Chapter 62 — Fate Is What Determines the Result of Action

Vasishta continued:—

These myriads of worlds and millennia of kalpa ages are no more real in themselves than our false computation of the millionth part of an atom or the twinkling of an eye. It is our error that represents them as true to us, though they are as false as our calculation of those infinitesimals.

These creations, whether past or future, follow one another in endless succession like overflowing currents of water with all the waves, eddies and whirlpools in them. The idea of these created worlds is as false as a delusive mirage that presents a stream of water flowing with strings of flowers fallen from the plants on the shore. Perceived creation is as baseless as a city in a dream or a magic show, or like a mountain in fiction or an imaginary castle in the air.

Rama said, “Sage, the drift of your reasoning leads to the establishment of the identity of the perceived creation with the creator, and that this unity of both is the belief of the learned and wise. Now tell me, what do you have to say with regard to material bodies as they exist on earth? What causes the body to be subject to the causes unknown to inner spirits?”

Vasishta replied:—

Divine Consciousness has an active, supernatural energy called the predominant Decree, Fate or Destiny which must come to pass and bear its command over all our actions and desires.

She is invested from the beginning with irresistible and multifarious powers. She destines the manner in which everything is to take place and continue forever. 10 She is the essential cause of all essence, and the chief mover of the intellect. She is called the great power of powers and remains as the great viewer of all things. 11 She is called the great agency and the great producer of all events. She is known as the chief mover of occurrences, and she is the soul and source of all accidents. (chit shakti, power of consciousness; Mahasatta, Great Existence; Mahachiti, Great Intelligence; Mahashakti, Great Power; Mahadrishti, Great Vision; Mahakriya, Great Doing; Mahodbhava, Great Becoming, and Mahaspanda, Great Vibration).

12 She whirls worlds like straw and bears her sway over gods and demons. She commands the naaga snakes and the mountain monsters to the end of time. 13 Sometimes she is thought of as an attribute of divine essence, remaining pictured in her ever varying colors in the hollow emptiness of Divine Consciousness.

14 For the understanding of those ignorant in spiritual knowledge, the learned have explained that Brahma the Creator is identical with the Spirit of Brahma, and by destiny they mean his creation. 15 The immovable spirit of Brahma appears to be full of moving creatures. The infinity of divine existence seems to teem with finite creation in the midst of it, like a grove of trees growing under the vault of the hollow sky. 16 The unawake spirit of God reflects various images in itself (as in a dream), like the reflection of a dense forest in the lens of a crystal stone. The creator Brahma, in the hollow sphere of the Divine Mind, understood these reflections as the prototype of the destined creation.

17 Consciousness naturally exhibits a variety of forms in itself, just as the body of an embodied person exhibits its various members. The lotus-born Brahma took these various forms in itself to be the several parts in the great body of the cosmos. 18 This foreknowledge of events imprinted in the Consciousness of God is called Destiny which extends over all things at all times.

19 Destiny comprises the knowledge of the causes that move, support and sustain all things in their proper order, and that such and such a cause must produce such and such effect forever. 20 This destiny is the force or mobile power that moves all men, animals, plants and inanimate creations. It is the beginning or primary source of time and the motion of all beings. 21 It is combined with Divine Power, and this combination of them into one is the cause of the production and existence of the world.

22 It is the union or conformity of human effort with the course of destiny or decree of God that is productive of certain ends which are respectively called their destiny and destined effects.

23 What more do you have to ask me, Rama, with regard to destiny and self-exertion when I tell you that it is destined that all beings take themselves to their proper actions, in the destined or prescribed manner, in order to bring about the desired result?

24 A person who relies on predestination, sitting idly and quietly under the belief that he is being fed by his fixed lot, is said to depend on his destiny alone (a fatalist). 25 By sitting idly and waiting on Providence for the whole of his life, he gains nothing and soon comes to lose his good sense and energy, and finally dies from the famine of his sole reliance upon destiny. 26 It is quite certain that whatever is destined must surely come to pass of its own accord, and that it is impossible to prevent it by the foresight of gods and men. 27 Yet the intelligent ought not cease to exert their activity and only rely on their fates. They must know that it is our effort that brings destiny into action.

28 Destiny is inactive and abortive, without an active power to enforce it to action. It is human activity that produces effect or production in nature by the help of destiny. 29 Depend on destiny and remain both deaf and dumb as a doll. Be inactive and become dull and torpid as a block. Say, what is the good of this vital breath, unless it has its vitality and activity?

30 It is good to sit quietly by restraining even the vital breath in yoga meditation. With such practice one can obtain his liberation. Otherwise, an inactive man is not to be called a yogi but an idler and a beggar. 31 Both activity and inactivity are good for our liberation from pain, but the high minded esteem that to be better which saves them from the greater pain of regeneration. 32 This inactive destiny, meditation, is a type of the latent Brahma, and who so leans towards it by laying aside his busy course is truly installed in the supremely holy state of highest joy. 33 Inert destiny resides everywhere in the manner of Brahma, the latent soul in all bodies, and evolves itself in various shapes by means of activity in all its productions.