51: Fate and effort
In Yogavasishtha, Prabhu Shree Ramachandra prayed to Lord Vasishtha, “There is a lot of talk about ‘fate’. Please explain to me whether ‘fate’ exists or not.” Vasistha Muni explains, “Fate or destiny is nothing but the result of one’s own past deeds. Suppose an astrologer predicts a person’s becoming a renowned scholar. However, without study and hard work, this is not possible. “Fate is unchangeable” is a thought of the weak minded. It only brings solace in times of sorrow. Fate does not determine one’s success or failure. Fate does not exist, it’s only in our imagination. Success or failure are completely dependent on human efforts. The scriptures says that one can erase the bad deed of yesterday by true repentance. Therefore, from the time he wakes up in the morning to the time he goes to bed at night and from birth until his last breath, a wise man should strive hard. Complete effort involves the combined activities at the physical, mental, and intellectual levels. Such tireless effort always culminates in success. Turning a lump of clay into a beautiful idol is due to the efforts of a sculptor. Noble persons gained prestige and fame in the society due to their arduous work and tireless efforts.
In short, we have no control over where we are born. We do have control over our efforts. Yesterday’s indigestion is cured by today’s fasting. Therefore, Indian philosophy and scriptures unanimously say, “Self-effort, study of scriptures and faith in Guru are the triad for a successful life.” In today’s times, each person must work hard and eventually success will be his.