Mahabharat Episode 64: Destiny or Free Will – What Determines the Course of Your Life?
Questioner: In the poem “Destiny,” you say that a person can either choose to fulfill their destiny now, or do it later. Can you elaborate on that? And to what extent is it already known which choices a person will make in their lifetime?
Destiny is not a done thing
it is a string that makes
a garland of flower, bead or bone
You may wear it now or later
here or there. Or you may
place it upon the bosom of another
But even a flower shall not fall
without the tug of the string
Sadhguru: Let’s say I ask you to become six inches taller in one month’s time, could you do that? You would probably say, “Sadhguru has lost his mind.” But if I ask you to put on six kilograms within a month, and there is a purpose to it, could you do it? Yes. You could put on or lose weight, but you cannot grow taller. Destiny is like that; it is like the skeletal system of your body – without it, the flesh would not stand up for a moment. The skeletal system is what sets a certain basis and determines the shape of your body. And though you do not see it, it is always there. But still, it is the flesh which is determining who you are right now – how you look, what you do or do not do. Everything is determined by the flesh that you carry, not by the bones that you have.
Although you will not grow any taller, if you learn to use the “flesh” – your body, brain, emotions, and life energies – better, you will be in a different dimension of life. If you try to get away from your destiny, all that will happen is you may postpone it a little. You will not escape it. If you think postponement is better than doing it now, that is up to you, but I think that is a vain life. Something that can be done in this life should be done in this life – why postpone it to the next life, or why even create a next life? If you are wise and understand the nature of your existence at least intellectually, you should not postpone your destiny; you must deal with it now. The very essence of the spiritual process is to deal with your destiny now.
I generally shut down anyone who talks about destiny, because they will exaggerate its role and limit their lives unnecessarily. Destiny brings certain limitations, but that is not what you should be looking at. Do not ignore all the other possibilities that are there. This has become the mindset – when people say, “I am human,” they are referring to their humanity only as a limitation, not as a possibility. I want you to look at being human as a limitless possibility. With a small keyhole, you can open up a big door, and it opens up a much bigger world out there.
Is there no such thing as destiny? There is, but you must banish it from your mind. You must go with Inner Engineering, which does not believe in destiny. There is nothing to do about that which is fixed – just leave it. You need to work with that which is not fixed. Focus on those things that you can do something about.
To be continued...
The articles of this series are based on talks by Sadhguru during the Mahabharat program at the Isha Yoga Center, Coimbatore, in February 2012. Guided by Sadhguru, participants went on a mystical exploration into the wisdom of this immortal saga, through music, dance, and spiritual processes.