• This forum contains old posts that have been closed. New threads and replies may not be made here. Please navigate to the relevant forum to create a new thread or post a reply.
  • Welcome to Tamil Brahmins forums.

    You are currently viewing our boards as a guest which gives you limited access to view most discussions and access our other features. By joining our Free Brahmin Community you will have access to post topics, communicate privately with other members (PM), respond to polls, upload content and access many other special features. Registration is fast, simple and absolutely free so please, join our community today!

    If you have any problems with the registration process or your account login, please contact contact us.

Fate,Free Will & God's Will

Not open for further replies.


Well-known member
Dear All,
nice article to read.

This article is a chapter from the book What the River Has Taught Me.
Fate, Free Will and God’s Will

Sri N. Ananthanarayanan

Strange are the world’s ways. Strange is the working of the human ego. When egoistic people succeed in some of their puerile pursuits they boast on every side: "I did this. I did that. Nothing can stop me from succeeding. Nothing can prevent me from doing what I want to do". They take upon themselves all the credit for their success. When these very people fail in some other direction, they say, "It’s all fate. See, idiots are prospering. It’s my bad luck". They tap their foreheads with their fingers and exclaim, "Taqdeer! Kismet!". Thus, when they succeed, they attribute their success to their own dynamic ability, and when they fail, they trace their failure to some vague ‘destiny’. They lay the blame on Taqdeer. They do not want to take the blame upon themselves.
Did I succeed? Ah, yes. I exercised my free will. Did I fail? Fate willed it so. This is convenient logic. This is fooling oneself. This is self-contradictory. But the whole world talks in this fashion. At the back of this false logic is the human ego.
Lord Acton said, " Power corrupts. Absolute power corrupts absolutely". Likewise, success also corrupts the mind. The successful man’s head swells. He begins to forget God. He begins to think high of himself. He begins to brag. He will talk to his friends on the limitless possibilities of human achievement. He will talk contemptuously of those who meet with failure in life. He will sermonize on free will.
What is this free will? In Hindu scriptural lore, whole treatises like the Yoga Vasishtha are devoted to glorifying free will or Purushartha. Stories, like those of Markandeya and Savitri, are cited in support. In his "Sure Ways for Success in Life and God-realisation", Sivananda himself names some persons who rose from poverty to power by their own self-effort.
But then, in this world, for every person who is able to raise himself by his own free will or self-effort, there are any number of others who are tied down to adverse circumstances by that unseen power called fate. In the same Hindu religious lore which glorifies free will, there are any number of passages and stories to declare and assert the inevitability of destiny or Prarabdha.
The question naturally arises: "Which is more powerful? Fate or free will? What is the truth of the matter?".
The question itself is wrong and is based on the misconception that fate and free will are two separate entities. Sivananda clears this misconception. He says that the destiny or Prarabdha that we enjoy or suffer in this life is the result of the exercise of our free will or Purushartha in previous lives. He adds that our actions in this life will shape our destiny in future lives. Prarabdha and Purushartha, fate and free will, are not two different entities, but only two different names to indicate the same set of actions viewed from a particular point of time and from a particular angle of metaphysical speculation.
What then is the use of the Theory of Fate and the Theory of Free Will? Theorising has its own utility. The Theory of Fate or the power of destiny and stories in support of it, in illustration of it, are intended to console and comfort the person in distress. The Theory of Free Will, and stories to exemplify that theory, are designed to boost the morale of the very same person buckling under the weight of repeated onslaughts of unfavourable forces and adverse circumstances. In other words, we tell the person in distress, "Do not grieve. Whatever has to happen will happen. Do not weep over the inevitable. Endure bravely". Having thus consoled him by expounding the Theory of Prarabdha, we proceed to exhort him, "Suffering is only Karmic purgation. Your past sins are now washed out by this suffering. Now, rise up. Exert. The whole future is in your hands. Hard exertion now will shape for you a glorious future destiny. In your hands is your future. You now have the free will to make or mar your future by your present actions. Plod on. Persevere".
Thus, there is absolutely no contradiction between fate and free will. Both the theories are necessary and should be used together. It is a wrong popular notion, based on one-sided and limited understanding, which views the Theory of Fate and the Theory of Free Will as diametrically opposed concepts.
But, if the question be asked, "Which is more real, Fate or Free Will?", the correct answer would be, "Neither is real. Neither Fate nor Free Will. They are just theoretical concepts. They are merely philosophical formulations. The formula of Fate and the formula of Free Will are both fictitious. The only Reality is God’s Will".
It is God’s Will which operates everywhere and at all times. It is infallible. It is the only Truth. It is the only Power. Behind the actions of the good man and the bad man, behind the movement of birds and insects, behind the erupting volcano and the rumbling earthquake, behind all growth and decay, behind everything everywhere, the propelling force is God’s Will. God’s Will is the life in all creation. It is the living force. Without it there will be nothing. Without it your mind cannot think, your senses cannot operate.
There is neither fate nor free will. There is only God’s Will. It is the human ego, it is mere vanity, which makes man claim for himself all the credit whenever he succeeds. It is his vanity again which makes him disclaim all responsibility for his failures and throw all the blame on a concept called Prarabdha. In truth, God is responsible for both success and failure. A man succeeds or fails, because God wills it so. God’s Will is supreme. It is the power or force which upholds the universe. It is the substance behind the world-show. The man who understands this is wise. He will have no cause to complain.
Last Updated: Saturday, 19-Dec-2009 13:07:08 EST
Mail Questions, Comments & Suggestions to : [email protected]

The answer for Fate/Freewill can be found in the following words of Dr. Radhakrishnan.

“The cards in the game of life are given to us, we do not select them. They are traced to our past karma, but we can call as we please, lead what suit we will, and as we play, we gain or lose. And there is freedom.”

I have a simple formula to understand this.

S = E * D
S= success
E = Individual effort
D = (Destiny based on past karma)
விதியென்று ஏதும் இல்லை வேதங்கள் வாழ்க்கை இல்லை
உடலுண்டு உள்ளம் உண்டு முன்னேறு மேலே மேலே - கண்ணதாசன்

There is nothing called fate. Vedhas are not for daily life.
There is both mind and body. With that climb up the ladder - Kannadasan

All the best
The same Kannadasan in "Arththamullam Indhu Madham" wrote:

If one could conquer fate with one's wisdom, that itself was decided by his fate. (Mathiyaal vidhiyai vella mudiyum endral, adhuve avan vidhiyaaga thaan irukkum).

Okay, that apart, I personally feel if we lay too much of emphasis on 'fate', our action may be affected or we may become inactive, passive and withdrawn. It will make most of us lead a lazy, indolent and disgusted life. It will be our own creation.
(We should never be a victim of the circumstances).

Thiruvalluvar says:

"Deivathaal agathu eninum muyarchi than
Mey varutha kooli tharum".

Here he says if one cannot get what one really aspires for, at least he will get returns matching the physical labour put in by him. In this Kural, the words
'Mey varutha' and 'kooli' have deeper meaning. The word 'kooli' is used to denote the remuneration/compensation for physical work lasting for less than a day. 'Kooli' is not synonymous with 'palan' or 'intended result'. Distinction between the two is to be noted carefully.

As I always tell, without efforts, how can one know that he will succeed or fail?
Without whole-hearted attempts, one can not complain about one's karma, fate etc.

Finally, failures are the best teachers.

As Thomas Alva Edison told, "Whenever I failed in completing a task successfully, I understood the proper lesson from it. All such failures collectively taught me as to how many wrong ways are there to complet the task on hand".

This is the process of elimination or trial and error method of learning. But a lot of time and resources are wasted in this process and sometimes, repetitive opportunities may not be available for the same job.

Yet the lessons learnt can never be forgotten and if we get repeated chance/s, success is easy and certain.

Whenever I face failure, humilation or some misplaced aggression and punishment
for no fault of mine, I invoke the divine help and after some time, 'it' will come and
I will be rescued without any small harm. There are several such experiences I had and it shows the deep and infallible faith I have in the Almighty.

So, I sing like Bharathi, 'Kaala vaa, unai kaalaal udhaikindren'. (pl dont think I have blabbered some non-sense here).

I will share some of the instances in this forum, as Kunjuppu demands, in course of time.
Fate,Free Will & God's Will
Dear renukaji. If my wishes are fulfilled in my own way then it is free will. If it is fulfilled, but not in my own way, then it is god`s will. if it is not then it is fate. We may advise our friends many solutions for his problem and if he is succeeding we take the credit and if he fails we put the blame on fate. It is always credit I take and debit you share.
This gives us a mental satisfaction that eventhough I have did my best somebody else is reason for my failure.
afterall I think everystory/deeds in our PUrana veda etc are all intended only to our mental satisfaction and God isalso a tool for the same.:crazy:
Not open for further replies.

Latest ads