Instead of blaming the force of habit or course of destiny for our mistakes, it is important to take control of things and act towards the what we wish to achieve.
And we blame luck — acts done in the past as the reason for our present woes. Nothing can be farther from truth. Yes, our present has a lot to do with our past. For example, all bad habits like being lusty, greedy, jealous, etc take roots earlier, but we act on these now, which hurt. Arjuna had many good qualities. Lord Krishna told him that he was born with divine endowments. (Gita 16.5) But what was to cause Arjuna’s downfall? It was Arjuna’s ego if he was not to heed God’s instructions. (18.58) Yes, ego was there earlier also but Arjuna had to act now in an egoistic manner.
This is what we do too. Lust, greed, anger, jealousy, ego, hurrying, attachments, impatience, pride, being anxious, being fearful, etc are all present in various degrees in most of us. But these hurt when we act under their influence. Let me discuss lust, the most harmful one, first. It has many manifestations. We can be lusty in a sensuous way; we maybe lusty in what we eat, we can be driven by lust for power, etc. Don’t we know when we indulge in these acts? Two college friends, both unmarried, get in trouble. Did they not know that what they were doing was full of danger? Does a diabetic not know that he or she is looking for trouble when he or she gets up in the night and hurriedly eats a leftover cake? What will you say about a leader who spreads hate to win an election? Can he blame his past for it when violence breaks out and destroys him? How do you justify greed? A banker colludes with a client and allows a large loan to an undeserving person. Once the facts come out and he is sent to jail, then, can he blame his bad luck? Two hot-headed persons get into an ugly fight over a minor car accident, and get seriously hurt. Can luck be blamed for such aggression?
Ego influences behavior is most families and offices. Is someone forcing us to do so? No, we choose to do so. Someone may give a justification stating that this habit developed long ago. Okay, then, we have to also admit that there is nothing like intelligence in us. We cannot claim to be intelligent and also at the same time, be helplessly consumed by our faulty emotions.
Yes, there is destiny, which must come to pass. But there is a difference between what is avoidable and what is unavoidable. An act of income tax fraud will surely bring punishment but doing so now cannot be blamed on destiny. Habits are formed but they can also be given up. It is up to us.
Our scriptures warn us against having attachments for material objects, but do we heed the warning? Rather we want to be oblivious of this danger, which takes away our peace of mind. Pride of possessing material objects is a brother of ego. Don’t we realise that these things are with us temporarily and can be taken away? If we must be proud, we should be of good behavior, impeccable manners, etc. Many of us become anxious or fearful for no good reason. We are so accustomed to blame our luck that even common sense becomes a foreign concept. Let us wake up and stop blaming fate; we have many options in the present to minimise our sufferings. We are not robots. Arjuna gave up his ego (18.73). We, too, can give up our bad habits and faulty emotions.
Bishnoi is a spiritual writer and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Writer: Ajit Kumar Bishnoi
Courtesy: The Pioneer