Are our lives predetermined, or is it possible to change them?
We frequently encounter the question of what works between karma and luck. Let me use an incident to address this question. Even though the incident happened when I was in school, almost two decades ago, the lesson I took away from it has been useful to me ever since. Hence, sharing.
I was in the ninth grade, and in a few months we would begin preparing for the dreaded tenth grade exam, the results of which would determine whether we would pursue an arts, science, or commerce career. Our geography teacher brought up the topic of studying for the exams during one of our lectures. And she said, “There are two things that will work for you – hard work and prayers,” near the end of the conversation. These phrases touched me for some reason.
I’ll admit that I was a mediocre student until eighth grade. My academic performance was only mediocre, and I was never among the top ten scorers. It can be because of my laziness or lack of effort. But I started making my best efforts after the tenth standard classes began. Besides the preliminary tests, I had already completed five sets of board exams from the prior years. After each set of papers, scores were consistently getting better, and I did well on those tests.
The board examinations began. I used to pray to Lord Hanuman and ask for his blessings before each exam because there was a temple dedicated to him directly across from where I took the exams. Before each paper, I was undoubtedly anxious, but thanks to God’s graces, I think I could control it to a great extent.
The tests were finally done, and it typically took two months to announce the exam results. Thus, we began our summer vacation. Besides watching TV, playing cricket, and hanging out with friends on my vacation, I also prayed every day for approximately an hour. I also kept a register, so if I forgot to pray one day, I would make up for it the next day.
The vacation period went by quickly. I think that applies to every one of us. We are least aware of the passing of time when we are engaged in an activity we love. I had gathered with my schoolmates in the school. It was the result day. Evening had come around after waiting all day for the results to be announced. When everyone had finally gathered in the classroom, the teacher quickly began by introducing the class topper. She added, “And the class topper is”. With all eyes on her and everyone wanting to know who was the class top student, she paused before announcing, “And the class topper is Kunal.” I couldn’t trust my hearing. I needed some time to process the information. Besides being excellent, my grades guaranteed a spot in the top institutions.
I had never dealt with karma or fate until this incident happened. Even though I didn’t fully grasp the idea of karma at the time, now that I think about it, I associate my perseverance with karma. And what about fate, correct? In my opinion, there may not even be such a thing as fate. I refer to what some people refer to as fate/luck as universal cosmic energy guiding and aiding us. In my case, they were my faith and my prayers, which served as a conduit for establishing a connection with higher spiritual energies.
Addressing the question: Which works between karma and luck? I firmly believe that it is the combination of both. Both karma and luck interact with one another. Therefore, if we strive towards a goal, we should give it our all, or do our karma, but also have equal trust and maintain our connection to the cosmic energy, or luck/destiny.