Imagine for a moment that you knew the future. Doesn’t that seem a good thing? You could relax and work without getting stressed out; you could plan ahead and direct your energies only in those paths that you know would lead to success; you could avoid all those intransigent people who keep trapping you in some debilitating vortex of time. There would be no wastage of energy, no error, no agonizing in hindsight over missed opportunities. What a utopian world it would be! But counter-intuitive as it seems, Sri Aurobindo and the Mother Mirra Alfassa offered some legitimate reasons as to why the future is deliberately hidden from us.
The Divine Will is an elusive thing for sure. The religious preacher confuses his strong beliefs with the Divine Will, the despot attributes his success to it’s action, and spiritual aspirant is supposed to surrender to it. Does any such thing as the Divine Will really exist? How can one recognize it ? The Divine Will does exist because there is a teleological purpose in evolution. Every soul is being led to the Truth through a certain line of evolution, seemingly haphazardly, and it is this Divine Will which subtly goads him to progress forward. Ordinarily, the Divine Will remains concealed due to our ignorance of our true nature but it begins to unveil itself as we gradually erase the ego through Yoga and allied occult-spiritual practices.
The conventional view of Karma is that of a rigid, ethical, mechanical and almost revengeful law of Nature which brings rewards for good deeds and punishment for evil actions. We are told that the individual who commits evil today will suffer in some future life while the good person is suffering right now because of some evil act done in a past life. This definition seems unconvincing at times because it does not explain the many anomalies seen in real life. In his works, Sri Aurobindo presented a more flexible and panoptic model of Karma. He observed that Nature is not rigid or revengeful but subtle and liberal in her application of law, working through multi-faceted principles to achieve her aims. This article is a distillation of his thoughts
It is question we may ask ourselves at times “Why don’t we progress spiritually faster?” Because we may meditate for fifteen minutes but, psychologically, the rest of our life remains untransformed. The way we eat, the way we talk, the friends we keep, the desires we nurture – none of these really change. As long as life does not deliver any adversities which throw us off-track, we let things continue and allow ourselves to languish. These are a couple of conversations by the Mother Mirra Alfassa on how to rise above the ordinary life that we find ourselves in.
We turn to astrology because it gives us hope amidst an uncertain world. It also affirms our identity and increases our self-esteem (“This is my sun-sign and that is why I am good at that“). Unfortunately, it also reinforces our defeatist tendencies (“I am always going to have this problem according to my sun-sign“). This raises the question “Do stars rule our destiny?” According to Sri Aurobindo & The Mother, the stars are merely indicators of our future; they do not control our destiny. Furthermore, those who take up the practice of Yoga (and by that, I mean more than just breathing and postures) begin to actively shape their own destiny. The practice of Yoga can alter our nature and change our Karma. In such cases, the horoscope no longer remains a guide to the future. The following are observations of Sri Aurobindo and The Mother on the general topic of astrology.
Oftentimes in life, one hits a fork in the road where one is faced with a life-changing decision and has to make a choice without knowing all the facts. In such situations, one must understand that there is not just one future but alternative futures. Those who want to grow spiritually should know that the inner motive with which one makes the choice is more important than the choice itself. One must examine one’s thoughts and ask, “what is the underlying motive on which my choice is based?” Is the choice driven by money, comfort, desire for social status, religious law, despair, anger, cruelty or the inability to admit mistakes ? Can one live with the decision in the future…? One must look for signs of uneasiness in the heart. Looking back later in life, it is quite possible that one realizes that the choice one made then was pre-destined!
This article continues the previous post on the Illusion of Free will. Free will, as we commonly understand it, is an illusion because the personality which drives our will is fixed and makes predictable decisions. Furthermore, we are unaware of the invisible Forces of Nature (Prakriti) which impinge on our consciousness and compel us to act in pre-determined fashion. It is only when we expand in consciousness and gradually unite with the Divine through Yoga that we begin to experience the true nature of free will, for then our will becomes aligned with the will of the Supreme. True freedom comes with True Knowledge.