Is it fate or deeds which set our future?

Our future fate is set by our present deeds. It’s called karma - the law of action and reaction. The law of karma dictates that people create their own fate according to their own activities, or, like it says in the Bible - as you sow you shall reap. Note, how this statement from the Bible makes no sense without reincarnation. We reap right from our very birth. We reap a certain family, body, gender, nationality, abilities etc. When would we have sown that if not in an earlier life? So the law of karma can be understood only in connection with reincarnation. When seen in terms of many lives, the question - how do bad things happen to good people? - poses no problem. If bad things happen to good people in this life, it’s a reaction to bad things they did in a previous life. Similarly, if bad people are seen to enjoy a happy life, they are enjoying the karmic reactions of pious activities performed in a previous life. Someone might object - do you really mean to say, when a person is born ugly, this is his or her own fault? How is that fair? According to the law of karma, our actions in this life - how we behave, and we treat other living entities - will determine our next birth. So everyone enjoys or suffers according to the activities they have performed in this and former lives. --but, but if you believe in karma, if you believe that people create their own destinies, that will make you uncaring and without compassionate. You will be indifferent to the plight of others, because when you see a person suffer, you will know it's his own fault and you will think that he just gets what he deserves. Lets examine the logic behind this idea for a minute. So you are saying, that if I know the reason behind someone's suffering, if I know that the person created his own suffering by his own actions, that will make me less compassionate towards him? And if I think it's all just random chance, that will make me a more compassionate and caring person? How does that even make sense? Say, a doctor tells Mr. Olsen - don't smoke three packs of cigarettes a day, you will get lung cancer. Then two years later Mr. Olsen is diagnosed with cancer. Does, the doctor then tell Mr. Olsen - I told you so, it's your own fault, now, get out of my office. Or will the doctor still feel sorry for the man and try to help him? What do you think? Or a mother tells her child, don't stick your hand in the fire, you will burn yourself, and then the child does just that - sticks his hand in fire. Then, when the child comes running to his mother, crying - I burned myself, it hurts. Will the mother be tender-hearted towards the child and try to comfort him/her? Or will she say - I told you so, now stop your whining. It makes absolutely no sense to say that knowing the law of karma, makes a person uncaring and cold-hearted, and if a person believes it's all just random chance, he’ll be a really compassionate person. It's like saying that a person in ignorance is more compassionate than a person in knowledge. If you say, that everything is ultimately random chance, what you're really saying is that you don't know the reason behind it. You are professing ignorance and trying to make that into some kind of noble reasoning. Let me give you a practical example. According to Manu-samhita, someone who kills a cow will have to take birth as a cow and be killed in the same way, as many times as there are hairs on the cow's body. So I know that all the cows being slaughtered in modern society used to be people who killed cows. Do I feel less sorry for the cows standing in line in the slaughter house, waiting to be killed? Nope. I still feel sorry for them. I'm still a vegetarian because I don't want to support the senseless mass-murder on animals. Even though I act as the instrument of another's karma, I still have to suffer or enjoy the karmic reactions. Thus karma is an endless cycle that binds us to the material world, life after life I know for a fact that even though I know the law of karma and how it works, it doesn't make me feel less sorry for the suffering people of the world. In fact, knowing that people are ultimately the makers of their own destinies puts me in a better position to help them, rather than if I think, - too bad, it's just chance. How can you guard yourself or others against chance? The answer is, you can't. Krishna says: One who is not envious but is a kind friend to all living entities, who does not think himself a proprietor and is free from false ego, who is equal in both happiness and distress, who is tolerant, always satisfied, self-controlled, and engaged in devotional service with determination, his mind and intelligence fixed on Me – such a devotee of Mine is very dear to Me. —Bg 12.13-14

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