Destiny, another common word that holds a lot of meaning. How many times have we used this term in vain? What does it mean? Most commonly it means an event or a course of events that will inevitably happen in the future. In other words, fixed natural order of the universe. How many times has something happened, something we cannot really control and we can’t help but say, “I don’t know what to do? Its destiny!”
There are several ways to go about understanding destiny. There is the spiritual/ religious way, scientific way, and then there is a way that says that destiny is nothing but something made up or fictitious. It is widely believed that our lives are fixed by an almighty power that decides our fate, Hinduism believes in the law of karma. It states that our life is dominated by the actions or “karmas” of past life. It believes that good deeds lead to saintliness and bad deeds lead to sinfulness on the basis of our karma, we get happiness and suffering in our next life. It is also believed that there is a God up there looking down on us, keeping a record of all we are doing, I had heard this in a movie, but it made a lot of sense to me. The message was that God has chosen 10 doors for us, but he leaves it to us to choose which one is right for us. It just depends on us to find the right way.
Our modern world is highly dominated by logic and science. So as always there’s a scientific view of things. Our perception of what our life is going to be like is dominated greatly by many aspects of our environment. When you are growing up your beliefs and attitude towards life, your spiritual or religious background, what part of the world you live in, your confidence level, the locus of control are greatly influenced by your parents. These factors also play an important part in your understanding of the word called ‘destiny’.
If your parents are strong believers, living with them and learning from them you subconsciously have the same beliefs. Then in college, you get influenced by your friends and what they think. Suddenly what you learned at home and at school is overridden. Yes, you certainly still believe that destiny does exist but are a little confused whether to listen to your friends or believe what your parents say, what your religion teaches you.
But another question may arise, who really thinks of destiny when they are in college? Yes, college is the time of life almost no one forgets, your first dance with your date, first set of exams after all the fun and games that made you so nervous. The first time you fell in love. Doesn’t everything just look so beautiful? What if you fail that exam or have your heart broken or both? Did you do something horrible to deserve this or was it just destiny?
But sometimes in all our lives, we all have gone through another phase where we think to ourselves that it was destiny playing a prank on us. You not only think of destiny when we are sad but also when we are happy. When you find a spouse, someone you really love, or when you have been working so hard and finally get a break you were looking for. Whatever the reason be we wonder about our destiny when we don’t really understand what is going on. But not everyone is so like-minded. There are so many others who do not believe that their life is already decided. They very strongly believe their life is in their hands and destiny has nothing to do with it. Everything is simply a matter of cause and effect.
Interestingly, that is something similar to what the Caravaka School of philosophy believes. They say there is nothing called past life, future life, hell, heaven, etc. The past is gone and can never come back, the future is unknown and is unsure, the only certainty is the present. So enjoy the present and live life to the fullest. Many people believe this. Maybe not to the extreme but they do, to them life is just the consequence of choices. Everyone is entitled to their own point of view. No perception is right or wrong.
So many people, every day, begin their day with new aspirations of doing something new, something productive, so often they go through the daily newspaper and read their horoscope to know what is in store for them during the day. So I pause with the question, can knowing our destiny really change it? The answer to this is a paradox. I personally believe that life is full of decisions and choices. Each decision alters our life in one way or the other, and knowing what is written in our destiny can help us make better decisions.
Humans are ultimately hedonistic and we all want what is best for us and for the ones we love and care about. Knowing what the future might hold can show us a way, or may give us hope that something wonderful is waiting for us. We can spend most of our life dreaming about something wonderful to happen to us or we can work hard to achieve what we want. Either way, the future is going to come. All we can do is make the right choices with the available knowledge so we can get there.
But then it is also true that whatever happens, happens for a reason. It may be that finding out what is in our destiny is actually a part of the destiny itself. It could be that we are destined to find the knowledge so we live our lives better and healthier.