“Prison walls do not a prison make”, yes ,famously said. Then what truly makes a prison?

Even when man is not in iron chains he feels shackled. It is what William Blake calls the “Mind forged manacles”. Each one of us is slave to his appetites, his likes and dislikes, his greed, lust, hatred, his envy and attachments.

Whatever grips your mind , that enslaves you. Attachment generates strong negative emotions that hold you in a vice-like grip and make you dance to their tunes.

Man loses all his wisdom and discretion, and behaves not only as their slave but as a man who has lost his intellect. Imprisoned by their thraldom he finds himself helpless, and is compelled to wrong action. Attachment to any object, person or situation, puts chains on you. You are no longer free.

This compels us to think what causes these temperamental differences in human beings. There is no mentally derailed sultan sitting up above the clouds whipping some and crowning some. Hindu belief in destiny is not that of a blind force that makes us grovel for mercy.

Destiny comes through our own  free willed actions in the past and we also build our own future from free willed actions in the present. To the extent that the past actions, like a shot arrow,cannot change course ,we are fated to their results.

Each moment of the present you are creating more results through free willed actions that will fructify in the future. Free will is the greatest force of vitality in the Hindu philosophy.

It makes us the architects of our own destiny. Intelligent self effort can help us modify the past, the present as well as the future to unroll a life sans limitations and pains. Destiny is ours to make or unmake.

Prarthna Saran, President Chinmaya Mission New Delhi.

Email: prarthnasaran@gmail.com

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