Questioner: When something good or bad happens to someone unexpectedly, is it karma or mere coincidence?
Acharya Prashant: The happening is just a random coincidence. How you experience the happening is your own decision, your own doing, in other words, karma.
Get the difference right, please. The material world is not predetermined, it is not even deterministic. It is random in the real sense of the word. There are just too many cause and effect nodes to take care of and additionally there is the unpredictable element of free will involved with respect to many of the actors.
Even if the entire material world were a colossal machine, we could have said that a day will come when we will be able to fully map the machine. And if we can know the machine fully then we can determine, predict all that would happen in the machine at a particular time at a particular place. Then everything becomes predictable.
But not only is the machine gigantic, several parts of the machine, carry free will. So unexpected things happen therefore you cannot know really what is going to happen next in the external world, it is going to be a coincidence. Kindly do not think that things are predetermined, or that certain things are happening to you because you are
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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