3 Fate Or Free-Will?
Great has been the controversy in the past, over the vexed subject of fate versus free-will. On the one hand, fatalists claim that man is so closely bound to the wheel of fate it is impossible for him to live his life in any different way than that which is mapped out for him. He can bring a quantity of first-class evidence in support of his claim and believes in his theory with all his heart. On the other hand, the advocate of free-will believes just as whole-heartedly that man is not bound at all, being as free as air. He, too, can bring plenty of evidence in support of his theory, which confirms him in his belief. Each one of them thinks that the other is wrong, yet they cannot both be wrong! Let us therefore examine the subject for ourselves, for it is an important one, being intimately connected with the subject which this book discusses.
First of all, let it be said, they are both wrong, in part, and right, in part. Man is bound to the wheel, yet, at the same time, he has free-will. Let us, therefore, explain this seeming paradox.
It is an ancient truth of the inner teaching that man, when he is unevolved and before he is "unfolded," is bound to the wheel of fate very closely. The unevolved man follows his desires, thus creating for himself a future from which he cannot escape. When however, he becomes more evolved and emancipated, he begins to resist following his desires and strives, instead, to follow higher things. This creates for him a better future and thus he becomes free in comparison with his former slave state. Man is a slave to fate as long as he is a slave to the desires of the earth plane. He is, however, free to overcome lower things and thus rise to higher. When he does this he ceases to create a painful future for himself and thus becomes free.
There is, therefore, fate which is self created. It is necessary to acknowledge this before we can proceed further. One who has not had much experience of life or who has not been a close observer, may deny that there is such a thing, but one who has had great changes in his life, against which he has fought and struggled in vain, knows that there is a purpose working behind the events of life, against which even kings and mighty men are powerless. There come times in man's life when he moves heaven and earth, figuratively speaking: prays until he can pray no more: sacrifices, it may be, his money, his health, his prospects, and does everything that is in the power of a human being in a vain attempt to stave off a threatened disaster. But, in spite of all his efforts, in spite of his cries to a pitiless heaven, the relentless march of fate cannot be stayed. It moves forward like a huge juggernaut and crushes his hopes, his dearest idol, his very life itself or all that then makes his life worth living--and leaves him desolate.
"If then," you may ask, "fate is so pitiless and so powerful, what can be done with it and where does free-will enter into the matter?" In reply it must be admitted at once that it is no use fighting fate. The more man fights it, the more completely he gets broken. There are certain main events in each life which must come to pass. These events and changes are inevitable and it is hopeless to fight against them. While these things, which constitute what we call fate, are inevitable and therefore cannot be avoided, it rests with ourselves how we meet these adversities and disasters. If we meet them in the wrong way they break us. If, however, we meet them in the right way we become stronger through discipline and experience, thus becoming better fitted to bear Life's responsibilities and to overcome its difficulties and temptations. One who meets the setbacks, griefs, bereavements and disasters of life in the right spirit becomes a strong and rich character. He becomes mellowed through experience, strong, stable, a helpful influence to all who meet him.
This book is copyright-expired and in the public domain.