Is life predestined? || IIT Bombay (2021)

June 14, 2022 | Acharya Prashant

Questioner (Q): There are some scriptures in the Hindu tradition which suggest that everything we do is predestined and we are actually being controlled by Brahman. If that is the case, what is the incentive for me to put any hard work into my life?

Acharya Prashant (AP): No, there is no such scripture, please. Or if there is I do not know; kindly come and quote! At least over the last one decade, in fact more than that, I have been absorbed in scriptures, and never have I come across anything that suggests that Brahman controls the strings of this universe. No, no way. All that is just popular iconography. Those things are figments of popular culture and imagination. This is not spirituality. This is some kind of fatalism that Vedanta has nothing to do with.

You, as you are, are the ego—first thing—and the ego is characterized by choice. If there is no choice, the ego is gone. So, you have choice. Nobody is operating you through a remote control from some other loka (world). You have choice. Now, that choice can be a boon or a bane. It depends on you. Choose rightly, and life is heavenly. Choose wrongly, and you will live as commoners do.

So, you are aham (ego), and aham is aham precisely because it at least thinks it has choice. And you are choiceless in having a choice. Even if you tell yourself you don’t have a choice, it is a choice you have made. You are condemned to be a choosing agency.

So, choose rightly and do not play the dirty game of attributing your wrong choices to some god. If you suffer today, it is because somewhere you have been making wrong choices. Now, do not say


Acharya Prashant is an emerging champion of socio-spiritual awakening in the world today. An alumnus of IIT-Delhi and IIM-Ahmedabad, and a former Civil Services officer, Acharya Prashant is an acclaimed Speaker, Vedanta Teacher and author of over 50 books. Apart from that he wears various hats: a veganism promoter, an environmental activist, a science activist, a campaigner against superstition, and a champion of essential human freedom. Know More