Knowledge of past and future arises by samyama on the three transformations. Through the present, which is the effect of the past, one can know accurately their past, which is the cause. By knowing their present, which is the cause of their future, one can know the future accurately. This is the infallable method of psychological analysis. If a person is suffering, they must have accumulated the causes of their misery and suffering. If a person is occupied in evil tendency, they will positively suffer in the future. - Shri Brahmananda Saraswati
Have you ever been to a fortune teller? Had your tarot cards read? Consulted crystal balls? Many people have, as there is this fascination that someone can tell us the unknown in our future. The yoga sutras say that yogis have an ability to predict the future. Not only that, this power is more accessible to us than we may think. For us to predict our future, all that is needed is an honest look at our present reality. All our present thoughts, words, and actions are the very same seeds from which our future will grow. Yogic philosophy explains that all “karma” or actions have consequences. We cannot plant a mango seed and expect an avocado tree to grow. As far as karma is concerned, there is no judgment as to what is “good” and “bad”, just as a mango is not “better” than an avocado. All it is is the law of nature. There is no vindictiveness involved in the law of karma, only the logical conclusion that we reap what we sow. When we look at our past, we will also notice that we have planted the seeds from which our present sprung.
The knowledge of being able to predict our future is empowering, because it means we are in control of our destiny. We are the drivers of our fate! Take the asana practice (the physical exercises of yoga) for example. If you see someone able to do a drop back easily, it is because this person has taken the actions in the past that led to this. The yogi has paid their dues, practiced long and hard, with commitment, to get to where they are today. It is not fair to compare the years they have put in with your own practice, especially when you are new. If it’s your first day to practice a drop back, naturally you will not have the ease of someone who’s been doing this for a much longer time. There is no sense in comparing. There is, however, a clarity in understanding that we each get to take action to build the future we wish. If a drop back is what we want in our future, then we do the practices starting today. If we then want a future where we are free and happy, we plant the seeds of freedom and happiness now, we make sure we don’t rob others of their freedom and happiness.
The Jivamukti practice advocates veganism as part of a yogic lifestyle. From a karmic perspective, we can use the actions we take now to predict the future. If we consume a whole foods plant-based diet, we predict a future where our health and well-being is secure. If we consume animal products, we can easily predict a future ridden with diseases like hypertension, type 2 diabetes, and certain types of cancer. If we respect the lives and freedom of animals, we predict a future where we are at peace with our own lives. If we disregard the violence inflicted on animals, we can easily predict a future where our lives are filled with fear, anger, and tension. If we eat in a way that is light on carbon footprint, we can predict a future where the world can sustain the growing population. If we eat in a way that consumes far more resources than is necessary, we can most certainly predict a future where we will have problems with sustainability.
The teachings of yoga are practical, in that we learn how to take the right action that leads us to the future of our wishes. There are no such things as coincidences. We simply have to pay attention and make the connections. We do not need fortune tellers and tarot cards to predict the future. We can do that all by ourselves, by using our own power, by taking our own conscious action. Yogis have the power of predicting the future because we have an understanding of how karma works. Plant the seeds today of what you wish to bear fruit tomorrow.