To understand the complexity of any individual’s destiny, it is essential to note that it is comprised of an amalgam of the streams of energy that flow through each aspect of his being. Thus, there is a physical destiny, a vital destiny, a mental destiny, a spiritual destiny, each following the track based on the cause and effect of past actions and trajectories. These then begin to impact one another such that a vital force may disturb or disrupt the physical basis of the being, for instance. Add to this the impact of external forces, the interaction with other individuals, societal forces, environmental forces, etc.

We know, for instance, that the moon impacts tides on the earth. It also has an impact on the mood and physical reactions of individuals, particularly those who are susceptible to such subtler, more distant impacts. Similarly, the sun helps create the physical environment in different regions of the earth. An individual caught in a desert environment, or in an extremely cold polar environment, or in a lush jungle environment will have to undergo the action of the environment on his physical being, as well as the impacts this has on the other aspects of his being.

All of these interactions and interconnections imply that it is not a direct line of destiny that eventuates, but a complex interplay that can yield unanticipated results. An example can be seen in human fertility. During certain periods of her life, a woman generally has the capacity to become pregnant and bear a child. Biorhythms can plot her times of fertility within a monthly cycle, so she can know the times when it may be best possible for her to become pregnant. However, if there is no vital relationship with another individual during that time, the cycle moves on without pregnancy. Similarly, she may have been exposed to some kind of toxic environmental factor which makes a pregnancy well nigh impossible for her, either temporarily or permanently. She may have grown in a social setting that led to malnutrition; or she may have been subjected to the pressures of war or mass migrations in the area where she resides, and thus, mentally and emotionally she is not in a place to further the possibility of a pregnancy despite the readiness of her physical body to become pregnant. She may be involved in deep and intense research which consumes her time, attention and interest, or she may have entered a religious or spiritual order and simply declines to carry out the body’s ‘readiness’ due to reasons that arise out of aspects of her being that are ‘opposed’ to the physical body’s fulfillment of its capability at the time. Her own physical being thus is impacted by factors external to her inherent physical nature as provided by her genetic inheritance and physical nurturing.

The Mother writes: “For example, the physical or material destiny of a being comes from his paternal and maternal forbears, from the physical conditions and circumstances in which he is born; one should be able to foresee the events of his physical life, his state of health and approximately how long his body will last. But then there comes into play the formation of his vital being (the being of desires and passions, but also of impulsive energy and active will) which brings with it its own destiny. This destiny affects the physical destiny and can alter it completely and often even change it for the worse. For example, if a man born with a very good physical balance, who ought to live in very good health, is driven by his vital to all kinds of excesses, bad habits and even vices, he can in this way partly destroy his good physical destiny and lose the harmony of health and strength which would have been his but for this unfortunate interference. This is only one example. But the problem is much more complex, for, to the physical and vital destinies, there must be added the mental destiny, the psychic destiny, and many others besides.”


Sri Aurobindo and the Mother, Our Many Selves: Practical Yogic Psychology, Chapter 6, Some Answers and Explanations, pg. 147

Author's Bio: 

Santosh has been studying Sri Aurobindo's writings since 1971 and has a daily blog at and podcast at He is author of 19 books and is editor-in-chief at Lotus Press. He is president of Institute for Wholistic Education, a non-profit focused on integrating spirituality into daily life.