It is said that whatever is written in one’s Niyati is bound to happen. In other words, everything is pre-determined. How true is such an understanding of life? Do we really have no control over anything?

According to the law of karma, Niyati is both fixed and flexible.
Let’s see how…

In order to understand this, we must understand how karma works. Our karmic account is like a balance sheet where we accumulate positive (punya) and negative (paap) karmas. Each entry - positive or negative - is like a seed we sow whose fruits we have to bear in the next life. That is, for whatever good karmas we sow, we will experience the appropriate fruits of joy, fame, wealth, good fortune, etc. and for whatever negative karmas we sow, there will be corresponding pain, suffering, misfortune, etc. And when no new seeds are sown and all the fruits have been borne, can the karmic account be closed forever - a phenomenon that is known as moksha or the final liberation.

So in this sense, Niyati is fixed because whatever we experience in this life is a direct result of the karmic seeds sown by us in the previous life.

But Niyati is also flexible because we have the power and the choice of deciding which type of seeds to sow. This choice is exercised when we are experiencing the effects of previous karmic causes. No matter what the situation (the effect) is, one can choose to look at it positively, negatively or neutrally. If we are positive, seeds of good karma are sown, if negative, negative or seeds of bad karma are sown, and if we see it neutrally i.e. without any kind of attachment or abhorrence for anything, then no seeds of karma are sown. It is the last approach (neutral) that will ultimately lead to liberation.

There is, however, one more way in which Niyati can be changed in the present life. If one prays to God, the Supreme being, the fully manifest divinity, with a pure heart, the course of Niyati can change. The inner purity of the one who prays is very important. The higher the purity, the greater the power of their prayer.

Here is an interesting conversation with Param Pujya Dada Bhagwan, an enlightened being that illustrates this principle:

Questioner: Will it (the karma) change? Will it change destiny (niyati)?

Dadashri: Even if it were summer right now, it could bring rain.

Questioner: If someone is bound by some karma, how can we facilitate his freedom?

Dadashri: However much purity there is within, there will be that much of an effect.

Questioner: If there is anyone who is suffering from some kind of illness, some result of karma, and we pray for him from the heart, then will he get the result of that (prayer)? Can things be changed?

Dadashri: The prayer is to God! It overrides all laws; it overrides the laws of destiny.

Thus, Niyati can be changed through prayer done with an extremely pure heart!

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Author's Bio: 

Ambalal M. Patel was a civil contractor by profession. In June 1958, spontaneous Self-Realization occurred within Ambalal M. Patel. From this point on, Ambalal became a Gnani Purush, and the Lord that manifest within him became known as Dada Bhagwan. A Gnani Purush is One who has realized the Self and is able help others do the same. Param Pujya Dada Bhagwan used to go from town to town and country-to-country to give satsang (spiritual discourse) and impart the knowledge of the Self, as well as knowledge of harmonious worldly interactions to everyone who came to meet him. This spiritual science, known as Akram Vignan, is the step-less path to Self-realization.