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Yuva Spot: Fate and Self-effort

(Extract­ed from talks at Vikasa, Rishikesh, Decem­ber 2016) In the Mahab­hara­ta, Krish­na beau­ti­ful­ly tells Arjuna,”What is fate to human beings, is the purushartha of the devas.” What this means is, purushartha also means self-effort. You put in effort to achieve a goal, right? That is called effort-dri­ven achieve­ment. Now, fate or des­tiny means, it is set, “Okay, this is it. This is how it will be.” Now what we assume as fate or des­tiny, is a con­se­quence of pre­vi­ous effort that we have put in. And that is how it is built up. But that is main­tained by the pow­ers that be, in increas­ing orders of sub­tle­ty. So you have sub­tle pow­ers main­tain­ing that order giv­ing it a sem­blance of order, exact­ly like a leader does. Why is lead­er­ship so impor­tant? They main­tain that space, where there is a sem­blance of order. There is a sem­blance of progress, tra­jec­to­ry, a path. That is the role of a leader. Like that there are many lead­er­ship posi­tions open, you can com­pete for them. Even Brah­ma’s posi­tion is open. Actu­al­ly so, you know, just that you need to qual­i­fy for it. So that is main­tained and that is called prarab­d­ha, or fate, or what is called des­tiny, that pro­vides the bound­ary con­di­tions under which your life hap­pens. For exam­ple, a human body pro­vides cer­tain bound­ary con­di­tions through which life hap­pens, right? It pro­vides bound­ary con­straints. You can­not exceed it with­out sig­nif­i­cant effort, and that effort is called tapasya. With sig­nif­i­cant effort, you can actu­al­ly expand these bound­ary con­straints, you can almost break through bound­ary con­straints. You can get into a more expan­sive bound­ary con­straint. So this bound­ary con­straint if we look at it, that is called prarab­d­ha or fate. But that is the active effort of the devas to main­tain in place. So Krish­na beau­ti­ful­ly explains, this is a very very insight­ful expla­na­tion. He explains to Arju­na, “Hey, Arju­na, Don’t get bogged down by all this.” He refers to the repeat­ed mis­eries that the Pan­davas have under­gone.

“Fate is something that can be overcome by effort, intelligent effort.” That is what Krishna's advice is to Arjuna. Why? Because fate is held in place by the devas. It is the purushartha of the devas or the effort of the devas.

There is no rule that the effort of the devas should suc­ceed. You under­stand? Is there any rule that our efforts should suc­ceed? Sim­i­lar­ly there is no rule that fate has to suc­ceed, because fate is again the effort of the devas to hold it in place. So there is no rule that…see! That shows the depth and expanse of Krish­na’s con­scious­ness. Gen­er­al­ly every­one bows down to the devas. Ivaru agaye ver­ala vit­tu aati­tiru­par — “Avan periya Indra­no?” (Krish­na can even play with the devas — ”Is Indra some big guy?”) But not exact­ly in those lines. You have seen Govard­hana giri? He lift­ed the moun­tain just to show the peo­ple that, you can bow down to nature as well, it need not be only to a raja of the three worlds. What is Indra after all? A posi­tion. You don’t need to…because he found (pride) in that Indra, that guy, if I may call it. Indra is an awe­some being, I def­i­nite­ly bow down to him, but it was to show, illus­trate to the peo­ple that,”Hey!” Break a cer­tain psy­cho­log­i­cal con­di­tion­ing which they had, to lib­er­ate them from that psy­cho­log­i­cal con­di­tion­ing, he demon­strat­ed the Govard­hana giri. Now, these all might seem too mirac­u­lous to hap­pen, “How can one lift a moun­tain? Can any­body lift this moun­tain?!”. That might be the ques­tion. It is not wrong. But that is where I would sug­gest that you put in effort, you will see, what seem mir­a­cles right now, at least it will be flu­id, you will not be so big­ot­ed against that, you will not be con­di­tioned so much against it. Many things might hap­pen in your own lives that you at least become open-minded.”That, okay” At least, you will not have a set idea. You will not have con­clud­ed as yet. That is real open­ness. You will see, that pro­vides the pos­si­bil­i­ty for all expan­sive progress and growth. All vikasa. If you are set,”I am like this. Noth­ing can hap­pen.” Then that itself is a lock-in. Like­wise if you are set,”Oh, this can­not hap­pen. How can it hap­pen? How can Krishna…then why can I not do it?” Exact­ly that, but not in a cyn­i­cal manner,”Eh! Why can I not do it? How can he alone do it?” That is not the tone in which you ask. You’ll say,” Oh, if he can do it, why can I not do it? And hence, what is the tra­jec­to­ry by which I can also do it?” That is exact­ly called role mod­els. We all adopt that. That is def­i­nite­ly pos­si­ble.

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