Amish: The Heartfulness Way is about looking internally. Is Designing Destiny about how we can manifest it externally?
Daaji: Yes, partly. Most people believe that, “My destiny is fixed,” and remain impotent with this belief throughout their lives. They feel helpless.
Amish: It’s a very beautiful way of putting it.
Daaji: Well, it’s not true. We have tremendous freedom to design our destiny. Although to a large extent we have a fixed destiny, we can also play around and change it.
If destiny were fixed, why would we work? Why would young people study, as the knowledge would come anyway if it is in their destiny? If someone is supposed to become the PM, do they need to campaign before the election? All these activities would be redundant. And although something may be written in our destiny, things can change.
Consider the situation of Lord Rama and Mother Sita. Their destiny together was supposed to be wonderful, yet it changed because of another person’s influence—his father’s wife, Kaikeyi, who was in turn influenced by the maid. See the chain reaction? Take another example: the happiness of an individual family today can change simply because of war with a neighbouring country. And do you think that so many Jewish people in Germany deserved such a death during the Second Word War? It was not written in their destiny. Outer circumstances changed things for them.
Destiny is a very complex thing. It is like our genetic makeup, where there is the fixed genome and there is the epigenome, which can change because of outer circumstances. I have discussed all this in Designing Destiny. When a mother-to-be spends time during pregnancy in a hostile atmosphere, where she is always challenged by the surroundings, her hormones and nervous system are always responding with a ‘fight or flight’ response. What happens to the foetus? Those same hormones cross the placenta to the foetus. When adrenaline is released, the limbs receive more blood, both in the mother and the child. When more blood is flowing to the arms, legs and the back part of the brain, it is at the cost of the frontal cortex, the visceral organs and digestive system, which don’t develop so well in a foetus whose mother is exposed to stress.
That is why in India traditionally there has been a ritual around pregnancy. If a couple is living with the husband’s family, when they learn that the wife is pregnant they do puja and send her to her own parent’s home, where she will be looked after by her mother and can spend her time peacefully. When she is peaceful, you can see the difference in the growth of the foetus. The frontal cortex will be very well developed, for example. The outer atmosphere does play a role, changing the epigenome and thus the destiny of the person. There is logic behind some of the rituals.
Amish: So there is some part that we cannot change, but we should do something about whatever is in our hands.
Daaji: Yes. Another aspect I have explained in the book is how desires and ego play havoc with the happiness in our lives. I have also gone into detail about the scientific principle of entropy.
Amish: Any system left to itself starts disintegrating.
Daaji: Yes. How can we make use of this principle of entropy in developing healthy relationships, at home and at work? What principle strengthens relationships and decreases entropy? Disintegration of any relationship can be reduced under certain circumstances. Take the analogy of a small child’s room that becomes messy over time with toys and clothes strewn everywhere. Entropy is another word for mess. Someone has to tidy it up—some external energy or effort is required to bring stability, clarity and cleanliness. Likewise, mess builds up in human relationships. Imagine if a wife comes home late from work and has to justify herself because her husband is fuming, “What have you been doing? Why are you so late?”
Amish: Husbands of the modern day may not say anything! [Both laugh]
Daaji: Okay, but how long can you keep doing that, if every time you have to justify why you are late—that you have not done anything wrong. It may be because of traffic, or extra work, or a meeting. If each time you have to justify, there is irritation, and entropy builds up. If the other person does not understand, the relationship will fall apart.
So what is the cementing force here, so that you are do not always have to explain things? It is true love. Then you will not need to explain why you were late. You may discuss the details, but not out of compulsion.
Amish: There is a song, All You Need Is Love by John Lennon and Paul McCartney, which perfectly encapsulates this philosophy! Thank you Daaji.
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