We are the makers of our destiny, but not the masters of our destiny

When we strive to achieve something challenging, we soon realize that the results don’t depend on us alone. For example, in cricket, our favorite team may play brilliantly, but if rain washes out the match’s decisive portion, that team may not win. That unknown factor which shapes results is conventionally called destiny.

We may wonder: What determines destiny? We do. Or rather, we have determined it, by our past actions. Destiny is essentially the sum total of our past karma, good and bad. Some portion of that karma stockpile combines with our present actions to determine the results of those actions. Sometimes, we may do a small good deed and reap a windfall. Why? Because destiny is favorable – our past positive karma is coming into play. At other times, we may make a small mistake and face a catastrophe. Why? Because destiny is unfavorable – our past negative karma is coming into play. Thus, three factors determine the result: our present action (karma), destiny (daiva) and time (kala).

To put it mathematically, Karma + Daiva + Kala = Phala

Because destiny is nothing but the combination of our past actions, we are indeed the makers of our destiny. However, we don’t determine whether destiny will manifest positively or negatively at a particular time; so, we are not the masters of our destiny – the Supreme Lord is.

Thus, the role of our present actions in shaping results is contributive, but non-definitive. Pertinently, the Bhagavad-gita (02.47) urges us to do our duty, but not be attached to the result (02.47).

On understanding that we are the makers of our destiny, we feel inspired to do our part wholeheartedly. On understanding that we are not the masters of our destiny, we learn to gracefully accept whatever results come our way.

Think it over:

  • Which factors determine the results of our actions? Explain.
  • How are we the makers, but not masters, of our destiny?
  • How can understanding destiny properly help us?

 

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