Accept your Life for what it is – and simply go on living

Does it really matter if there is such a thing as fate or destiny? If whatever will happen, will happen, then why analyze it, why agonize over it?  
In a conversation we had with a friend yesterday, we ended up discussing destiny and free will. My friend held the view that trying to understand how destiny works or blaming it for everything is simply futile. “Can your belief in or knowledge of fate, destiny, karma – whatever name you give it – really help in undoing, or changing, your Life’s course,” he asked.
And I agree with him.
What are we going to do by knowing that our lives are preordained? That really doesn’t change anything. Instead, the simpler way to look at Life – and respond to it – is to know that while you can’t do anything about what’s happening to you, you can at least act in a given situation diligently, with full commitment to living! People call this opportunity free will. I call it living. Just be, just live. Or, to further simplify, while you can’t do anything about what happens to you, do whatever you can in any given situation to make it better. And the best way to live through, endure, any painful situation, is to immerse yourself in the moment and to live it fully.
So, don’t dwell on whether your Life is preordained or not. It’s meaningless, it’s futile to do so. The fact is that you have this Life, a gift called this lifetime. You have no control over what happens to you. But you can and must do whatever is possible by you to live your every moment fully. You have that option, and no one can deny it to you, so use it fully.  
Osho, the Master, calls the fate-destiny-karma logic defeatist and escapist. He says when we try something and don’t get what we want, we conveniently blame fate. “What can I do, I am trying but my fate is such” is a common refrain we all hear or even use at times. Osho urges us to stop this blame game! He says don’t dump the responsibility of your Life on fate. Some people also dub fate as “God’s will”. So they dump the cause of their Life’s course – and their attendant miseries – on this, unknown, unseen, God. Osho asks, “You know why you blame God for all the things that happen to you that you don’t want happening? You do it because it is so convenient. God doesn’t talk back, you see. God doesn’t ask you how dare you blame me for your Life? So, you go on dumping your Life on God and you wallow in the comfortable cesspool of ‘my-fate-is-such’ thinking.”

Osho makes a powerful, unputdownable, point. Blaming Life or karma or God is of no use. Your Life – and mine – will unfold, go on, happen, in spite of you – or me. No matter what. This is the nature of Life. The only way to live this Life therefore is to accept it for what it is, the way it is, and simply go on living…!  
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Make peace with that unpopular Santa called ‘fate’

An eternal confusion that abounds in us is whether our lives are predestined or not.  

If Life is predestined, what is the point of trying to control it by dreaming, imagining and living it our way? And if it is possible to live Life the way we want to, why doesn’t everything we will and work towards always happen?

The answer to these questions lies in the definition and understanding of Life itself. Former Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru’s definition of Life is best in this context: “Life is like a game of cards. The hand you are dealt is determinism; the way you play it is free will.” Determinism is pre-ordained destiny. Free will is the ability to choose an action freely in the context of (every day) living. Someone wise once said that a man born to be hanged shall never drown. So, even if he tries to commit suicide (free will) he will survive and will die only from hanging (determinism). But that doesn’t mean he must give up living__or, in his case, trying to commit suicide! The joy of dealing with Life’s ‘unseen’ hand, of responding to it intelligently, is what makes Life interesting and unputdownable. You need to crouch when Life is raining blows at you and then leap back when both your confidence and the conditions are up. Think of this Life as an adventure sport, where your faith and patience are continuously tested and you must keep summoning both qualities from within you, to live each moment fully. Apple co-Founder Steve Jobs says of this so beautifully, “Again, you can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards.  So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future.  You have to trust in something – your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever.  This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.”

Determinism or fate is like an unpopular Santa Claus who’s bringing you things that you don’t want or like. Making peace with that Santa is free will. It means to accept what comes in your stocking and live with it, while believing and knowing that what you really want is on its way to you. In making that choice, free will again, you will find the cloud lifting, the confusion clearing and__bliss!

Bliss is celebrating and loving Life’s design!


In Life, everything is predetermined. And yet everything is up to you!

No, I am not contradicting myself. On the other hand I am merely summing up what Life really is. It is, essentially, what you experience between two ends of this paradox __ where you are born without your asking for it, you are given a lifetime without your inability to control anything that happens to you and at the same time, you have the opportunity, the choice, to live your Life fully, in bliss!

So, is there a destiny? A friend raised this question after the ghastly manner in which a 20-year-old girl died in an accident on Sunday. The news made headlines in the papers and left all of us shocked. The girl, with a gaggle of friends, was at a place which is more that 25 km from the accident spot. For no earthly reason, these girls, seem to have ventured out for a drive in the wee hours of Sunday morning and were on a highway on the outskirts of Chennai when the accident happened. All other occupants of the car survived the crash, except this one girl. So, someone who knew her and was shocked therefore beyond description said, ‘She literally walked into her death trap. It was destined.” That prompted my friend to ping me for a perspective.

Destiny is a subject that I too have often tried to understand. I don’t claim I have the answer that you may relate to. But I will share what I have learned through my Life and experiences__and what I find acceptable to me as an intelligent perspective!

Hard as it may appear to instantly believe, given our scientific grooming and our temperament for logical inquiry, our entire Life is in the hands of a Universal energy that is at the same time inscrutable and marvelous. At once compassionate and cruel. Totally understandable and yet completely incomprehensible. This is the energy that powers us all __ the breath that we take, and so does every living organism. From birth to death, of this lifetime in human form, we live to a pre-ordinance which we are completely unaware of. To that extent, it is all pre-determined. Even so, we do have the opportunity, the free will, to respond to Life as it happens to us.

Since none of us has seen God, in the manner in which each of our religions insist he or she exists, I would like to conclude that God, Fate, Destiny are excuses that mankind has invented to take the easy way out of remaining accountable in Life! We abdicate our responsibility towards our lives by dumping the blame on a God, an unknown Fate and an inscrutable Destiny. Osho, the Master, explains this well, in his trademark, in-the-face style: “There is no fate, no destiny. You are just trying to dump your responsibility on something that does not exist.  And because it does not exist, it cannot resist you; it cannot say, “Please don’t dump your responsibility on me!” God is silent, you can dump anything on him __ no resistance, because there is nobody to resist. Fate is again the same. You fail in love, you fail in other matters. It hurts that you have failed. You need some kind of ointment for your wounded heart. “Fate” is a beautiful ointment and freely available. You don’t have to pay for it. You can say, “What can I do?  Everything is decided by fate.” Success or failure, richness or poverty,  sickness or health, Life or death,  everything is in the hands of an unknown power called fate “I am doing my best,  still I go on failing. I am following all the moral principles preached to me, still I am poor. And I see all kinds of immoral people becoming richer,  getting ahead, becoming famous. It is all fate.” It gives you solace.  It gives you solace that you are not reaching your goals. It also gives you solace that if others have achieved success, there is nothing much in it, it is just decided by fate. So, on the one hand, you are saved from feeling inferior; on the other hand, your jealousy enjoys the idea that the successful person is successful only because fate has determined it that way: “It has nothing to do with him; he’s not superior to me.” God,  fate, destiny–they are all in the same category: throwing your responsibility onto something that does not exist.

My understanding is an extension of Osho’s point of view: If there is birth, there will be death. So, what’s so intelligent about calling someone’s death, a well-known, inevitable reality, his or her destiny? What’s the point in sulking and blaming your fate__when things go wrong, when we know for sure that things WILL go wrong? What is the point in calling a God, who you fear, unkind? Isn’t it obvious that you will fear something only when it does not meet your expectations in some manner __ being unkind being one of them!? I would, for the same reason, want to find someone who loves__not fears__God, call God unkind!

So, the moot point is Life will keep happening to you, the way it wants. You can accept it and be happy and content or you can resist it and sulk. This act of responding to your Life is what is free will all about. And that free will is within your control, even if your own Life is not!

Let’s take two examples of two exemplary women to understand how deployment of free will really impacts the quality of one’s Life:

Chitra Singh
Chitra Singh, the ghazal singer and maestro Jagjit Singh’s wife, came out of her self-imposed exile to pay tribute to her husband. She has been interviewed in the latest issue of People magazine. 22 years ago she had lost her son Vivek in a car crash, then her daughter Monica committed suicide in 2010 and Jagjit himself passed away in 2011. She admits to Dhaval Roy that she made repeated attempts at finding her voice again, but failed each time: “Life has been so kind and unkind to me at the same time that singing doesn’t come to me anymore. One’s voice is a very delicate mechanism. I just choked up and stopped singing. So, I did not leave music, it left me.” So, that is her response, employing her free will, her way, to living, to a predetermined Life design.

Shagufta Rafique
In the same issue of People, I encountered the amazing story of Shagufta Rafique, who once was a dancer in bars in Dubai and a prostitute, who has not become a screenwriter, dishing out hits like Raaz 3 and Murder 2, in Hindi cinema. She tells Divya Unny: ‘My stories are cheap and melodramatic like me. I am not a trained writer. A course cannot teach you how to tell stories. You need to have a flame burning within you which translates into something relatable. Life has taught me that. I have been a whore too long to erase that part of my Life. I have always dreamt of telling my story. And my own film will be the biggest test of my strength.” And, that, dear friends, is her response, employing her free will, her way, to living to a predetermined Life design.

Bliss is what happens when you choose, through your free will, to accept, celebrate and love, your Life’s design, or destiny. When you rue your design, blaming your fate, you will suffer. When you live your Life lovingly, you will meet God __ your God! And that God is bliss!