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When I was taking one of the classes for the MBA (Finance) students, I was asked a question by a curious student. He asked me, ‘Sir, can we make our own destinies?’. I said that it was a very good thought-provoking question to be pondered over. I asked the other students whether anyone knew the answer. The replies mostly were vague, non-specific and evasive even though a few students tried to explain the phenomena in their own style coming out of their limited knowledge. I told them bluntly without any hesitation unmindful of the fact that I was their Guru at that time admitted the fact that I also did not know the precise answer to that intriguing question. It was a challenge for me and I cannot simply ignore the question and continue the class without attempting an answer. Hence, I said, “My dear friends since the question has been raised, let us try to find a satisfying answer to this probing question of whether the man is the master of his own destiny or fate”.

That raises a fundamental question “What is destiny?” In my opinion there is no precise definition of destiny. But the general dictionary definition of destiny is “A person’s destiny is everything that happens to them during their life, including what will happen in the future, especially when it is considered to be controlled by someone or something else” or “the things that will happen in the future or the force that some people think controls what happens in the future, and is outside human control” and  or “something to which a person or thing is destined”. Suddenly another student stood up and asked me the difference between Destiny and Fate. I was happy to see that a simple curious question started a Pandoras Box and asking questions is what is needed among the students towards search for truth to find an answer. I said that there is not much of a difference between destiny and fate because the meaning of “fate” is also “a power that some people believe causes and controls all events, so that you cannot change or control the way things will happen” and “Fate is a power that some people believe controls and decides everything that happens, in a way that cannot be prevented or changed”.

After some interesting and thoughtful deliberations, we came to the consensus conclusion that destiny or fate is something that happens suddenly unaware beyond anybody’s control. I told them that it is just like we come into this world without our consent and go away against our will. We do not have any control over the events whether good or bad. Things happen just like that. We can be only mute spectators leaving the destiny to take its own course. I asked them, “Are we so helpless to change the course of destiny?” The answer came from the students in one voice, “How can we change the course of destiny when it is beyond our control?” I told them, “Yes. What you say is correct. We cannot change the course of the destiny and that will be there which we have to face. But it is inevitable that we have to change the course of destiny if we have to face and survive its impact. Can we not attempt something to change our destiny?” That was a challenge to the students. There was silence. Probably they were thinking of a solution. There were whisperings also among the students. After a few minutes they accepted their inability to find an answer and asked me, “Sir, how to change the destiny?”

I told them that destiny is already there and that cannot be changed. But think whether anything else can be changed. Yes, we can change that which is under our control. What is that? Is not our attitude or approach to whatever destiny that we face under our control which can be changed? We forget the fact that, “Success or failure is caused more by mental attitudes than my mental capabilities.”  And that “No condition or set of circumstances is in itself a calamity to be feared. It is our reaction to it that makes it a ‘waterloo’ or a field of triumph.”

I quoted a Tamil language saying “Vidhiye matiyinal vellalam” which means you can win the destiny through your intellect. Intellect means “the faculty of reasoning and understanding objectively, especially with regard to abstract matters” and in short “a person’s mental powers”. I reminded the students of a story from Panchatantra, the Indian fables for children which we all learned in our school days, the story of the “intelligent” Rabbit and the “Cruel” Lion and how the Rabbit tricked the Lion to its death and saved the lives of fellow animals through the use of its intelligence.

The moral of the story is that you can achieve anything you want in life through using the power of your mind particularly if you use it for the benefit of all and not for the profit of the few. The resilience power enshrined in human beings is so great that they can find solutions to all problems. It should be understood that there are no problems that defies solutions. The Hindu holy scriptures teach that man is more than what he knows about himself. But history also has taught us that the inherent power of the man if it is utilised to perpetuate his own power to subjugate others will destroy him sooner than later.

Bhagavat Gita States, “Elevate yourself through the power of your mind, and not degrade yourself, for the mind can be the friend and also the enemy of the self” and “For those who have conquered the mind, it is their friend. For those who have failed to do so, the mind works like an enemy”.

Unfortunately, most of us do not know the enormous power dwelling in us unutilized. Therefore, most of us seek external help by way propitiating heavenly celestial bodies, approaching astrologers, undertaking penance rightly or wrongly for the assumed wrong doings done by us, pursuing God men and most importantly blaming fate and putting the onus for our problems on others etc. Belief in some thing is good as the saying goes, “It is better to believe in something and be wrong rather than believing in nothing and be right”. But our belief should not deprive us of our inherent power to find solutions to our problems. Even God helps those who help themselves.

The session came to an end with a consensus arrived at on how to become the master of one’s own destiny or fate for which the most important traits and sustaining powers that are to be cultivated to succeed in life which are Faith, Trust, Hope and understanding.

Bhagavad Geeta states, “You are what you believe in. you become that which you believe you can become”. That is the power of faith.

Trust in yourself. “A bird sitting on a tree is never afraid of the branch breaking, because her trust is not on the branch but on its own wings. Always believe in yourself”.  

Always remember that our sustaining power is our hope. It is admitted that the suspense of the life is the nature of the unknown future and until the mystery of human being’s future is revealed the human wisdom suggests, “WAIT AND HOPE” and that “Life affords no higher pleasure than that of surmounting difficulties, passing from one step of success to another, forming new wishes and seeing them gratified. He that labors in any great or laudable undertaking has his fatigues first supported by hope and afterward rewarded by joy” and “Of all the forces that make for a better world, none is so indispensable, none so powerful, as hope. Without hope men are only half alive. With hope they dream and think and work.”  

Understanding the impact of the destiny leads to acceptance of the situation which stimulates your inherent power to finding solutions to the problems created by the destiny.

I exhorted my students that the ultimate endeavour of every one of them is to be a winner and a winner is,

“Winners are too busy to be sad,

Too positive to be doubtful,

Too optimistic to be fearful,

And too determined to be defeated.”

T. R. Radhakrishnan

P. S.

My Dear Readers,

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  1. T. R. Radhakrishnan says:

    Dear Mr. Rajasekhar,
    The realisation as to the purpose of our life is by asking question to find the truth. Your questions are valid but based on the failures of people who believed in themselves. Now you concentrate on those who achieved success and find out what difference they make between success and failure. You will find the answers. Besides, go through my article again and again particularly the quotes and story I have narrated. Perseverance and patience are the two tools that support your hope.
    The Bhagavad-Gita, the Sacred Book of the Hindus which contains the sermons of Lord Krishna to Arjuna amply testifies to man’s in determination and confusion with regard to his purpose of action in life and guides him to take the right choice. The Gita lays stress on the freedom of the individual choice and the way in which he exercises it. “Our life is a mixture of necessity and freedom, chance and choice. By exercising our choice properly, we can control steadily all the elements and eliminate altogether the determinism of nature” and any person, “if he does not exercise his intelligent will, he is acting in way contrary to his humanity. If he is acting blindly according to his impulses and passions, he acts more like an animal than human. Being human, he justifies his actions.”
    The debate on what is success or failure and what cause them is a never-ending exercise. However, I thank you for raising thoughtful questions on pursuit of truth is well appreciated.

  2. Sudip Kumar Lahiri says:

    Thanks to Professor Krishnan for this publication, a very thought provoking article. Correctly said that “our belief should not deprive us of our inherent power to find solutions to our problems”. We want Sir to continue to enlighten us with more motivational articles

  3. Rajasekhar PV says:

    Dear Sir,
    We know so many budding actors, Cricketers, honest people in every walks of life who believes in themselves could not become successful in their life. can we call it as destiny or fate? What stops them to achieve their goals in life?

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June 2024