What sort of person are you? Are you in control of circumstances, or do circumstances having the upper hand?

Do people shape events, or do events shape people? Are we ruled by karma and controlled by the stars and planets, the shapes of our bodies, the lines on our palm, or are we the architects of our destiny? Is history the result of personal endeavour?

For millennia, humankind has been unable to establish causes for events. History student’s grapple with the problem, philosophy graduates seek answers to this enigma, ethicists wrestle with moral mazes, but scholars and seekers alike cannot establish consensus.

Religious leaders daunted by world events struggle to give answers. The issue seems impenetrable. Is it time to give up and move on to something less abstruse?

It is fashionable for us—and in line with western capitalism—to think we can control our future and thus progress, economically and socially. Working for justice and mercy is required, as faith is not found in fatalistic inertia, but the metaphysical dilemma never dies.

What do saints and sages say? Are we always controlled, or are we free? Well, look out; because ancient books of truth tell us that freedom and destiny exist side by side. Both karmic destiny and freewill operate here.

Even predestined reverses or apparent curves can be seen as blessings, and mistakes the pillars of success. From this perspective one is always free, in success or failure, life or death.

Brahma tells us that Govinda extinguishes sinful reactions for those who, with devotion, value Him. In other words, spiritual commitment is to see the “invisible hand” of god directing our activities, such that instead of being left to the rule of karma, we can rightfully act in accord with the wishes of god, and find reverses to be blessings in disguise.

Tolerance is a value, and he or she, who can endure the ‘whips and scores of time’, patiently, awaiting better days, is a person of character.

Those who are free from lamenting over losses, and the euphoria that comes with achievement, are not just drably stoical and unfeeling but wise, content and happy.

A person of steady mind is unflappable in any situation, and worthy of our respect and emulation.