Nature does not absolutely determine our life. Karma is a condition, not a destiny. It is only one of the five factors involved in the accomplishment of any act, which are 1) the basis or center from which we work, 2) doer, 3) the instrumentation of nature, 4) effort and 5) fate. The last is the power or powers of other than human, the cosmic principle which stands behind, modifying the work and disposing of its reward.
There are certain factors in our lives which are determined for us forces beyond our control. We do not choose how or when or where and in what condition of life we are born. On the theory of rebirth even these are not chosen by us. It is part of our Karma that determines our ancestry, heredity and environment. But when we look from the stand point of this life, we can say that we were not consulted about our nationality, race, parentage or social status. But subject those limitations, we have freedom of choice.
Our life is a mixture of necessity, and freedom, chance and choice. By exercising our choice properly, we can control steadily all the elements and eliminate altogether the determinism of nature. While the movements of matter, the growth of plants and acts of animals are controlled more completely, man has understanding which enables him to co-operate consciously with the work of the world. He can approve or disapprove, give or withhold his consent to certain acts. If he does not exercise his intelligent will, he is acting in a way contrary to his humanity. If he acts blindly according to his impulses and passions and passions, he acts more like an animal than a man. Being human he justifies his actions.
In the Bhagavad Gita, Krishna tells Arjuna, “The Supreme dwells in the heart of all beings revolving them all by His mysterious power, Maya (Delusion).” The Supreme, however, does not control living entities as a puppeteer controls puppets. The control is through a subtle mechanism that works under material nature. The Gita says, “Everywhere, in all the material universes, the dispositions of nature perform all works. But deluded by egoism, man thinks, ‘i am the doer’.”
Man is born with impression, or tendencies, that he acquires commensurate with his activities karma in previous lives. These impression are made up of the three gunas (nature or character): sattva (spiritual desire), rajas (material desire) and tamas (physical desire). The proportion of each guna in an individual is what makes his character. All his thoughts and actions are then dictated by his impression because nature compels him to act according to his character. The Gita says, “Not even for a moment can man remain without performing any action. Everyone is forced to act according to the qualities he has acquired from the modes of material nature or gunas.”
Laws of Karma were only applicable as long as a person imagined that he was separate from the Self. At this level (the level of the ignorant), he said that individuals will pass through a series of pre-ordained activities and experiences, all of which are the consequences of previous acts and thoughts. As the blazing fire reduces fuel to ashes, so does the fire of knowledge reduce all actions to ashes. We must raise our ego and grow into the Supreme Self of which the ego is an expression. When we make our individual being into one with the Supreme, we rise above nature with its modes and freed from the bonds of the world! 🙂