Fatalism And Destiny

As devotees we do a lot of accepting of things. We accept the will of Krishna, we accept adversities as opportunities for advancement. We accept a certain amount of chastisement and difficulty from our fellow devotees because we realize that we are always in need of improvement.
There are a lot of other things we accept in our lives in this way.

Sometimes these kinds of acceptances can be carried to an extreme.
We are not fatalists. Fatalism means there is no free will. Fatalism means that nothing can ever be changed.

As devotees, we know that we have free will, and everything and anything can be changed by the will of Krishna also.

When it comes to us, and our actions toward spiritual advancement, it's very important to make this distinction.

Well, we know we're fallen... we all are. Does that mean that we give up serving Krishna? There are so many times that I have seen devotees feel they are not "qualified" to do this, or that...

While there are a few things in Krishna consciousness that require certain qualifications, such as Deity worship, so much of the most important things we need to do as devotees require no qualification at all.

If we believe we are not qualified to take part fully, with our whole selves, in Lord Chaitanya's movement, because we are too fallen, too materialistic, too attached to sense gratification, etc. etc. etc. then we are being influenced by Maya.

Humility is a very important aspect of Krishna consciousness. That's true. But if you feel too humble to strive to serve Krishna in every possible way, then it's a negative quality, not a positive one.

If when something happens, you simply accept that you are too fallen, or not advanced enough to do anything to change it, that's too much acceptance. That's fatalistic.

Maya is going to be constantly sending all kinds of things to interfere with spiritual life. So it's important to understand that and constantly fight against it.

Yes, there is a proper way to fight, and we study the scripture to know what that way is. But we can't even begin to do it if we're busy "accepting" that we're just too fallen for any of it.

Next time it occurs to you that you can't serve Krishna, or serve His devotees, or do something to help spread Krishna consciousness, or make advancement yourself, stop and think....

Is it Fatalism? Are you just accepting Destiny?
Or, are you acting in the Krishna conscious (action oriented) way?

We know that this is Lord Chaitanya's movement. Lord Chaitanya is the the most merciful incarnation of God. That mercy means it doesn't matter if you're fallen, were fallen, have fallen, will fall..... just wherever you are, what ever state you're in, serve, chant, associate with devotees.

Fight the battle against maya, don't just accept it. It's a struggle to get free from the material energy. If you just sit down and "accept your fate", you won't be able to.

* Navasi's blog
* Login or register to post comments

Tue, 07/29/2008 - 04:39 — krsna_shweta77
krsna_shweta77's picture
Thank you

Thank you Navasi for bringing my attention to yet another very important issue..Yes, I do feel that at times we tend to accept things as they are and are hesistant to bring about change in our state of life or in others...This especially leads to inert lathergy not physically, but more mentally. We set ourselves a mental barrier, which may stop us in bringing out the best in ourselves, and in turn does not make us very good citizens of our society.

Thus, we must remind ourselves of Lord Krishna's words - 'To serve society, is like serving Me.'


* Login or register to post comments

Wed, 07/30/2008 - 05:46 — NityānandaChandra
NityānandaChandra's picture
I was just wondering, where

I was just wondering, where is this statement found, "Thus, we must remind ourselves of Lord Krishna's words - 'To serve society, is like serving Me.'"

* Login or register to post comments

Wed, 07/30/2008 - 20:03 — krsna_shweta77
krsna_shweta77's picture
Vishnu Purana

This statement was made by Lord Krishna to devotee prince Dhruva. After seeing the divine form of the Lord, Dhruva enquires about life. In response, Krishna instructs and shares his core mantra of life - 'Vasudev Kutumbakam' i.e. this whole universe is one family , and all of us are Lord Krishna’s children. So by serving society, it is like serving Lord Krishna himself. Lord Krishna further says that to die for society is that great deed which makes one immortal even despite being 'dead'. I am not able to pull up the exact quote in the scripture, but this is based in the Vishnu Purana. The below link is a scene from the TV Show series - 'Vishnu Puran', it was a major hit in India. However, you will need to know Hindi to understand it (lol)...let me know if you need help in translating



* Login or register to post comments

Tue, 07/29/2008 - 09:55 — Navasi
Navasi's picture

That's very well stated Shweta.

Thank you.

I would also like to add that it's important when we think of serving society, to know in what way we can be of service.

Sometimes we think that only means serving the needs in terms of material comforts and peaceful living.

When we serve society by helping them get out of the material world and end suffering altogether, then that is the very best service we can do, and the most pleasing to Krishna.

Nice to hear from you again : )


* Login or register to post comments

Wed, 07/30/2008 - 04:19 — krsna_shweta77
krsna_shweta77's picture
Nice to hear from you too!

Yes that is an important point to bear in mind. Thanks for your quick reply! I have left a wall post on your profile..

Nice to hear from you too!

* Login or register to post comments

Fri, 07/25/2008 - 19:03 — kannan
kannan's picture
Vey thought provoking blog.

Yes, this is quite the quagmire i find myself in, quite often actually..and i find it to be a very thin line between them...thought theres a vast difference...my mind then flashes a statement and i console myself with that.. 'Do your best and leave everything else to Krishna'.. so that sort of encompasses trying hard and not accepting, and finally when i come to the point where i feel its beyond me, theres nothing else i can do about this, i can let go...

am i on the right path please?

* Login or register to post comments

Fri, 07/25/2008 - 22:17 — Navasi
Navasi's picture
Trying Hard

Well, you're totally correct in that philosophically, Kannan.

That's the right idea, do the best you can, and leave the rest to Krishna.

The problem for a lot of us comes in "what is trying hard" what is "doing your best" .... at what point is it Really "beyond you". When is that point at which there really IS "nothing else you can do".

That's where it's hard to make the distinction. That's what this post is addressing. So often (I'm not saying you, only you would know that) we "tell ourselves" that we have really done our best, done everything would could, when actually we haven't.

Some examples of this are:

"can you please answer this letter containing questions about Krishna consciousness for me, because I don't know enough philosophy/am not advanced enough, to answer it myself"

~ well, study the scripture, post questions in the forums and talk about the answers, look up the topics online (all the scriptures are online). you have to know these things at some point in time, when will you start? Krishna sent you this letter of questions for a reason, so YOU could learn, not ask someone else to do it for you ~

"I can only chant 8 rounds a day because I have to increase gradually. I've been chanting this many rounds for a year now"

~ gradually doesn't mean take a year to get there. also, since you are doing a lot of service at the temple, you obviously have time to devote to spiritual life. if you realize how important chanting 16 rounds is, then you also know that has to come first before you spend time doing other services ~

"I can't post anything in the forums because I really have nothing to say, and others are saying what I would have said anyway"

~ someone has to post things. if we all thought that way, there would be no forums. everyone has things to say, and every post is a nice devotional contribution to connect.~

"I can't make any donations to Krishna.com because I don't even have enough money to live on myself"

~ there is an option to make a $1.00 donation. who does not have $1.00 a month? if everyone who read this website donated $1.00 a month, there would so much that could be done to spread Krishna consciousness. There are thousands of people reading this website... imagine if instead of thinking "I can't", they did. ~

I'm not trying to solicit funds for Krishna.com here.... forgive me if it sounds that way. I'm just trying to show a broad range of ways that we allow ourselves to "believe" that we are "doing our best" ... "have done everything we can" etc.. and so can then leave the rest to Krishna.

In my personal experience I feel a lot of times too much gets "left to Krishna"... We are being given the chance to serve, in everything we do. So, we want to do as much of that as possible. Never thinking we have "done all we could".... yes, do our best, but lets always make sure it's really "our best" and keep improving what "our best" is all the time.

A good guideline for knowing when you have really "done all you could" in some endeavor is at the point that it starts to have a negative effect on your spiritual life, then you've done enough. Of course you don't just stop the second you "feel challenged", but if you continue endeavoring, and over some reasonable length of time it is obviously affecting you in a negative way, then it's enough. Time to stop and leave it to Krishna.

This is the guideline I personally use. Otherwise, the mind can trick us in so many ways into thinking we have "done our best".
Srila Prabhupad has used this famous saying, and I love it:

"God helps those who help themselves"

So we always need to be making all the effort/endeavor we can.

Thanks so much for your nice comment Kannan, you've also given me the chance to explain what I was trying to say more clearly.
: )

Hare Krishna,

* Login or register to post comments

Sat, 07/26/2008 - 15:18 — kannan
kannan's picture
Thank You very much

"Do your best till it begins to have a negative effect on you/your spiritual life"

You couldnt have made it more simple for me or anyone else reading this blog.

Thanks for Your mercy.

* Login or register to post comments

Wed, 07/23/2008 - 11:14 — Karnamrita.das
Karnamrita.das's picture
Free will versus fate

Funny, this was my next blog topic. You have covered many of the points I was thinking about. One of many advantages of hearing from senior devotees like you, is that they know well what imitation looks like. And advancement comes in stages. What may be appropriate for us at one stage doesn't work later, and what seems to work temporarily, can't last without true realization. Like the humility of Lord Chaitanya's 3rd prayer and spoken about by Prabhupada, Thakur Bhativinode and others. We can talk about it and act humbly, yet it is a deep spiritual realization which has to be embodied.

Determining when to act or not, when to accept or not requires realization. Many thing should be changed, some can't be.

The 12 step prayer is good:

God, grant me the serenity
To accept the things I cannot change,
Courage to change the things I can,
and wisdom to know the difference.

Thanks so much for all your writing!

Your friend and Godbrother in Krishna,

dasanudas Karnamrita

* Login or register to post comments

Thu, 07/24/2008 - 02:01 — Navasi
Navasi's picture


Yes, it's very true what you're saying about advancement coming in stages, and not being able to imitate it, and being able to see what imitation looks like.

We would all like to attain instant advancement, but it just doesn't work that way.

I was telling someone a while ago in the forums here, that when I first became a devotee, I thought I was "more advanced" than the older devotees. Of course back in those days, older devotee meant they had maybe been devotees for 2 or 3 years (lol quietly).

But still, it's a common occurrence, these "imitation" advancement levels, and the problem is that from that perspective it's hard to see and understand it for what it is.

We're all a "work in progress" and the adjustments need to be made accordingly all the time. Like you're saying, about what works, and what is appropriate, and how that is always changing.

I love that Serenity prayer too.... it's says so much.

I think the "wisdom to know the difference" is so crucial. So often we just resign things to "our karma" or "fate" as I was saying in this post.

So much of what we think can't be changed is really just our minds putting limitations on us.

Of course it takes time to cultivate that wisdom, and also requires realization, as you've said. But it's good to start knowing that we often allow ourselves to become trapped in an:

"I can't"

Thus stopping what we really could be doing for our spiritual lives, or the spiritual lives of others.

Thank you for your wonderful comment and for your kind encouraging words about my writing.

: )

Your friend and Godsister in Krishna,
: ) : ) : )

* Login or register to post comments

Wed, 07/23/2008 - 06:17 — Preethi.N
Preethi.N's picture
Hari Hari.

Hare Krishna!
Please accept my most humble obeisances!

Thank you for your wonderful insights on this topic. It was wonderful to know and realize. Thank you once again and please continue this nectar!

Aspiring to be your insignificant servant,
Radha Priya Devi Dasi.

* Login or register to post comments

Wed, 07/23/2008 - 06:54 — Navasi
Navasi's picture
Serving The Devotees

Hare Krishna Dear Radha Priya Devi Dasi,

I'm glad you found this beneficial.

Thank you for allowing me to serve you. Serving the devotees is in fact the greatest blessing in the Universe.

Jaya Sri Krishna Chaitanya!

: )