One's parents are decided by karma. But what about one's spouse? Is this also predetermined by Prarabdha?

The suggested question does not answer my question. Mine is specific to spouse. Is one's spouse also predetermined?

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    " Imagine, your greatest enemy in past life, is born as your wife in this!" -- not my words, it was in astrology video that I came across but cant remember now.
    – Second
    Jan 27, 2021 at 7:06
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    @Mr.Sigma.- No, it does not. It does not mention anywhere if spouse is predetermined or not. Jan 28, 2021 at 6:21
  • Yes, its predetermined through everyone's birth horoscope. If you want to know about his/her nature, check your seventh house of horoscope, navamsha, Upapada lagna and Darakaraka. "Marriages are made in heaven" but what exists in heaven/sky? Constellations and planets contained in everyone's horoscope called fate.
    – Manu Kumar
    Jun 12, 2021 at 12:36

1 Answer 1



It's a combination of both pre-determinism and free will, i.e., Causal Determinism, or maybe a more closer "philosophical" term might be Compatibilism.

All the major events in our life are "pre-determined". And besides Birth and Death, for a majority of people, Marriage ought to be the most important of the major events. These all Major events that are pre-determined, arise from our "Prārabdha-Karmas". The rough English translation of Prārabdh ( प्रारब्ध ) is actually Destiny or Fate only. And destiny, as per Hinduism theology is pre-determined.

As quoted in the linked answer:

[Nadabindu Upanishas: Verse 22]

उत्पन्ने तत्त्वविज्ञाने प्रारब्धं नैव मुञ्चति ।
तत्त्वज्ञानोदयादूर्ध्वं प्रारब्धं नैव विद्यते ॥ २२॥

utpanne tattvavijñāne prārabdhaṃ naiva muñcati ।
tattvajñānodayādūrdhvaṃ prārabdhaṃ naiva vidyate ॥

Meaning: Even after attaining knowledge of the self, the prārabdha never exhausts out. But after realization of knowledge, the prārabdha is not felt by the jnani as he considers the (material) body as unreal.

However, a valid question emerges:

If it's indeed our destiny/fate (prarabdha) that encompasses our marriage, then where's the "free-will" in that case?

Chandrashekhara Bharati Swaminah, who was known to be a Jīvanmukta, puts it this way :

Fate is past karma, free-will is present karma. Both are really one, that is, karma, though they may differ in the matter of time. There can be no conflict when they are really one. Fate, as I told you, is the resultant of the past exercise of your free-will. By exercising your free-will in the past, you brought on the resultant fate. By exercising your free-will in the present, I want you to wipe out your past record if it hurts you, or to add to it if you find it enjoyable. In any case, whether for acquiring more happiness or for reducing misery, you have to exercise your free-will in the present.

[From: Dialogues with the Guru by R. Krishnaswami Aiyar: Chapter 4, Chetana Limited, Bombay, 1957]

But exactly what part of the marriage is pre-determined and what part is free-will?

For this, we can take some help from the "Eye of the Vedas" - Jyotiṣa Śāstra (astrology), one of the Vedāṅga. One of the major purposes of astrology is concerned with a prediction about our present life based on what we did in the previous life. In fact, the basic premise of Jyotiṣa Śāstra rests on the fact that - "the planetary set up (position) in a natives' horoscope is simply a "reflection" of one’s own Sañchita Karma (Stored/accumulated actions) that will be expended as Prarabdh in the current birth". An astrologer's work is to predict how much part of that "stored" Karma will manifest in the form of major events in the native's life as their "Prārabdh".

Maharṣi Parāśara, In the Ch. 7 - Divisional Considerations of the Bṛihat Parāśarahorā Śāstra, also conveys above concept as follows:

9-12. After assessing the 20 point strength of the ascending degree, of other Bhavas, and of the Grahas, the good and bad effects be declared. I explain below the method of knowing the Vimsopak strength (20 point strength), just by knowing which an idea of the results of actions of this birth and of former birth will clearly emerge.

And thus, the answer to the question might be given on an exemplar basis as:

  • Predetermined things in a Marriage - Destiny or Fate (Prārabdha Karma):

Kind of spouse you'll marry, kind of kids you'll beget with them. Their general characteristic, nature, overall health, type of career financial, and social standing, The most striking "major" features of the spouse, and subsequent events associated with them as a couple, thus, can always be predicted by a competent astrologer. This is based on the totality of previous-birth saṃskāras the jīva has carried to get to the present birth and thus the kind of people they'll encounter.

  • Self-Determined things in a Marriage - Free Will (Āgāmi Karma):

Whom would you actually marry - will their name be "x" or "y" (the "type/saṃskāras" of the spouse been already pre-determined though), how or who exactly your kids will exactly be. Looks of the spouse you might decide (but what kind of "looks" you like is already pre-decided based on your previous birth karma). You decide your kids names or which school they'll study {but, what "kind of school (elite/normal/public)" they will study in? - that already been decided based on previous birth}.

The above classification is derived loosely from the Bhavas based Jyotiṣa Śāstra methodology of analysis. In the Brihat Parāśarahorā Śāstra we have several Chapters dedicated to Bhavas: which provides a basic blueprint of one's life and the kind of people they'll encounter with "pre-determined" samskaras. On may read from Chapter 12 to Chapter 24.

An Analogy:

We have been given a jar full of Chocolate flavored candies, all having the same taste of Chocolate (saṃskāras). Chocolate is our favorite flavor (pre-determined). But each candy is packed in different wrapper packaging ("material-outfit"). Of course, we are not told that inside the package it's all the same taste. We have "free will" to basically choose the "outer-packaging (looks, physical features, etc.)" of our chosen candy but ultimately we're delimited by our destiny to only like the chocolate flavour only, and thus we'll basically choose from that pool of available candies in that given jar only.

(Now, in the above analogy: Replace the word "candy" with Spouse and one might get some idea on what constitutes their destiny and what constitutes as their "free-will" in their own marriage")

Hence, we are free to exercise our "free-will", but limited by our own taste/affinities which arise due to our own previous-birth karmas. Hence, it becomes a combination of both free will and determinism.

Thus, instead of fully concurring with the famous western notion of: "Marriages are made in heaven, and Celebrated on Earth", I'll modify it a bit to fit our Hinduism theology as follow:

It's most right to say that as per Hinduism - "The basic 'blueprint' of Marriage is indeed made (pre-determined - destiny) in Heaven (by our own previous-birth Karmas) and the actual material construction of the blueprint is self-chosen by us (Free-will), and thus Celebrated on Earth."

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    Thank you for your response. I have a few follow up questions. I will post them shortly. Jun 12, 2021 at 5:22

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