The following exchange took place via e-mail between Sayan Banerjee, a reader of Jaya Kula, and myself. I asked for Sayan’s permission to reproduce it here as I feel it may be helpful to others.
Sayan: What do you think about the predictions made about future events in people’s lives, and is our life predestined?
Shambhavi: The only thing that is predestined is that we will eventually Self-realize. This is the life process.
The patterns of karma create certain pathways that we naturally tend to follow. However, none of these are fixed. Our lives are a mixture of fate and free will. Some patterns have more energy, and so are harder to change. We call these seemingly fated patterns “fixed karma,” but they are only relatively fixed, not absolutely fixed.
In general, sadhana helps us to change the patterns that create tension in our lives and creates new patterns that tend more toward relaxation and Self-realization.
Also, we can relax our karmas with kindness. Kindness is the attitude that most satisfies our ancestors and helps them to release their hold on us and continue on their own path to Self-realization. The more sadhana you do, the more you will see the truth in this.
Everyone lives in a cosmic situation with an infinite number of factors. Even the hardest fate can be changed with effort and grace. Any worthwhile astrologer or oracle reader will know that they are reading the possibilities available in the present moment. These possibilities are up to us to take advantage of, or not.
Sayan: However many times I have observed that seers exactly predict your future 10-15 years before. How is that possible?
Shambhavi: We are influenced by an infinite number of factors, some very strong, but we also have influence in the choices we make living every day. If we live properly, in tune with nature, and follow our sadhana to the best of our ability, many of the tensions affecting us will relax and will not have such a big influence on us.
Sayan: So what you are saying is when mystics, tantriks, aghors, etc. make predictions, it is nothing but a probability. Right?
Shambhavi: In general, yes. But some beings are experiencing events outside of time, and what they see are not predictions in the usual sense. There is a way of experiencing everything as happening in an eternal now in which there is no distinction between past, present, and future. There are rare persons, such as Anandamayi Ma and Baba Nityananda of Ganeshpuri. If someone such as this tells you not to take a certain train and to change to a different one, I would do it!
With regard to more average predictions, yes, they are probabilities. However, as I said, some influences are very strong. A person with a high degree of spiritual accomplishment can tell you about these strong influences. These patterns are relatively fixed—still only probable—but not to be laughed away. You have to use your freedom to make choices that move you in the direction you want to go!
It depends on the level of clarity of the person receiving the advice. If someone is cloudy-minded and controlled by their karmas without any self-reflection, they will not listen or be able to take appropriate action. And so the probability will come to be a certainty. Karma will be in the driver’s seat! If the person has clarity from right living and sadhana and grace, they will listen, hear, and take appropriate action. Then the effects of karma will be lessened.
Very strong patterns, those that influence us every day and are part of our personality, take a long time and much effort to relax and let go. None of us, even very accomplished persons, escapes all uncomfortable karmic patterning, or events. So we must do our best to live as freely as possible and find a balance between taking corrective action and not worrying too much about “negative” events when they inevitably occur.