The Game called Fate

All beings necessarily experience the result of Karma. All good deeds and bad deeds have their results. This forms Fate.


(Image Credit: Alexandra E Rust)

Rich or Poor?

The Fate that favours wealth will raise industriousness and smartness in that being. On the other hand, a fate that causes one to lose wealth and resources will develop laziness and clumsiness in us. We can see that it is not just the end result that is decided by fate. Even the attitude and processes we undertake in life is a result of fate. Everything that we are interested in and excites us is decided by fate. Our interests and attitudes eventually decides our future. So, if you are interested in watching people fight and find excitement in quarrels, do not blame fate when your loved ones blame you for being “not caring.”

Consider a very learned man who has learned Physical Sciences, Social Sciences and Spiritual Sciences very well. We all look up at such a being as a very wise one. However, if fate is not favourable, even the wise one will not be able to apply the right knowledge at the right time. All the wisdom happens to stay in memory as content alone. Take our own example. We may be students of scriptures and of wise beings. Still, during our times of confusion and challenges, we may not apply insights delivered to us properly. This might be due to our wisdom being immature. However, the maturity of our wisdom is also decided by Fate.

How did you fall from Grace?

How often have we seen powerful men falling from their respectful positions due to immoral behaviour. We have also witnessed entire nations which preach love and brotherhood taking up arms and engaging in Civil wars. For instance, Syria is a nation of rich culture filled with poetry and love songs. It is a tragedy to see the mass exodus from such a beautiful culture. Could that also be a game of fate?

It may so happen that someone with no knowledge and insights may become super rich, while a true jnani is struggling to have a full plate of meals. Our society is filled with such instances. Fate can transform good deeds of a person into evil and bad deeds into good ones. We might have experienced instances where we acted for good and the action turned out quite evil. We could have been blamed and held responsible for a series of blunders, in spite of great intentions. At times, actions performed to harm others may actually end up saving lives also. In History, we read intentions after the results are seen. Look at the World Wars for instance. Or consider UN Peacekeeping Missions. Do the intentions and results always match?

No matter how talented you are or which family you were born into, an unfavourable fate will not help you maintain wealth. On the other hand, good fate can help you retain as much wealth as you want, no matter how much you splurge. We have seen graduates from the best business schools with top credentials struggling to meet ends. Logically, they are just a call away from plush jobs. Still, the dots do not connect. Or look at lawyers with the sharpest of minds struggling to find cases. A mature perspective on fate will help appreciate these phenomena better.

Can’t lay my Hands on it

At times, we buy material goods for our pleasure and well being. But, we may not be able to enjoy them. In my personal experience, I have a car and a sports bicycle. But, I take the bus or hitch a ride with friends. Some unexplainable factor stops me from using my car or bike effectively. I may blame the health level of vehicles, or maintenance required from really taking out the rides. It may as well just be a game of Fate. We all have experience of having bought a great video game, which gathered dust due to lack of time (or fate). We may also have a great gift that landed our hands, but just did not find usage. Was it fate or was it something else?

Question of Attitude

We can see that we do not have much control over our fate. We do not have control over what happens around us. But, we do have total control over our attitude. Come good times or bad, we can maintain a positive attitude about life. Fate becomes a great teacher, rather than a tough task master. Imagine the worst that can happen to you. Will you lose your home? End up on the streets? Get arrested for life? Die? A mature attitude about life and the opportunities that life brings, Fate is a game that we play.

Warning Signs of a Weak King

Valmiki Ramayana mentions Red Flags of a King or a Leader. There are a lot of warning signs for a King that he must be cognizant about. These particular Red Flags are mentioned by Shoorpanakha to Ravana in Aranya Kanda Chapter 33 of Valmiki Ramayana. It is interesting that even negative characters in the Epic comes forward with a lot of wisdom. We could assume it is Valmiki that is talking through Shoorpanakha to readers like us about values and qualities that we must maintain. The colourfulness of characters and storyline takes a back seat in Indian Wisdom, once the Principles that readers need to understand assume importance.

weak king

(Image Credit: Daniel Guerrero)

Mountain Under the Ocean

There are Kings who bring in a lot of material progress. But the Leader who cannot bring his people under control and help his nation will be doomed. For instance, there are lands that are naturally endowed with a lot of natural resources or situated in key trade routes. Such lands may attract wealth automatically. There need not be a lot of strategy from the King to bring progress. But, if the King himself is not recognised by the people in that country, there is something wrong with such a Leader.

It is necessary that great Kings and Leaders are acknowledged by the people of that country. The King who does not command respect and awe is like a mountain under the sea. Even though the mountain is tall and great, no one even knows about its existence. History is full of Kings who have inherited great nations from their forefathers and failed to maintain the glory. The example of Mughal Leaders after Aurangzeb who lost out completely to the Western forces in spite of their great lineage will not be forgotten soon.

The Indulgent One

There is no one who could order a King. The ultimate Autonomy bestowed on such an individual may backfire, especially in the case of people with a weak character. One of the greatest challenges of a great leader is indulgence. With a never ending flow of alcohol, drugs, women and expensive toys, a playful King needs to be super aware and careful.

A leader who cannot keep away from his stable of supercars and access to finest cocaine will not see the dangers that stare him in the face. Often people from within the kingdom may start a revolt or move to remove the leader. Even in today’s political and business regimes, we can see the downfall of indulgent leaders. The glamour of leadership and exciting celebrations are not everlasting entities. People are always watching and observing those in power. One careless move may result in very wrong results.

The Lazy and Irresponsible One

The Leader who does not perform his duties at the right time will be destroyed. In our society, hard work is regarded well. But the timing of efforts is a result of wisdom. The King who is able to identify the right time of execution is a wise one. However, lack of wisdom will yield bad consequences as well. The King who does not care about his finances, spies, justice and influence is bound to fail. The health of finances and justice of a kingdom is the result of a lot of consultations with ministers and wise people. They are team efforts which comes from serious study and experience. A King who is not ready to put in the efforts to understand this closely may perish with time.

Behaviour and Attitude Traits

A childish leader who cannot stay still and stay grounded is bound to fail. There is a quality of maturity that is expected from every leader. It is true that all leaders may not have all the answers all the time. But, the willingness to be patient and optimistic about the answers that may arise is important. A leader who rises above his childish qualities of anger, demands and impatience will find glory.

We can see that great leaders are evolved beings in many respects. They are able to be detached and responsible at the same time. They have come beyond the challenges of human issues and face situations with courage and intelligence. From a affairs of a simple family to the leadership of developed nations, Kingly qualities of Leaders speak a lot about them.

Dharma of Ahimsa in Everyday Life

Tirukkural says it is our Dharma not to hurt other living beings. Through hurting some other living being, we attain Adharma. From very olden times, we have engaged in hurting animals and people for selfish reasons out of ignorance. This is a very Adharmic activity. Even the thought of hurting another human or life form through word, action or thought is wrong. One who desires to gain jnana and insights should ideally shun Himsa of all forms. We have great examples like Mahatma Gandhi who was so inspired by Ahimsa that it became such integral part of Indian Life.


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Ahimsa: Highest Form of Dharma

Scriptures claim the highest form of Dharma is Ahimsa. The next highest form of Dharma is Truthful Living. An outlook of Ahimsa always bring in Good results. Such a thought pattern elevates our life. Practically it is difficult to not hurt any other life form. We kill millions of beings when we walk or when we breathe. But, a conscious attempt to reduce the impact of our “Himsa Footprint” by choosing to be Vegetarian and refusing to wear Leather has Karmic Merit.

It is permitted to speak lies to sustain Dharma. Even Yudhistira spoke a lie in the Dharma War of Mahabharata. But, there are no excuses for Ahimsa, according to Tirukkural. We could debate around the Dharma of a Soldier here. Is killing at the warfront Himsa or Dharma? This question is addressed with a lot of depth in Bhagavad Gita. Arjuna had the same question in Kurukshetra. This question produced the highest work of philosophy in India.

Completing Life Purpose

One who practices Ahimsa gets the opportunity to live their complete lifetime. There are chances that death may interfere with our normal life span and not allow us to complete our allotted lifetime. Accidents and Diseases cut normal lifespans short. A personal policy of Ahimsa is a license to complete our lifespan. Thus, we get our opportunity to finish our Dharmic Duty on the planet. This directly points to Human Life Purpose.

It is great to protect another life at the expense of our own lives. There are many great souls who have thrown themselves to death in order to save another life. Such Risk Takers of the highest kind are well rewarded by Karma. No sacrifice is greater than protecting another life by risking our own lives. Healthcare practitioners who work in Epidemic hit areas to do Selfless Service are great examples. Contributions by several doctors and nurses that served at Ebola hit areas are fresh in our memory.

Sharing is Caring

Our ancestors always shared their meals with other living beings. There are many families who spare a part of their meals for birds, squirrels, dogs and other animals that visit their garden. Such practices bring great good will to the giver. All lives are similar. All living beings have their right to food and respect. This helps to address our selfishness as well. Scriptures advise to leave little food outside our plates for ants and bugs. But, today we want “pest free homes” with such intensity that we cannot bear to see spiders, lizards, ants and birds around us. What right do we have to completely take their space for our selfish needs? Sharing our space and resources with fellow life forms is part of our Dharma. Ahimsa works in great scope.

Killing as Livelihood

Some unfortunate people have to gain their livelihood through killing. Look at butchers and Pest Control workers for instance. Scriptures warn such professions have heavy Dharmic debt. Often such professions are ancestral in nature. Taking life of those beings that cannot defend themselves has its effects in the form of Karma. Such Karma may return in future births as well. Tirukkural claims people who engage in such professions may find it difficult to break the cycle of Karma.

It is not just the butcher who takes in the Negative Karma. The person who buys meat from the butcher is also equally responsible for the Karma. Without buyers, butchers will not continue their business. This is a matter of choice. On human rights grounds and freedom to pursue any form of livelihood, such jobs may be justified. But, the Karmic debts cannot be ignored.

Many religious practices encourage animal sacrifices. These sacrifices are done to gain heavenly pleasures. Such Bali may provide short term gains. But, there are Karmic effects for Animal sacrifices. Vedic Sacrifices do not focus on animal sacrifices.

Ahimsa is an integral part of Indian way of life. No wonder Ahimsa has a great hold on India even today.