Saturday, 26 March 2016

Astrology, Destiny and Free Will

The most fascinating debate of all times is whether Life is a matter of the choices we make, or it is merely destiny and fate. Usually most people have these two thought processes in this regard.

Thought process 1:  If everything is destined, what role do I have to play here? If I don’t have control on anything, how does Astrology make sense? What’s the point of knowing the future if I can’t change it. How does the law of Karma fit into this?

Thought process 2: If I can control everything, why does it so happen that people are born with particular talents and disabilities, or why some people never meet with success no matter how hard they work while others are propelled effortlessly to name and fun, without having to do much?

Both the thoughts make absolute sense and neither of them is completely incorrect. 
The truth is that life is actually a result of Destiny and Free Will. The family and social environment we are born into is destiny which is the outcome of our previous life karmas. Same goes with our health status at the time of birth, our core talents etc. We see that a lot of people are born artists. People having no family history in Music are born singers/performers. There are many such examples we see that show the power of destiny in our life.

But had only destiny been into play, we wouldn’t have been bestowed with the gift of intellect to make decisions at every point of life. It is these choices that we make that build up our present life karma further contributing to our destiny.

The law of Karma says that all that happens in one's life is the result of his own deeds. One can never escape the fruits of whatever he has done. Just like different plants take different time spans to grow up, different actions also take different time spans to bear fruit. And so the result of some act may take more time to fructify than the remaining life span of the person who committed that act. In such cases, the person has to bear the results of such actions in his next life. 

At every moment one is the sum of what one has been, and yet at the same time constantly creating who one is to be.Thus we see that destiny and free will go hand in hand. Thus comes the equation:

Destiny + Free Will= Reality/Result

There are three types of karma:

Sanchit karma is the total accumulated stock of one's past karmas.  This can be seen through the Vedic Horoscope of the individual majorly through the planetary placements in various houses, zodiacs and constellations.

Prarabdha karma, what we call as destiny is that part of sanchit karma which is passed down to us in this birth for suffering or enjoyment. This again is reflected in the Vedic Horoscope of the individual through the major and sub period of various planets and transit influence. These are the situations/opportunities/ adversities that will arrive in the present life span of the individual.

Agami karma which is performed in this birth, out of free will, is the karma of the present life. This part is not reflected in the horoscope as it is the present life action of the individual. This action may be conditioned by the cultural and social environment and belief systems but still the power to act is in your hand. Thus while Prarabdha karma is something which cannot be undone, we have free will available in the form of Agami karma.

When we say that Destiny cannot be changed, or what the Supreme Power has written cannot be undone, we talk about the Prarabdha karmas. This does not mean that one cannot create new karma. Because new karma is always getting created, not just with your actions but even with your thoughts.

The sages created Vedic astrology to help human beings understand the cycles of their lives based on karma they'd created in previous incarnations. The horoscope was designed as a kind of blueprint or a report card for the individual that summarized their level of accomplishment up to the moment they were born. A Vedic Horoscope reveals the karmic status of different areas in their life such as family, romance, career, finances, and spiritual growth. 

The role of Astrology is to make the individual aware of his journey of life, and taking his previous karmic account into consideration draw an image of his future endeavors. By analyzing his planetary positions at the time of birth, the astrologer gets an insight into the situations that will arise in the individual’s life and guides him on how to use those opportunities to the fullest. Through remedies, the individual exercises his free will to solve life’s problems making the most of his strengths at the same time being aware of his weaknesses.

Remember that the horoscope only reveals our karmic status up to the moment of our birth. But from the moment of birth, our attitudes and behaviors in this life modify the future course of our karma, for better or worse. By living with full awareness, making wise choices, and acting effectively and compassionately, we can to a large extent override the vectors of destiny that were set in motion when we took our first breath. Vedic astrology does not tell us what will happen in our future. It tells us what might happen unless we consciously act to prevent or modify it. Think of a traffic light: it signals when it's time for us to stop or go. But it's our stepping on the brake or accelerator that makes the car move. The choice to act and the act itself come from us, not from the stars.

The horoscope is a beginning point for spiritual practice, a platform to work on. It’s not a judge's sentence that leaves no chance for an appeal. This physical body we value so much is the least of what we are. In fact we're multidimensional beings who have lived before and will live again to suffer or enjoy the results of the action we're performing right now. 

So when we try to find our fortune in the stars, we need to remember that we ourselves are the authors. Astrology is the roadmap. But we need to travel, and travel a lot, all by ourselves.