Choice or destiny? Tat Tvam Asi

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It all boils down to the question of choice or destiny. What happens to us, is it our choice or our destiny?  

In ancient scripture and through personal observation of life, it could be said that if someone has a burning desire for something, he or she could alter his or her destiny.

But why would someone have that specific desire? Why not something else? Is it a choice then? 

Is destiny a matter of choice? 

Whatever happens, happens to whom? Who are you?

Does fate control our lives? 

All these questions come boiling down to one thing: The concept of choice creates the chooser. 

Good or bad, right or wrong are relative to individual, culture, and religion. What is right in one culture, could be wrong in some other culture, what is good for one individual, could be bad for another. 

The notion of choice comes with the fear of choosing wrong. Every aspect of choice has innumerable factors. How many of them could be considered and analyzed? Only a few and this fear gives birth to further confusion and restlessness.

Tat Tvam Asi – You are it.

It is one of the Mahavakyas (The Great Sayings) by Advaita Vedanta. Its English translation is thou art that or you are it. Tat Tvam Asi points to the non-dual nature of life. Though this concept of non-duality is derived from Advaita Vedanta, similar descriptions can also be found in Hinduism. The Mahavakya eliminates the notion of chooser by stating that there is no separate “I” who chooses but still we experience free will in life. What to buy, what to eat, how to live life.

Now let’s try incorporating the Mahavakya in practical life. It is observed that one generally chooses according to what one really is. So, the apparent process of making choice could be a process of self-realization. Prior to identity, there is consciousness, prior to consciousness there is awareness and prior to awareness, there is nothing. According to Non-duality, everything erupts from nothing and nothing is at the root of everything. Everything is from the same source but in the world of Maya, everything is temporary and relative. The child gives birth to the parent, before the child there was no concept of a parent, similarly, the husband gives identity to wife and wife supports the concept of a husband, each supporting the other. When one accepts everything from the source, there is harmony in life. There is harmony between the concept of child and parent or wife and husband. When one is separated from his natural state, there is disharmony between the relationships.

Tat Tvam Asi opens a door to a more empathetic relationship with life. When one understands that all is, he or he is all, the boundaries of ego melt and one intends to choose what is good for the wellbeing of him and all. At the end, all the multiplicities of universe is reducible to one essential reality; the reality of ‘being’. 

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