Destiny alter it or accept it?

The sacrifice performed by Yaja and Upayaja for Drupada became successful. At first, arose a God-like boy with a golden armour, long bow and a sword in his hand. His name is Dhristadyumna. He roared with anger and displayed his fighting skills to the people of Kampilya, the kingdom of Drupada. The people shouted with joy. Then arose a celestial woman from the fire with unparalleled beauty. She was Draupadi. Dronacharya heard about this prophesy, but, considering destiny to be supreme, he neverthless agreed to train Drupada’s son in martial arts. The noble Drona did this to repay Drupada for taking half his kingdom. Why did Drona not tried to alter his destiny? Why has he just accepted it? Let us explore.

Alter it or Accept it – what is the difference?

It is possible to predict about future to some extent based on our present or through astrology. What if something unfavorable and unpleasant is in store for us? Our first response is let us change it. The first question to ask is – ‘Can we change everything?’ If we are going to contract a disease which does not have a vaccine, we cannot do much about it. The second question to ask is – ‘Is it worth changing it?’ Sometimes the effort to avert a mishap can be more painful and costly than the mishap itself. The treatment of a disease like cancer through radiotherapy can be more painful and damaging than the disease itself. If we think of and try to alter everything, it is not possible and likely, we end up being frustrated. Then can we accept everything whatever is going to happen? We cannot afford to lose everything in life. We value things and people in our life. We have aspirations in life. If we just let everything get lost, then we end up being fearful and resentful. What is the way out? Both have their cons.

Need for a purpose in life  

We cannot hold on to everything and everyone forever. By the waves of time, everything is bound to deteriorate (BG 9.33). Then what? Should we just do nothing and let everything die in the course of time? No. We end up being fearful and resentful as discussed above. We are seeking meaning and fulfilment in life. We need to have a purpose to our life – a purpose that is larger than us – to be a contributor to family, organization and society. Then we can align our priorities, desires and decisions in life around that goal. If something is favorable to our goal, we accept it. If it is not favorable, we can try to alter it. Drona’s goal is to serve as a teacher of archery. Trying to stop his death from Dhristadyumna is not going to help in anyway in his service. Anyway, death is inevitable. Since everything is not in our control, can we achieve our goal? Everything is not in our control but some things are in our control. Efforts are in our hands but not our achievements. Therefore, we can focus on our efforts (BG 2.47). Based on different factors, the results vary according to time, place and circumstance. Sometimes, our contribution can be big and sometimes small but all the time we can be a contributor.

A purpose beyond life

Since everything is not in our control and everything is going to deteriorate over time, then is everyone bound to remain unfulfilled and disappointed? If we pertain our goals only to this world, then the answer is yes. If we add a spiritual dimension to our goals as well as efforts, then the answer is no. We are spiritual beings at our core (BG 2.12). When we revive our spiritual nature through spiritual wisdom, meditation and worship, we can experience lasting fulfilment and meaning spiritually and this will also immune us from the dynamics, dualities and distresses of the worldly life. Drona was also very spiritually focused. So he was not much affected when he heard about Dhristadyumna. This is also evident in the war of Kurukshetra when Drona took to meditation before his death.