Is the World a Stage Dramaabracad, · Categories: externally authored, karma, spirituality
By Lt Col R K Langar
One way of describing our life on earth is that the world is a drama stage where we all play our pre-determined part. The roles given to all drama players are pre-scripted. When our part in the drama is over, we leave the stage or in other words we leave the world when our life span is over. Like an artist on the drama stage, we cannot change the script relating to our part in the world and play the part all allotted to us. As there are good artists and bad artists on the drama stage, similarly in life there are good people and bad people. We have to play our part under direct supervision of the director of the drama which in real life world mean as desired by God Almighty. This view on life means that we come to the world with a predetermined destiny or fate based on our actions of past lives as per the Karma theory or theory of reincarnation. This also means that whatever good or bad we do in this life does not have any affect in our present life as the part we have to play on the world stage is already predetermined. This view on life means that we have no free will and at the same time our fate is not negotiable in our present life. There is also a big difference between the stage artist and world stage drama artist in that the stage artist is given the entire script of the drama and he knows his part till the end. This does not happen to man in human life playing his part on world stage since he does not know what is stored for him in future in his life.
The other view of life is that man is the maker of his destiny in that he is bestowed with free will to act, to think or to speak as he likes. Let us examine this view further. We have no control over when and where and under what conditions we are born as these conditions are based on the acts of our past lives. Our past life determines our ancestry or the family to which we are born. That is why some people are born in rich families while others are born poor. But once we are born and grow we have freedom of choice or free will to act as we like. This is authenticated in Bhagavad-Gita when at the end of His teachings, Lord Krishna tells Arjuna to reflect on his teaching and act as he likes. While animals are totally controlled by instincts, man has intellect or understanding or power of discrimination to decide his course of action along the right path, discarding the wrong path. When man is acting righteously in the present life he is evolving himself to a better state of existence.
From the above we can see that either we believe in our fate or we believe in free will and act as we like. We have a third option which lays down though we have a free will yet at the same time we can not ignore the part which is played by our fate. Inter-connectedness between free will and fate is explained in Bhagavad-Gita. The Gita states that there are five causes for accomplishment of any type of work which a human being undertakes. Out of these four causes, which are seat of action, the agent, various senses and manifold efforts are under human control. But the fifth cause which is referred as unforeseen force of past Karma of fate is outside human control and we have to accept it even if we have a free will. The part played by fate or destiny is evident when despite our best efforts sometimes we do not obtain desired results for our actions. From this we have to accept that both free will and fate play important roles in man’s life. Existence of fate should not dishearten us since applying our free will we can put in sustained self effort to settle the negative aspect of our fate to a large extent even though we cannot totally eliminate it. In Mahabharata Bhisma conveys the same idea when he says the exertion is greater than fate. Exertion or self effort is possible when we have a free will. We can say that the origin of self effort is free will. Free will and fate can be called two logs men walk on.
In our life the best option is to accept that both free will and fate play their parts in our life. At the same time belief in fate should not become an excuse for lack of self effort. The best would be to treat obstacles created by fate as an opportunity to put in sustained effort to get over them. By performing good deeds without any ulterior motive of personal gain, we can neutralize or lessen the ill effects of bad deeds associated with our fate. This way we shall create good causes which shall have good effects to settle our karmic load.
The world may be called a drama stage for playing our roles but we should always remain aware of the fact that we also have a free will though not unlimited, to negotiate with our fate, and when we surrender to God, renounce fruit of action, doer ship and attachment to our action, our free will then merge with divine will allowing ourselves to become an instrument in the hands of God to work for the betterment of the world.
When a person evolves himself he realizes that even though he is playing his part in the world drama, how he plays his role shall depend on his state of evolution. Past is past. How he acted in the past cannot be changed and hence there is no point over the past that acts. From now on he takes charge of his life and acts rightfully using his power discrimination and judgement how he acts righteously and at the same time avoid doing wrong. Now he holds the key for his future actions. The other point to remember is that the stage drama is a limited drama which lasts for two to three hours whereas the world drama is an unlimited drama where things are changing moment to moment and hence no fixed pattern of your role can be taken or guaranteed. So while playing his part in the world drama one has to be more vigilant and more alert. The golden rule is to keep on doing good in the world and you shall always be a winner.
Filed in: externally authored, karma, spirituality