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Theosophical Encyclopedia

Destiny

The predetermined course of events that people or things are subject to. Theosophy accepts the reality of destiny, but it must be understood in relation to karma, reincarnation, and cosmic evolution.

Destiny may be established by many factors or causes. First and most obviously, there are closely linked causes. An example might be someone insulting another and receiving a retaliatory blow; that is simple causality. In terms of destiny, the apparently simple event may have remote past complex causes and may have consequences that reach into the far future.

According to theosophy, we have lived many lives and have many lives yet to come. We, inescapably, bring with us the results of former lives in a number of ways. Our bodies, both physical and subtle are to a large extent the product of what we have been and this would be called by some, destiny. Again, the locality, race and perhaps even family into which we are born may be the result of karmic necessity.

Helena P. BLAVATSKY asserts:

Those who believe in Karma have to believe in destiny, which from birth to death, every man is weaving,thread by thread around himself, as a spider does his cobweb. . . . When the last strand is woven, and man is seemingly enwrapped, in network of his own doing, then he finds himself completely under the empire of this self-madedestiny. It then either fixes him like the inert shell against the immovable rock, or carries him away like a feather in a whirlwind raised by his own actions, and this is — KARMA (SD I:639).

There are internal and external conditions that determine how we act, and it is within human power to follow either of the two (SD I:639).

There are two aspects in the study of the theosophical view of destiny. The first involves the kind of future that we ourselves weave with our present actions that become inevitable destiny, as discussed above. The other involves the macrocosmic scale of human and cosmic destiny. Human beings are part of a universal scheme of things which result from the operation of Law, and thus follow cycles and patterns that transcend human life itself. Even races, civilizations and globes have their appointed cycles, emergence and dissolution. Blavatsky states that all human beings fall under certain divine prototypes. Our destiny leads towards these prototypes.

He cannot escape his ruling Destiny, but he has the choice of two paths that lead him in that direction, and he can reach the goal of misery — if such is decreed to him, either in the snowy white robes of the Martyr, or in the soiled garments of a volunteer in the iniquitous course. (SD I:639)

This, she says, is not Fatalism, for “The latter implies a blind course of some still blinder power, and man is a free agent during his stay on earth” (Ibid.).

P.S.H.

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