FATE AND FREEWILL FREEWILL AND DESTINY ARE EVER EXISTENT. Destiny is the result of past action; it concerns the body. Let the body act as may suit it. Why are you concerned about it? Why do you pay attention to it? Freewill and destiny last as long as the body lasts. But jnana [wisdom] transcends both. The Self is beyond knowledge and ignorance. Whatever happens, happens as the result of one’s past actions, of divine will and of other factors. There are only two ways to conquer destiny or be independent of it. One is to enquire for whom is this destiny, and discover that only the ego is bound by destiny and not the Self, and that the ego is non-existent.
The other way is to kill the ego by completely surrendering to the Lord, by realizing one’s helplessness and saying all the time, `Not I, but Thou Oh Lord’ and giving up all sense of `I’ and `mine’, and leaving it to the Lord to do what he likes with you. Complete effacement of the ego is necessary to conquer destiny, whether you achieve this effacement through Self- enquiry or bhakti marga (path of devotion). Everything is predetermined. But a man is always free not to identify himself with the body, and not to be affected by the pleasures or pains consequent on the body’s activities. Those alone who have no knowledge of the Source whence fate and freewill arise, will dispute which of them can conquer the other. Those who have realized their Self, which is the Source of both fate and freewill have left such disputes behind, and will have nothing more to do with them. Success and failure are due to prarabdha karma* , and not to willpower or the lack of it. One should try to gain equipoise of mind under all circumstances. That is willpower. Ramana Maharshi
* karma as the result of past actions.