by Sulaiman Razvi
A Short Analysis on Predestination in Hinduism
Hinduism has the concept of Karma. Karma is nothing but “you reap what you sow”. Karma doesn’t occur anywhere in the Vedas, it is a later concept of Hinduism. Karma is problematic. It makes one suffer for the evil deeds of past life. There is nothing you can do to get rid of those deeds that’s going to haunt you in your next life. It makes the innocent suffer for his past deeds, for the sins he doesn’t remember. Karma makes part of life predestined as mentioned in the following verse,
Devi Bhagavatam 4.21. 19-20. Effort, application and manifestation of energy are certainly the duties of man; but their effects are all under the Great Destiny or Fate. The Pundits knowing the ancient lore say that there are three kinds of Karma mentioned in the Purânas and Âgamas :– First, the Sanchita Karma (done in past births); the Prârabdha Karma, the Karma already done; and the Vartamân Karma (Karma in hand)… 28. The Prârabdha Karma, those acts out of all the previous acts done in previous births that are fully mature and ready to yield their fruits, cannot be averted; their effects must have to be experienced and then they can die away; they cannot be expiated by penances or any other remedial measures. Therefore you must hand over unconditionally your new born babe unto the hands of Kamsa.” Tr. Swami Vijnananda
There are examples as well as stories in Hindu scriptures on how Karma makes life predestined. Shiva Purana, Rudra Samhita 2, Yudha Khanda 5, Chapter 23, verses 38-45 states that Hindu god Vishnu raped Vrinda for which she cursed him that in his reincarnation his wife will be abducted and he will have to seek help of monkeys. Which means that the abduction of Sita was already destined to happen. So one cannot say that Rama was innocent since he was only reaping what he had sowed. Hindu scriptures also states the curse of Durvasa which brought destruction to the family of Yadu (including Krishna), a god couldn’t even avert a curse. A similar case is of Shiva beheading Ganesh which was also destined to happen on the consequence of a curse. Brahma Vaivarta Purana, Krishna Janma Khanda chapter 85, verses 105-116 states that a whore in her next life becomes a woman belonging to untouchable caste, a barren woman, a widow. Garuda Purana chapter 5, verse 11 states that a thief is born as a Shudra in his next life. Devi Bhagavatam book 9, chapter 35, verses 1-44 states that a woman using harsh words against her husband is reborn as a diseased person, Devi Bhagavatam book 9, chapter 33, verses 20-50 states that a person who eats the food given by a childless widow is reborn as a poor washerman full of sores and boils. Hinduism also states that a person eating flesh without offering it to god becomes the non-vegetarian food his next life.
Hinduism has a long list of what a person will have to suffer or what he will be reborn as in his next life if he commits so and so deeds, so in short a major part of our life is already predestined. And we cannot do anything about that. Some religions believes in a destined term of life for people and Hinduism also has this belief,
Atharva Veda 5.30.7 This world is most dear to the gods, unconquered. For whatever death thou wast destined when thou wast born, O man, that (death) and we call after thee: do not die before old age!
Atharva Veda 5.30.17 “This living world unconquered (by calamity and diseases) is most beloved of learned men. It is that one in which you are destined for death and are destined to be born again. We call you and say that you let not die before old age.” Tr. Acharya Vaidyanath Shastri
Atharva Veda 10.3.16 Cut them in pieces, Varana! before their destined term of life…
Upanishad is of the same view,
Brihadaranyaka Upanishad 6.2.13 “Woman, O Gautama, is fire. In this fire the gods offer the seed. Out of that offering a man is born. He lives as long as he is destined to live…” Tr. Swami Madhavanda
Yajur Veda chapter 30 mentions a list of things that are destined for specific people. Yajurveda 30.5 says that just as God created Brahmin for Vedas, He created lecherous for sex. So just as Brahmin’s dharma is Vedas, Kshatriya’s dharma is protection, Vaishya’s dharma is business, Shudra’s dharma is service, similarly dharma of a lecher is to promote vulgarity and adultery. So Vedas legitimize spread of vulgarity. Vedic god is also partial, he makes the person he like a Sage, a Rishi, a Brahmin,
Rig Veda 10.125.5 I, verily, myself announce and utter the word that Gods and men alike shall welcome. I make the man I love exceeding mighty, make him a sage, a Rsi, and a Brahman.
Also repeated in Atharva Veda,
Atharva Veda 4.30.3 I, verily, myself announce and utter the word that Gods, and men alike shall welcome. I make the man I love exceeding mighty, make him a sage, a Rishi, and a Brahman.
There are also some verses in Hindu texts which suggests that everything we do is predestined and that we are controlled by Ishwar,
Devi Bhagavatam 1.5.42-46. “Brahmâ said:- Whatever, auspicious or inauspicious, is ordained Daiva (Fate), every one must bear that; no one can go beyond the Daiva. When one has taken up a body, one must experience pleasure and pain; there is no manner of doubt in this. See, in long-past days, by the irony of Fate, S’ambhu severed my head; His generative organ, too, dropped down through curse. Similarly Hari’s head has, to-day, fallen into the salt ocean. By the influence of time, Indra, the Lord of Sachi, had thousand genital marks over his body, was expelled from Heaven and had to live in the Mânas sarovar in the lotuses and had to suffer many other miseries.” Tr. Swami Vijnananda
Srimad Bhagavatam 10.54.12 “Just as a puppet in the form of a woman dances by the desire of the puppeteer, so this world, controlled by the Supreme Lord, struggles in both happiness and misery.” Tr. Swami Prabhupada
Srimad Bhagavatam 1.17.23 “And again, everything in the world happens through Maya or the illusory will of god. Therefore, man cannot ascertain, by understanding and speech, as to who the real evil worker and who the injured are.” Tr. J.M. Sanyal
Brahmanda Purana 184.108.40.206 “Destiny is very powerful. It cannot be changed. As for the loss of your sense, you can regain it as you please.” Tr. G.V. Tagare
Skanda Purana III.iii.10.60-62 ”The soul gets its body in accordance with its previous Karma; it experiences happiness and misery also in accordance with it (Karma). Some body takes shapes when, urged by Maya and its efficient energy, the parents indulge in a sexual act. This body (so born) may be male, female or eunuch. A creature is born bearing the writing on his forehead by the Creator, specifying his span of life, and extent of happiness, misery, merit, sin, learning and assets.” Tr. G.V. Tagare.
Devi Bhagavatam 1.9.50-59 “…two powerful Dânavas of serene tempers and eager to light, became very glad on seeing Visnu in the battle and said :– “O four-armed one! we see your desire is very lofty indeed; well stand! Stand! now be ready for battle, knowing that victory or defeat is surely dependent on Destiny. You should think now thus :– Though it is generally true that the more powerful one wins victory; but it also happens sometimes that the weak gets the victory by queer turn of Fate…” Tr. Swami Vijnananda
Devi Bhagavatam 4.20.30 “Know this the predestined law that the birth, death, old age, diseases, pain or pleasure overtake all the Jîvas according to the prescribed order of Nature; never these laws fail to operate in their actions.” Tr. Swami Vijnananda
Devi Bhagavatam 4.20.52 “Thus, in various incarnations, Bhagavân Visnu was always under the influence of previous curse and also under the control of Destiny and had to do various functions incessantly.” Tr. Swami Vijnananda
Garuda Purana I.63.5-10 “To those who are destined to become great men or kings each pore has a hair growing out of it. To those who are destined to become great scholars and Vedic interpreters, two hairs grow out of each pore. To those who are destined to become poor three hairs grow out of each pore…Men destined to become kings pass urine steadily without noise. Those destined to enjoy pleasures have even bellies. Pot-bellied persons are penurious. A man destined to be poor has serpentine belly.” Tr. J.L. Shastri
So this means that Ishwar is responsible for whatever evil that is happening. Ishwar is responsible for our actions and our misdeeds since we are controlled by Ishwar and acting as per our destiny and we have no free will.