The Certainty of Uncertainty
To know your future means to mar your present. And to mar your present is to bring your spiritual development to a grinding halt.
Ever since the dawn of civilisation, man has been trying to decipher the language of Nature. Nature expresses itself in myriad ways. In his relentless quest for knowledge and for unfolding the mysteries of nature, man has developed many theories from time to time. Some of these theories were based on principles with scientific roots; others were based on conjectures and hypotheses. These principles or hypotheses enunciated by man led to a progressively clear and lucid understanding of the various phenomena of nature.
Since nature expresses itself through symbols and cyclic events, human beings curiously ascribed meanings to such symbols and laid down theories which could explain the natural phenomena. The lines on the palms of hands were correlated with events in a person’s life. The mystic power of numbers to shape or portend such events was another hypothesis.The planets in the sky always intrigued humans. Their transits through the sky, across the segments of the zodiac, were linked with mundane happenings. Thus were born the fields of occult study and practice—Palmistry, Numerology and Astrology.
But even the best exponents of the above occult sciences concede that the exact future of a man is indeterminable. These occult sciences are at best probabilistic. They can, at the most, provide an understanding or judgment of the likelihood of an event in the future. But one’s future can never be defined and determined with certainty. Practical life experiences bear ample testimony to this statement.
Man’s progress is evolutionary and when we consider the evolution of the spirit in man, we acquire a closer comprehension of the issue. The law of karmic retribution works constantly in the universe to push this spiritual evolution of man. Future depends on the present and the present is fashioned out of the past. Man, in order to achieve his desires, needs to engage in a relentless endeavour and struggle. He has to continually refine himself by overcoming his weaknesses and propensities to blunder.
Man has to do good to get good. If tomorrow, he wants to achieve something, today he has to strive for it. If one were to know about the result of one’s present action in advance, one would become indolent and apathetic. If you were to know that you are going to die after one year, you would lose interest in life today. You may start doing things that will accrue maximum benefits to your descendants upon death, like taking a fat life insurance policy! Your evolution would come to a screeching stop.
If someone knew in advance that he was going to strike a financial jackpot after six months, he would stop working and start living in a fancy world. To know your future means to mar your present. And to mar your present is to bring your spiritual development to a grinding halt. This goes against the divine design of the creator, whose every intent is for man’s continuous refinement and evolution. Hence, prediction of future is not possible and any attempts to know his future by man is going to detriment his interest--make him lazy and daydreamer and loosen his moral strings. These are needed to perform good karmas which promote harmony in his society, community and the environment.
Predictive astrology is a multibillion-dollar business the world over today. This money is being spent by weak-minded people who are unable to stand adversity or are ill-equipped with the knowledge and wherewithal to steer their way forward through the jungle of life with its uncertainties and challenges. This huge money could be spent far better to train people mentally, physically and spiritually to face their life challenges and triumph over adversities. Prudence suggests that miseries and troubles are the challenges that the benevolent God throws at us to hone our abilities and refine us spiritually. Probabilistic knowledge in advance of future events often becomes the greatest impediment in this process of refinement.
The worst scourge of humanity in all ages is ignorance or illusion. This condition results in a delusion which makes a person oblivious to truth and reality or makes him perceive truth as falsity and vice versa. This is most unfortunate. Belief in predictive astrology and going by the phony predictions of life events made by soothsayers and astrologers deludes a person and arrests his spiritual progress.
The future is best left as a mystery. Past is history; the future is a mystery; the present is a gift—enjoy it and march forward. Deeper analysis inexorably leads one to the understanding that man cannot know his future. But man can definitely determine and carve out his future by the required karmas. This, really, is the philosophical essence of progressive life.