Swami Vivekananda says "nothing is impossible you can do anything and everything, believe in that". Chanakya (Kautilya) says "fate can't be changed you have to face your bhagya".

Interesting thing is that Chanakya picked up a boy playing in the mud and vowed to make him king of whole India and he did . Either he knew the future or says two different things.

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    Swami Vivekananda doesn't believe in Astrology. But everything is fixed. But that doesn't mean we should stay idle without doing any Karma. So, it depends on context.
    – The Destroyer
    Commented Jul 4, 2017 at 9:16
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    Believe that you can do anything and try for it & if you failed to do , than dont worry, just think its our fate and move on..... Commented Jul 4, 2017 at 10:01
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    @MirgNitin Friend Both of them is RIGHT.You can do anything nothing is impossible as you are part of paramdma but you must face the difficulties in your life according to Karma (or) Fate.Swami Vivekananda motives us to Live Life and Chankya remains us the Karma's play in our Life that's the Different
    – Sakthi
    Commented Jul 4, 2017 at 11:43
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    @TheDestroyer, "everything is fixed. But that doesn't mean we should stay idle without doing any Karma.", -- "staying idle" is also fixed right? :-) That's precisely Akarma based sannyAsa.
    – iammilind
    Commented Jul 4, 2017 at 13:17

2 Answers 2


Both are right in their own way.

We can achieve anything (and this is the most optimistic Hindu thought)

The Vedas clearly say that we have, in our hands, the power of Bhagavan or the Almighty. So, in that way we can achieve virtually anything and everything.

Ayam me hasto Bhagavan; ayam me vishvabeshajo, ayam ShivAbhi marshanaha.


In my hand is the all-round power of Bhagavan (Shiva), power of healing and power of auspiciousness.

Atharva Veda 4.13.6

The Vedas also motivate us not to look back but to move forward.

MA gatAnam A didhithA.


May i not ponder about the past events.

Atharva Veda 8.1.8

Now since fate or destiny is related to our past karmas, this mantra clearly is asking us to ignore them and move forward.

This is exactly what Swami Vivekananda must have meant.

But the argument that fate is too powerful is not without merits either.

The power of fate or destiny is also too strong:

  1. I do not know how to perform Tapasyâ; what is the use, then, of my attempting to do so? I am of very bad luck, and thus my good resolve will not be crowned with success.
  2. I consider Fate to be the strongest of all; Fie on one’s own prowess! For actions done with effort and hard labour are frustrated entirely by Fate.
  3. Time can never be overstepped; See! Brahmâ, Visnu, Rudra, Indra, and others are all under the influence of the Great Time. (Utatthaya's words)

The Story of Satyavrata, Devi Bhagavatam, Book 3, Chapter 11.

  1. O King! If what is laid by God in the womb of futurity (a state of things preordained by God in which it is sure to take place in the fullness of time), be taken as the first-hand proof, then all the other proofs are rendered null and void. Therefore Fate and human exertion both are to be undoubtedly taken into account to ensure success. (Vyasa's words)

Amba Yajna rules Chapter 12, Devi Bhagavatam.

  1. Though the success depends on Fate, still one should make an earnest effort. If one does not make any effort, fate also remains asleep. I will therefore soon make out a plan to save my son. 15

(On the battle between Yuddhajita and Vira sena Chapter, Same Purana)

  1. O kings! No one can cause the death of another. All this world, moving and unmoving, is under the control of Fate. 36-38. No soul is independent; every one is under the effects of one’s own Karma. The Pundits that have realised the Truth, say that Karma is of three kinds, Accumulated, Present, and Prârabdha? This whole world is due to Kâla (Time), Karma (action) and Svabhâva (Nature); unless the proper time comes, even the Devas cannot kill men. The men are killed on account of some cause, immediate; but the Great Time is the real Destroyer.

8-9. O king! Everybody, even Brahmâ, Visnu and Mahes'a all under the influence of this Karma! And they experience pleasure, pain, old age, disease and death, joy and sorrow, lust, anger, greed and other bodily qualities, out of the effects of this Karma, which we call ordinarily Fate. (Suta's words)

(Supremacy of the effects of Karma, chapter 2, same Purana)

19-20. Effort, application and manifestation of energy are certainly the duties of man; but their effects are all under the Great Destiny or Fate. (Vasudeva's words)

13-16. If all the actions are under the control of Fate, then no effect can come out of any effort; so all efforts are reduced to no effect. If what is ordained by Heaven is to come to pass then what is the use of taking recourse to any action and Agnistoma sacrifices, etc., that are declared to lead to Heavens. Judge! If Heaven or Fate you consider all-in-all, then the whole Vedas, the revelations from God’s mouth turn out false; if the Vedas be false, then there is no reason why the whole Dharma will not be destroyed. ( Devaki's words)

On the killings of the sons of Devaki chapter of the same Purana.

27-51. Brihaspati spoke :-- O Lord of the Devas! O Venerable One! Be peaceful; have patience; when a difficulty comes, one should not, all on a sudden, lose one's patience. O Chief of the Immortals! Victory or defeat is completely under the control of destiny: therefore intelligent ones should always be patient.

The power of Destiny is exceedingly great and terrible; its influence cannot be overcome even by the best of the Devas (Vyasa's words)

So, while fate is seemingly almost impossible to defeat we should also always keep exerting. This is what i have understood as the essence of this rather complicated discussion.

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    Just a small story . there was a great king "chakarwati raja Vikramdyitya " once a great jyotishi visited him saw his kundli and said " my vidya had proved worthless , good the first time its telling lie , from your birth chat you should be a begger but you are a king". I have heard this story how did Raja Vikramadyatya did it
    – Mirg Nitin
    Commented Jul 5, 2017 at 11:12
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    @MirgNitin Maybe the jyotishi wasn’t as skilled as he thought ? Cause if Raja VikramAditya became a king as he did, wouldn’t a proper jyotish types have been able to see that. Wouldn’t an accurate birth chart have shown that, I mean. Commented Dec 3, 2022 at 1:51

The one who understands that, the "fate can't be changed" is right.
Unsure, if Chanakya & Vivekananda have really said as stated in the Qn.

  • Those who are "go-getters" ("nothing is impossible", "you can do everything" etc.), typically believe that what one does as an action (Karma), is in control. But what one achieves as a reaction (Karma-phala), is not in complete control, but can be manipulated by those controlled actions
  • Those who are "fate" believers, would believe that whatever we do is destined, and whatever attained as a result, is also destined. No concept of "do-ership" and hence no differentiation between Karma & Karma-phala

Everything is destined by Prakruti. But in the bound (baddha / बद्ध) state by Prakruti, people think that they can do something/anything/everything, as stated below:

BG 3.27 — All actions (karma-s) are enacted in Prakruti by [sattva, rajas, tamas] modes; Bewildered with ego, the one(self) believes "'I' am the doer".

However, the wise people (buddha / बुद्ध) believe that absolutely nothing can be done by them. It's all destiny which pervades:

BG 5.8, 5.9 — "'I' certainly don't do anything" is believed by the wise knowers (tattva gyAni); Even while seeing, hearing, touching, smelling, eating, moving, dreaming, breathing, talking, discarding, accepting, opening, closing; -- "Senses only are acting in the subjects of senses" - is understood [by them].

Some of the famous quotes from the intellectuals across the world, who reject "free will":

”All things appear and disappear because of the concurrence of causes and conditions. Nothing ever exists entirely alone; everything is in relation to everything else.” ~ [Gautam] Buddha

“Everything is predetermined.” ~ Sri Ramana Maharshi

“There is no such thing as free will. Will is bondage. You identify yourself with your desires and become their slave.” ~ Nisargadatta Maharaj

“In the mind there is no absolute or free will; “ ~ Baruch Spinoza

“We must believe in free will, we have no choice.”~ Isaac Bashevis Singer (tongue in cheek humour)

“Everything is determined, the beginning as well as the end, by forces over which we have no control.
It is determined for the insect, as well as for the star. Human beings, vegetables, or cosmic dust,
we all dance to a mysterious tune, intoned in the distance by an invisible piper.”
[Albert Einstein: The Life and Times, Ronald W. Clark, Page 422.]

Predetermined nature of destiny is also discussed in various posts below:

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