There are three types of karma. Sanchit karma is the total accumulated stock of one's past karmas. Prarabdha karma -- what we call as destiny -- is that part of sanchit karma which is passed down to us in this birth for suffering or enjoyment. And then there is Agami karma which is performed in this birth, out of free will.
There is the example of the bow and arrow in archery. The accumulated stock of arrows in the archer's case slung over his shoulder is the Sanchit karma. The arrow that has just left his bow is the Prarabdha karma and the arrow in his hand at the moment is Agami karma. He can decide not to use this arrow, or he can choose to use it either to protect the weak or to harass them. Thus while Prarabdha karma is something which cannot be undone, we have free will available in the form of Agami karma.
"But how do we know which are the karmas that form part of our destiny? Is death or major disease or wealth part of destiny? If everyone's date of death is pre-decided, what is the role of medical science?" And so on.
There is a role of both karma and free will in all aspects of life including in trying to save someone from the jaws of death. At the time of action, one should not think of one's destiny, because no one can predict it. 'Then what is the use of the theory of Prarabdha karma?"
Role of Prarabdha theory is only in explaining the results of the action. In spite of best efforts, if results could not be achieved, it can be attributed to destiny. The theory of destiny is useful because it helps a person in accepting results without being frustrated. At the same time it does not make a successful person egoistic, if he understands the role of destiny in his success.
Is it possible that even a person's free will, that is, his inclination to put in efforts to achieve something, is also influenced by destiny?
"Yes, but rarely so," He informs me. The example of Rama deciding to go after golden deer is given to explain how the course of destiny that was to happen influenced his free will.
Does this mean that sometimes karma falls flat in the face of destiny?
"No," Karma never fails, although it appears to have failed in achieving the immediate worldly ends. All karmas are in any case getting added to the stock of your Sanchit karma, out of which future results can be improved. It is like a person who wishes to remain physically fit by engaging in a match. He loses the game, but despite that, he does achieve physical fitness, points out Swamiji.
So, the moral of the story is: "Do your best always and leave the rest of God'."
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