Man has been eternally debating the inter-relationship between Destiny and Freewill. Is man a helpless bystander to the events unfolding in his life and reacting to them in pre-ordained fashion, like a puppet on the string of destiny; or can he design his own destiny? It is an interesting and never ending debate. There is a famous quote of a great German Philosopher Arthur Schopenhaur –“A man can do what he wills, but, he cannot will what he wills”.
We shall examine both destiny and freewill separately, below.
We discussed earlier in Karma Theory , that the Karmas done by the native in his infinite births shape his destiny of present birth. He has no control on where he will take birth; whether in a poor family or with a silver spoon in the mouth. This fact, itself could be termed as Destiny. Also, if events are not pre-ordained, they cannot be predicted.
The fact that something, some event, due to take place at a future date could be predicted, give credence to the existence of Destiny or Fate.
There is a great force, which shapes human lives and destinies; in Vedic Astrology, we call it “Karma”. The present is conditioned by past Karmas, and the Karmas we do in present, shape our future.
Those who know Astrology, can only partially indicate, what will happen in future; who else, except the creator “Brahma”, can say with certainty, what will surely happen.
We discussed earlier in Karma Theory that an action less existence is not possible; whoever has taken birth has to do action or ‘Karma’. To act is to live, and action is within the freedom of a human being. However, Universe is a harmonious place and to live in harmony, one has, of necessity, to accept limitations. If Freewill is not limited, then what stops a man from achieving whatever he desires. He can act and act, till he gets, what he wants. In reality, it does not happen. So Freewill exists, but with limitations imposed by Destiny.
It is here that Vedic Astrology steps in to illuminate and explain the complex link between Destiny and Freewill. Consider an example:- Imagine a cow is tied to a peg by tether which is 10 meters long. The cow has liberty to sit near the peg or to roam and sit at 3,4 or 5 meters(and so on..) distance from the Peg, but up to maximum distance of 10 metres from the peg.
Here, the peg is “Destiny or Fate”; there is nothing a cow can do about it; and the tether is “Freewill”. Its length and elasticity are decided by past and present Karmas. The cow can do what it wants to do in the 10 meters area around the peg, but if it wants to eat grass grown at 12 metres away from the peg, it cannot. So, The ‘Tether’ of Freewill is firmly fixed to the ‘Peg’ of Destiny.
So, we have seen now, that Freewill exists but regulated by Karmic limitations. Vedic Astrology is the medium, which can calculate the Karmic Limitations, so that one can know the best time, for performing a certain type of action. What needs to be understood is that our natures, our inclinations, our outlooks are conditioners that have been granted to us by our past. Freewill is the agency that produces activity, action, the ‘Karmas’ and prepares the conditioning for the future; the two are totally interlinked.
So, we conclude that Man is neither a pawn on nature’s chess board, nor is he an architect of his own future.
Ps:- Many extracts of this article are taken from the Book- ‘Introduction to Astrology’ authored by my respected teacher ‘Col. Shri A.K. Gaur’ , Honory member of Bhartiya Vidya Bhawan, New Delhi