cause of what is experienced as fate tomorrow. Transformation can only occur in life when the Agama and Kriyamana karmas neutralize the Sanchita and its currently materializing Prarabdha karmas. The quantity and quality of effort required to alter previous karmas depends on the intensity of the Prarabdha karma. The three degrees of karmic intensity which may apply to one, many or all areas of a person's life are talked about below.
Different Potencies of Karma
There are three different strengths of karma that affect our lives. Below is a table to help you understand the three different strengths of karma.
Most karmas are Adridha and Dridhadridha. If a normal, healthy person starts running to get in shape that is an example of Adridha karma. If a person is born with a severely deformed leg but through sheer will power, determination, courage and hard work learns how to run, that is an example of Dridhadridha karma. An example of Dridha karma would be of a mother giving birth to a baby with a congenital deformity when all of the pre-testing suggested that it would be healthy. Another would be being born into royalty. It just happens.
Just as individuals generate karma, so do neighborhoods, organizations, and nations. Group karma can override or strongly modify individual karma, particularly during collective experiences like war. This shows that we are not only responsible for our own actions but for the attitudes and acts of the communities of which we are members.
The Grace of God
Dridha karma cannot be changed by human effort but we truly live in a loving Universe where any perceived human problem can be eradicated in an instant with the Grace of God!
Different Levels of Conscious Awareness
It should come as no surprise that we are all at different levels of conscious awareness of our God-like nature. Someone who beats and yells at his wife is obviously not at the same level of spiritual awareness as an unconditionally loving saint. Since the ultimate purpose of life is to merge the personal self with the Infinite Self, our individual karma from previous lives has a very strong impact on the personality we adopt and circumstances of life that we are born into in this life.
So, an intelligent question to ask at this point might be, "Since I can't change the effects of my past thoughts and actions (without the grace of God), how should I live life so that I create only good karma for myself in the future instead of bad karma? " That, my friend, is the advice enlightened masters have been giving us throughout the ages and we all intuitively know how to live a virtuous life but our unmanaged, limited personalities tend to get in the way. Ultimately, we are working toward expressing unconditional love for everything on the planet, including ourselves! This is our true nature. Perhaps many of you are saying, "I already know that BUT HOW DO I CREATE ONLY GOOD KARMA NOW?!" By understanding the strengths and weaknesses of your personality better (via the various systems on this website for a start), by learning how to live with more awareness and mindfulness of your choices and how they affect your life, and by acting effectively and compassionately, you can to a large extent override the vectors of destiny that were set in motion when you took your first breath!
Questions? Comments? Suggestions? My e-mail address is: firstname.lastname@example.org
This page was last updated on 05/29/05.