By: Seetha Priya
Can we know and change our destiny? Is everything in the world predestined? According to some, the world is created by God. Even a leaf will not move without his wish; the world is God’s leela – play. This is the Bhakti Marg view. They accept everything, good and bad, as God’s wish.
Others believe that God has created the entire world. He created all physical things, all forms of energies, and the mind. Everything emanates from God. He has also created crores of jivatmas, souls, and given them full freedom. He has also created the law of karma which rules the world. He bound himself by this law.
In the Mahabharata, it is said that Krishna was resting under a tree. A hunter mistook him for a deer and shot an arrow at him, severely wounding him. When he realized his mistake, the hunter started weeping and cursing himself for hurting Krishna. Krishna consoled him and said that he was not responsible for his act and that in his previous birth, he was Rama, and the hunter was Vali.
He shot Vali with his arrow by hiding behind a tree. As a result, Vali died. Vali had done nothing to harm Rama. Hence, in this birth, he shot Krishna. After consoling him, Krishna died.
The Ninteenth shloka of Vishnu Sahasranama is –
Mahabuddhihi Mahaveeryo Mahashaktihi Mahadyutihi
Anirdeshyavapuhu Shreemanameyatma Mahadridruck
Lord Vishnu is of mighty intellect (Mahabuddhi), is of great energy (Mahaveerya), is of great power (Mahashakti), of great splendor (Mahadyuti) and has an Indefinable form (Anirdeshyavapu). This Lord of everything auspicious (Shreeman) is unfathomable (Ameyatma) and supporter of mountains (Mahadridruck) like Mandara and Govardhan.
The Twentieth shloka of Vishnu Sahasranama is –
Maheshwaso Mahibharta Srinivasah Satam Gatihi
Aniruddah Suranando Govindo Govidam Patihi
As mighty Lord Ramachandra with his bow (Maheshwasa) protected this earth (Mahibharta), Lord Vishnu is the dwelling place for Lakshmi (Srinivasa). He is always unobstructed as a refuge of the good (Satam Gatihi), in making Gods glad (Surananda), who could be known through the Vedas (Govinda) and is the Lord of the wise (Govidam Pati).
Human life is a game of division and reunion, hide and seek. The One becomes many; the many eventually reunite with the Source. The One hides, the many seek to reunite. To prolong the game long enough to be interesting, the Creator has planted in man three powerful instincts: ego, sex and love.
Ego is a dividing instinct. It makes the individual aware of its independent existence, its needs, opinions and aspirations. Ego, although divisive, is a necessity for survival as well as for accomplishments uniquely human. It is the ego that drives a child to excel in school, and an adult to excel at the workplace. When a person feels he has seen enough of the world, and turns consciously to spirituality, he presses into service the same instrument that made him excel in the material sphere. The decision ‘I will give a new direction to my life’ also starts with ‘I’.
Sex is a uniting instinct, and so is love. The two together are a formidable combination, which we call erotic love. Erotic love ensures procreation. However, the ultimate aim of human life is not procreation but reunion with the Source. Therefore, after serving the purpose of procreation, sex and love might as well get divorced from each other. At least three seeds for the divorce have also been planted in us. The first is the sense of guilt associated with erotic love. The second seed is that sex as a source of pleasure dwindles with time, and eventually fails to satisfy. The third seed is parenthood. Once the children arrive, erotic love gets elevated to the level of parental love. Parental love is unconditional and survives even rebuffs in return.
Further purification of love is the way to finding the One that hides in everyone and everything. Parenthood trains a person in a pure form of love. Still purer is the love that is universal. It is love extended to those around us irrespective of their superficial relationship that gives a practical expression to the deeper relationship that binds all of us because we have come from the same Source. The expression eventually leads to reunion with the Source. Life is full of triggers for such purification and expansion. Negative triggers are sorrow and suffering, and a positive trigger is the joy that comes from expanding the circle of love beyond the biological family. These triggers are a ‘call to heaven’, to which, as Sri Aurobindo says in Savitri, not many respond.
Ego divides while sex unites; both are much-maligned necessary evils. Love is the master-key to the reunion with the Source that we seek. Sex joins love as a temporary expedient to serve the purpose of procreation. The limitations and pitfalls of ego and sex push and pull a person towards purer forms of love. Going through the motions of life, seeing through the illusion of separation, and finally arriving at the Reality of oneness is the game of human life, as designed by the Master Coach, the Divine. Sri Aurobindo, towards the end of Savitri, says the last word in spiritual wisdom in a few simple words: “To feel love and oneness is to live.”
“You may go anywhere on the face of this earth, I am always with you. I reside in your heart, and I am within you” – Shri Sai Baba (Chap 15, Ovi 67-73)