What is Predestination?

Predestination is an often debated spiritual/philosophical topic. In our lives, we often come across different views regarding our destiny. While some say- “Everything is written and whatever is meant to be yours will come to you when the right time comes”, others give an anti-thesis to this view by saying – ” You are the creator of your destiny and if you want something, you have to work hard in the direction needed to achieve the same”.

Due to the powerful prevalence of both thesis and antithesis, destiny becomes a difficult conundrum. In this article, we will try to solve this conundrum through objective views and bring about a synthesis of the two views.

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The Proponents(Thesis):

The proponents of the doctrine of predestination often uphold that our life is a pre-written script in which more or less all the events are already being decided by the “omniscient” God. (Here the word “omniscient” itself signifies predestination as the God if omniscient will know for sure the past, present,and future).

Here we take into consideration few of the objective facts.

  • The Holy Bhagwat Gita says:

vedaham samatitani
vartamanani carjuna
bhavisyani ca bhutani
mam tu veda na kascana

Translation:

” O Arjuna, as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, I know everything that has happened in the past, all that is happening in the present, and all things that are yet to come. I also know all living entities; but Me no one knows”.

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This gives and indication towards the predestination as the God(Krishna) says that he knows the past, present as well as the future . 

  • The Bhrigu Samhita:

The Bhrigu Samhita is an ancient text written by Saint Bhrigu, a proponent of Vedas. It is said that, this book has the script of our lives(not everyone’s though) and gives us the information of what has happened and what is yet to happen in our lives. There are a few who read this Samhita. (Disc.: We are not taking the responsibility of the objectivity and authenticity of it ;)).

  • Islamic notion of “Maktub”:

Maktub or Maktoob is an Arabic word means “it is written”, that is, whatever is about to happen in our life is already “written” by the Almighty and thus, cannot be changed.

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  • The Christian notion of Infralapsarianism:

It holds that predestination logically coincides with the preordination of Man’s fall into sin.That is, God, predestined sinful men for salvation. Therefore, according to this view, God is the ultimate cause, but not the proximate source or “author” of sin.

  • The Law of Karma:

The Law of Karma can be simply presented as: “As you sow, so shall you reap”. It is sometimes analogically presented to us as” if you dig a hole for someone else, you are likely to fall in the same”. However, LoK is not an instantaneous law but is said to be applicable till we live in this world. Here, living does not just mean one birth but multiple births that we take on this earth through repeated cycle of birth and death till we are “liberated”. (Rebirth and transmigration would be discussed in a separate article).

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It is said that our fate is determined by our “karma”. This seems logical enough when we look at the disparities like rich and poor and the fact that some are born rich and some poor. LoK also holds good for other major aspects our life.

  • Others like Astrology, deja vu, a sudden unfolding of events in our lives without we being unaware of their happening are also few of the proofs of predestination.

So, it is a justice ridden law which determines our destiny.

The Opponents(Antithesis):

  • If everything is predestined, then:
    • I have no free will:
      • This is one of the most logical contradictions to predestination. A human would become a “pre-programmed Robot” or a “puppet” in the hands of the God if everything he does is/was meant to be done. If this is so, then humans are not liable for any wrong decision they make, This will make the humans “irresponsible beings” and they will never accept their own mistakes. God and Destiny would become the objects of imposition
    • I should not work:
      • as the destiny would come to me even if I do not work. Such a notion would induce fatalism in the society and would annul the productivity of the people.
    • I should not apply my brain willingly:
      • as my actions(which are going to decide my future) will come out “automatically” with the Almighty’s grace and destiny’s play.
    • I should not pray:
      • as if God cannot change what He had already written, By changing something that He had written, He would contradict himself and become limited like humans.

The Synthesis:

Yes, we can say that a number of things in our life happen as they were or are meant to happen. For example, our birth in a family rich or poor, our health at birth, our death etc.But, it would not be sane to say that “everything is predestined” as this would threaten our freedom and also leads to fatalism and irresponsibility. Here, we could abide by the view that although major events may be predestined, it never strips us of our free will. We always have the right to make a choice, say, a choice regarding education or career among others. Now, the results of the actions which follow these choices are sometimes in our favor while sometimes against us.

Here, we could account for the role of predestination which is often called “luck factor”. But this follows only after appropriate action from our side.Just take an analogy: “We can’t get water out of a well without making a minimum required effort to get it.” Similarly, we can’t find/get success without basic minimum efforts to get it.

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Summer Special: Amla-Rose Sharbat

 

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Rose-Amla Syrup

 

Ingredients:

  • Amla Juice: 1/2 Litre.
  • Water: 1/2 L.
  • Sugar: 1 Kgs.
  • Rose petals: 250 grams.
  • Sodium Benzoate: 1/4 Teaspoon.

Procedure:

  • Soak the rose petals overnight in the given quantity of water. Filter them next morning.
  • In this water, add sugar and make out of it 1.5 string sugar syrup by boiling it for around 10 minutes.
  • Turn off the gas and add the given quantity of Amla Juice and Sodium Benzoate and mix them well.
  • Fill it into a bottle and close the bottle only when it attains room temperature.

Note: You can also add red food color(2-3 drops) if you want to.

 

 

The idea of Universal Basic Income

In the Economic Survey 2017, the Chief Economic Adviser does mention his much-propagated idea of the Universal Basic Income. What is the concept of UBI and what are the various aspects related to it, we will understand in this blog.

  • What is the Universal Basic Income?
    • It is an income which has three components, namely
      • Universality, that is, given to all
      • Unconditionality, that is, will be given without any pre-conditions or eligibilities
      • Agency, that is, the beneficiary will be allowed to spend it according to his/her needs.

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  • What is the need of UBI?:
    • Poverty persists despite so many welfare programmes.
    • The situation of employment remains dismal.
    • This is a situation of social injustice.
    • The gap between the rich and the poor remains to be bridged.
    • It is important to elevate the poor at least to such level after which they could work for their own welfare.
    • Subsidies amount to around 5% of the GDP. These are not distributed well and leakages undermine the intent of these subsidies.
  • What are the arguments in favor of the idea?:
    • Philosophically, it is in line with the ideals of equality and social justice
    • Poverty and vulnerability reduction
    • Choice with the poor to spend accordingly. Money-in-hand could also help in backing the entrepreneurial aspirations
    • Better targeting of poor, as all are targeted–>no inclusion errors
    • Provides insurance against shocks like health, income among others
    • Lesser psychological shocks due to guaranteed incomes
    • Lesser burden of implementation of CSS will increase the efficiency of the administration
    • Improvement in financial inclusion: as it will encourage greater usage of bank accounts.
  • What are the arguments against the idea?:
    • Irresponsible spending. For eg. men may spend it in liquor, gambling etc
    • Could reduce the tendency and will to work–>Goes against the Gandhian principle of earning one’s own bread through labour
    • Men may exercise the control over the whole income–>inducing gender disparity.
    • Implementation is going to be a challenge–>stressed banking system.
    • Fiscal deficit may increase.
    • Inflation may increase due to increase purchasing power.
    • Rich also getting the income –>absurd and philosophically empty.
    • It may be followed or preceded by the repealing of the current subsidies.
  • What are the challenges?:
    • Ensuring transparency in the process of transferring the amount.
    • Putting in place a large machinery required to implement the idea.
    • Ensuring timely transfer of the benefit to the beneficiary.
  • What is the way ahead?:
    • Bank accounts for all. Even after PM Jan Dhan Yojna, a number of people, particularly, in the rural areas remain without any account.
    • Universal availability of Aadhar: Till now, around 95% of the population is registered under UIDAI.
    • Time bound transfer within the date stipulated.
    • Financial literacy among the people to operate their bank accounts.
    • Awareness about the scheme and sensitisation about the legitimate spending of the money.

 

Sweet Delight: Baadam Creamy Barfi

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Badaam Creamy Barfi

Ingredients:

  • Milk: 1/2 Litre.
  • Grinded Almonds: 1 cup.
  • Flour: 1/4 cup.
  • Ghee: 1 Table Spoon.
  • Sugar Powder: 1/2 cup.
  • Elaichi Powder: 1 Tea Spoon.
  • Javantri: 1/4 tea spoon.
  • Nutmeg(Jaifal): 1/4 tea spoon.
  • Alum(Fitkari) : 1/4 Tea Spoon.

Procedure:

  • In a pan, boil given the quantity of milk.
  • Add alum to it and boil till it becomes thick.
  • In another pan with ghee, add flour and cook it till it attains brown color.
  • Add almonds and cook it for around 5 minutes at low flame.
  • Add all the remaining ingredients and the contents cooked in the above step(flour etc.)in the milk and cook it till it attains thickness.
  • Pour it in a tray and settle it down with the help of a spoon.
  • In a tea strainer(chalni), take some sugar powder, elaichi powder, javantri and nutmeg and spread it on the tray content.
  • Now, cut some square shaped pieces.

Chinese: Chilli Potato

 

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Chilli Potato

 

Ingredients:

  • Refined Flour: 1/2 cup.
  • Corn Flour: 1/8th cup.
  • Oil: 2 Table Spoon.
  • Potato: 3
  • For gravy:
    • Oil : 1 Table Spoon.
    • Corn Flour Slurry: 1 Table Spoon.
    • Crushed Ginger 1 Tea Spoon.
    • Finely chopped garlic: 1 Table Spoon.
    • Soya Sauce:1 Tea Spoon.
    • Sweet Chilli Sauce: 2 Table Spoon.
    • Sesame seed: 1 Table Spoon.
    • Finely Chopped Green Chilli: 2.
    • Finely Chopped Onion: 1

Procedure:

  • Peel the potatoes and cut them in finger-shaped slices.
  • Boil for 5 minutes on high flame.
  • Wash it with cold water in a stainer.
  • In a bowl, mix refined flour, corn flour, oil and salt. Now, divide this into two parts.
    • In one part add water and produce a paste out of it.
    • Use the other part to coat properly the potato slices.
  • Dip the coated potato pieces into paste obtained above and deep fry the pieces till they attain light pink color.
  • Let the pieces cool down a bit and then deep fry again till they attain brown color. This will add to the crisp of the slices.
  • For Gravy:
    • In a pan, heat the given quantity of oil.
    • Add sesame seed, ginger, garlic, onion and 1/2cup of water.
    • Now, add the remaining contents(of gravy mentioned above)  and cook them till they attain a bit of thickness.
    • Now, let the gravy cool for two minutes.
    • Add the above prepared potato slices in the gravy.

The Jallikattu Struggle

  • What is Jallikattu?:
    • A traditional bull taming sport organized in Tamil Nadu during the festival of Pongal.
    • Also known as Eruthazhuvuthal or Manju Virattu.

 

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  • Why did SC ban it(arguments against Jallikattu)?
    • As per the petition filed by the Animal Welfare Board of India, it holds the Jallikattu responsible for cruelty in the form of physical and mental torture for human pleasure and entertainment. Such torture is enforced even outside the ambit of the sport. This leads to the treatment of the animals as means.
    • The Supreme Court identifies 5 kinds of freedom for the animals, namely :
      • freedom hunger, thirst and malnutrition.
      • Freedom from physical and thermal discomfort.
      • Freedom from fear and distress.
      • Freedom from pain, injury and disease.
      • Freedom to express normal patterns of behaviour.
    • According to PETA and AWBI, there are no evidence of the cultural, historical or religious significance of the sport.
    • It goes against the provisions of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960.
  • What do Tamil protesters say(arguments in favor of Jallikattu)?
    • There are historical and cultural links:
      • Historical accounts trace its presence even 2000 years ago.
      • Finds mention in Sangam Literature in a text named Kalithokai, a poetic treatise.
      • Kamalambal Charithiram, a novel written by R. Rajram Aiyar, the disciple of Swami Vivekananda also mentions the celebration of Jallikattu
    • It is considered as a symbol of Tamil Pride.
    • They often uphold the rationale of rearing the native breeds which are mostly replace and undermined due to encouraging the cross bred cows like Jersey.Genetic diversity if often compromised with the introduction of the foreign breeds
    • Economically, the sport brings huge returns on the investments done by rural poor and farmers in case the bull performs well.
  • What could be the way ahead?:
    • A win-win solution through negotiations between different stakeholders including Animal Right activists and bodies, Jallikattu proponents, experts of animal husbandry among others.
    • Continuous monitoring of the torture of animals which could take place and consequent actions in the form of stringent penalties.

Soup: Chilly Milly Soup

 

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Chilly Milly Soup

 

Ingredients:

  • Red Tomatoes: 4.
  • Boiled Rajma(kidney beans): 2 Table Spoon.
  • Sweet Corn: 1/4 cup.
  • Finely Chopped onion: 2 Table Spoon.
  • Finely Chopped Capsicum: 1/2.
  • Corn Flour: 1 Tea Spoon.
  • Jalapenos: 8 -10 rings.
  • Chilli Sauce: 2 Tea Spoon.
  • Oregano: 1 Tea Spoon.
  • Butter:1 Table Spoon.
  • Salt according to taste.

Procedure:

  • Pressure cook the tomatoes till 2 whistles of the pressure cooker.
  • Now, let the tomatoes cool, grind them in a mixture and filter with the help of a soup filter.

 

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Soup Filter

 

  • In a pan with melted butter(after getting heated), cook onion, capsicum, kidney beans and corn.
  • Except Cheese , add all the ingredients and tomato puree (obtained in step 2)in a pan.
  • Cook it till it attains thickness and add 1 cup of water. Now boil it for 2 minutes.
  • Serve it with a garnishing of cheese.