Fate Versus Free Will

Vedic Astrology is often accused of putting too much emphasis on fate. In Western culture we prefer the idea that we are each the creators of our own path in life, that we live in a “free-will universe.” One’s success in life is defined by how much one is able to bring personal desires to fruition. Yet, how many of us get everything that we want? Even a cursory examination of our lives shows that much of what happens seems beyond our control. Is this because of fate?

In this culture it is popular to say that if you are not getting everything you want in life it is because you are not making enough effort, you are not manifesting enough “intention,” you don’t believe enough in yourself, etc.… These are all ways of saying, “Shame on you,” for the problem. Or, we can take a more Eastern view and blame it on “your karma.” Well, what if the truth were actually a mix of both of these viewpoints?

The modern science of Quantum Physics proposes that, at any given time, there are a multiple of possible futures. Which of these possible futures will occur depends on the strength of the probability associated with it. Vedic Astrology recognizes the same condition because many astrological factors are simultaneously going to be in play at any particular time. Which of the possibilities indicated in an astrology chart will be strong enough to manifest? The rules and calculations of Vedic Astrology seek to determine this by assessing the relative strength of the possible futures.
But one thing that cannot be so easily determined—in Quantum Physics or in Vedic Astrology— is our awareness of the situation and our response to that awareness. If we know about the simultaneous possible futures, can this knowledge and our subsequent actions influence which future manifests? The answer, it seems, is: “Sometimes yes; sometimes no.”

This then, brings in the element of fate. When the factors that determine which future will manifest are strong enough that they can’t be influenced by our present actions, we get “fate,” i.e., that which is beyond our control. At other times, the factors are not so strong, or are pulling in directions that counterbalance each other. In this case it seems our consciousness and actions can tip the balance, giving us the opportunity to exercise our “free will.”

Therefore, the crucial ingredient in deciding which possible future prevails can be how well informed we are about the energy pattern that will bring results in our human world. For instance when Mars, the planet of accidents is transiting directly opposite your rising degree it creates a pattern that indicates the likelihood of an undesirable event. If this pattern reinforces other factors in the natal chart then a higher potential for this possible future results.

But is our “free will” really free? Each of us is conditioned by our past. We each have built-in preferences, learned behavior, fears, considerations, and other self-restricting psychological patterns that inhibit real freedom of choice. These individualized qualities are also depicted in the birth chart. Awareness of them helps us to understand how we habitually limit our free will.