Questioning or accepting fate

first_imgReading Fate BlogThere are a few people who have no complaints about fate. There are very few who can truly love fate. Many doubt it exists. Most would love to change it according to their hearts’ desire. How do we understand fate especially as it is understood by various traditions in order to respond and introspect our own position? It is important as our share of happiness or joy is linked to this issue. To be able to truly love fate is considered a great achievement by sages and such philosophers as Nietzsche.I Spent Seven Days in Heaven is a great true story of a traveller who stayed for a night in a community of farmers that used to collectively harvest its only crop with festivity and was shocked to find that due to hailstorm during the night the whole crop got destroyed but none of the farmers appeared disturbed in the least on the following morning. Dumbfounded by this response to the collective tragedy, he decided to stay for a week amongst such angelic beings and then reported about otherworldly peace and contentment in the whole community due to their taking seriously the fact of submission to Divine Will or in Nietzschean terms amor fati, love of fate. Abiding value of literature in general and tragedy in particular lies in accessing great spiritual resources within that help us outbrave any situation and always find silver lines even in the midst of hell. It is said about a believer that if he is sent into hell, the fire pit gets transformed into a garden of flowers. The greatest epics in the world Mahabharata and Ramayana, Iliad and Odyssey tell us of superhuman power of endurance of heroes.The doctrine of fate has been gloriously misunderstood by its critics. Far from reconciling people to their present sorry state, it presupposes the freedom to transform one’s condition for the better. It is a scientific statement of the law of action and reaction at a moral plane. It is largely verifiable by recourse to insights of psychology or pneumatology. There is no permanent soul or personality named So and so that could reincarnate in Oriental religions. Lord is the only transmigrant as Sankara says according to orthodox belief. Nondualism clearly implies that there can be no real bondage to karma. It is all illusory when seen from the perspective of a liberated soul. Even if karma is understood in a populist sense it can be read to goad one to act as it asserts the importance of action, either good or bad. Higher fatalism is there even in Nietzsche and Marxism in a way. The thing is to affirm life despite the perception of economic determinism and this is what Marxism preaches. Fate understood in metaphysical terms is the inward reach of a thing, a designation for latent or potential possibilities. It is the realization of inner riches. It is unfolding of spirit in history in accordance with a law of its own development. Fatalism cannot be an excuse for sloth or indifference.Today we may explore the question of why traditionally we are warned against questioning destiny. Martin Buber has a remark that illuminates this issue:That I discovered the deed that intends me, that, this movement of my freedom, reveals the mystery to me. But this, too, that I cannot accomplish it the way I intended it, this resistance also reveals the mystery to me. He that forgets all being caused as he decides from the depths, he that puts aside possessions and cloak and steps barely before the countenance–this free human being encounters fate as the counter-image of his freedom. It is not his limit but his completion; freedom and fate embrace each other to form meaning; and given meaning, fate–with its eyes, hitherto severe, suddenly full of light–looks like grace itself.There was collective mourning in a tribe living on a far off land largely excluded from the world after its Chief who was also the Chief shaman died. People wept bitterly as they found themselves vulnerable to all kinds of pestilences. Its leaders went into hiding after the Chief left. There were some people who counselled endurance and others resignation but most failed to come out of shock. And they have chosen not to come out of shock and mourning mode. Expecting no dawn, they have resigned to die every moment. They don’t seem to be worried about changing gears to normal life. They find their special happiness in complaining and mourning and it is hard to see if they care or don’t care about it now. They are born anew, more resigned, more contented but occasionally they become depressive. This mood of depression is captured in several works of Camus. From a non-religious humanist viewpoint, although our situation appears absurd and, as both hope and suicide are excluded by Camus, the only choice left is to endure and keep living bravely with dignity. Accepting the challenge and, like sanyasis and saints, refusing to accept destiny being framed in political terms, some cultivate seeing with the eyes of God or artist the spectacle and find a feast of being or living and the soul ravishing symbols in nature all around.last_img

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