Foreseeing Future

  • Why do we wish to know the future? Does it help? Why we must live in the present.



Future produces a mixed feeling-hope and apprehension. The uncertainty factor induces many people to sneak a peek at the future, the reason why astrologers do roaring business. But God intended future to be a secret (Deva rahasya) probably because people will otherwise stop putting in efforts which can be detrimental to the movement of Wheel of Creation.


Actually, future is a secret to safeguard individuals- history is replete with instances of what can go wrong if one is armed with the power, but lack the ability to use it.  If we are mature, this ability can serve as a powerful tool. But then, if we are mature, why do we need the power at all?!!!


In the article you may find answer to your doubts on why we are not endowed with the power as a matter of routine, with liberal examples from mythological accounts:


Foreseeing Future

Is our inability to know future an intentional commission or an inadvertent omission in the Creator’s order of things?


No individual has the knowledge of future. The fall-out is that an uncertain future makes us ambitious, but equally anxious; hopeful, but equally fearful; and confident, but equally confused.


Imagine that we wake up one day with a boon to know future events, and we have the premonition of an imminent calamity. The reaction to the omen will be as diverse as human personality. While some will try to prevent it, others will leave it to fate to take its course, and yet others will get ready to face the post-calamity scenario. What would be an appropriate reaction?


Food is a burden to one who can’t digest it, so is Speech to one who can’t articulate it;


Beauty is a burden to one who can’t protect it, so is Wealth to one who can’t maintain it;


Power is a burden to one who can’t wield it, so is Knowledge to one who can’t use it.


The question that follows is whether we are qualified to wield the power/ knowledge that comes with the boon.


It’s said that in Mahabharata three people knew in advance that a great war was going to happen in which they were to be active participants-Sahadeva (the junior-most Pandava), Bhishma (the senior-most Kuru), and Krishna (the top-most Yadava). All three were unparalleled in their wisdom quotient, hence, qualified to be our role-models.


(Vidura and Ved Vyasa also knew beforehand the ensuing war, but both were non-participants in the war. While Vyasa, a Sanyasi, remained a detached witness to the turn of events, Vidura, a Samsari, took active interest to prevent it. No wonder, it was Vidura alone who had the fortitude to speak up against the viles and vicissitudes of Duryodhana and his ilk even to the extent of being banished to the opposite camp by Duryodhana).


Why is our reaction mixed?

Sahadeva’s reaction was typical of a man highlighting raw age and experience. True to his background, he panicked-he was too afraid to reveal his prescient knowledge for fear of being labelled that it was his prediction that triggered the war. Though not a protagonist of fate, yet, he resigned to the inevitable, and learnt to live with the fact/ fate than act on it.


Bhishma’s reaction was typical of a man highlighting his ripe age and wise dispensation. True to his background, he prepared for the eventuality. Even before the war, he made sincere attempts to show kindness and justice to the righteous Pandavas. His attempts did ‘delay’, but couldn’t checkmate fate. 


But his concern was more about the post-war eventualities. He reckoned that a war would set right all the insults inflicted on the Pandavas. He also reasoned that since Krishna was on the side of Pandavas, the latter’s victory was guaranteed, that would make certain that Hastinapur was in the safe hands of the ever-righteous Pandavas. Ensuring safety of Hastinapur being his life- long mission, once that was ensured, he could pull the curtains down on his weary and dreary sojourn on earth (he had the power to choose the timing of his death).


Krishna’s reaction was typical of a man highlighting his divinity. True to his background, he played fair initially, but later, He didn’t want future generation to hold him responsible for the war, or the opposite i.e. ‘borrowed-peace’! He tried every trick in the rule book to prevent the war, by going as the messenger of peace, revealing his Viswarupa to Dhrithrashtra, etc. (Yet, Gandhari was furious with him at the end of the war for not preventing it and cursed him to suffer the destruction of his Yadava clan as a consequence).


The scholarly debate on Krishna’s power to prevent the war vis-à-vis his attempted action may go on for eons, but, for a layman, it suffices to know that he made sincere attempts.


How do we enjoy mystical ‘moments’, rather than mystifying ‘morrows’?

Krishna had few objectives for his incarnation: One objective was to reduce Earth’s burden: It is said that a substantial number of men died in the war, besides countless animals. This was earth’s way of maintaining eco-balance. 


Another objective was to re- establish dharma: For Krishna, truce was at best a temporary solution, while war, which would root out evil along with its perpetrators, was a permanent solution, the reason why he charged Arjun with such a fiery talk that it left Dhrithrashtra wondering if it was the same Krishna who came canvassing for peace.


Third objective was to show a path of salvation to humanity: It got redeemed as Gita, a gift par excellence to future generations of humanity during its period of darkness. Though objectives 1 and 2 were achievable only in/ through a war, the third one was also coincidentally accomplished in the war-front.


The most interesting reaction of Krishna had a far more potent message for humanity: Though Krishna knew ‘yesterday’ and ‘tomorrow’, yet, he was equally seized of ‘today/now’. For Krishna, ‘present’ was the only way to live and lead humanity and he played his role in the ‘middle’ in all seriousness, not allowing knowledge of ‘future’ to hold him a hostage.



One amazing power, three awesome role models and several astounding reactions: For Sahadeva, the power didn’t give him comfort. In fact, it remained a noose round his neck. For Bhishma, the power was a blessing in disguise. He used it for a noble cause, also for a ‘selfish’ end. Krishna used the power as a potent weapon, for the universal good, even enduring collateral ‘curse’. We may not admit it, but majority of us fall in the Sahadeva’s group/ trap. We want power, without realizing that even as it leads us to fame, it can also drive us to doom.


We should learn to participate in the ‘present’, a la Krishna style, where foresight is guided by insight. Let us remember that the ‘play’ is only in the ‘present’. In the ‘present’ alone, there is a game (-of-Life) to play, and a ‘wheel (-of-Creation)’ to move. Once in, we need to play today’ as it comes and what it brings. Since playing is inevitable, we might as well play it well.


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