An Archarya once had a brilliant disciple. The boy was only Seven -years-old and was everything that the teacher thought was good in a pupil. He was sure that the boy would have a wonderful future, becoming a great archarya, or scientist or even a statesman at court, as an advisor whose intelligence would be valued.
With such happy thoughts in mind, the Archarya began to cast the boy’s horoscope. As he did so, he paused in horror – the boy was destined to die that very month! Horrified and upset, the Archarya did not know what to do. So he went to Lord Brahmma and said, “O Creator. In your world, you have created such a wonderful child, brilliant and good in all aspects. But how could you be so cruel as to give him such a short life?”
Brahmma, his brow furrowed, said, “O Archarya. This is not in my hands. All I do is create. Let us go to Vishnu, the Preserver. He may have the powers to change the boy’s fate. I will come with you.”
So Brahmma and the Archarya went to see Lord Vishnu, who lay resting upon the coils of the great Adisesha in the middle of the ocean. He was quite surprised to see the unlikely pair and sat up in alarm. “O Brahmma,” he said, “What brings you here? With the Archarya, no less?”
So Brahmma and the Archarya explained the situation to Vishnu. Vishnu’s face turned serious as he said, “While my job is to maintain status quo and protect all things, how can I arrest what has been ordained. I do not have those powers. Let us go see Shiva, the Destroyer – perhaps he can arrest the path of fate?”
So Vishnu, Brahmma and the Archarya travelled to Mount Kailash to get Shiva’s help. Shiva and Shakti were in the middle of an animated discussion when the visitors arrived. They stopped and welcomed them with all due respect.
Then Vishnu explained why they were all there. Shiva turned to Shakti, who smiled and said, “I think you better help them my Lord.”
Shiva, however, was thoughtful. He said, “I don’t have the power to change fate. But let’s see if we can persuade Lord Yama not to exercise his will.”
So the Trinity accompanied the Archarya to Yama Loka. The Archarya was very hopeful now. Would Yama refuse these three great gods if they requested him not to take the boy’s life?
When Yama saw them arrive, he smiled. He said, “Welcome O three Masters of the Universe. Welcome O Learned Archarya. I have been expecting you.” At this, his four visitors were taken aback. They looked at each other in some confusion.
The Archarya asked, “How so, O Lord Yama. Did someone tell you we were coming?”
“Not someone O Archarya. But it has been written by Fate. Let’s leave now.”
The Archarya was confused. He said, “But… but… where are we going? We came to humbly ask for something.”
Yama smiled and said, “Do so by all means. Then I will tell you where we are going.”
The Archarya explained, begging Yama not to take away the life of his star pupil.
Yama laughed loudly now. He said, “O Learned Archarya. You have been very precipitate. Did you go through his horoscope thoroughly?”
“No,” said the Archarya, “I did not. I rushed to see Lord Brahmma as soon as I saw his death written there.”
“Well,” said Yama, “If you had read further, you would have seen that your star pupil is indeed very lucky. Such are the blessings he has acquired from his past Karma, that he is destined to die in this birth, in the presence of the Trinity, Lord of death and his Archarya. What a wonderful exit from earthly life! He is blessed indeed! Which is why I was expecting you here at this time in the first place.”
The learning: Death is inevitable. It cannot be postponed or avoided. Fate is the unfulfilled Karma of Past Actions. Life is therefore, what is set out by Past Actions and Present Karma, in other words, a combination of Free Will and Fate. This is what is called Sanatana Dharma. Nothing you do now sometimes may change it.
What you do now, however, will be the path of your Future Karma. Then, to put it clearly, Action is freewill within the context of the Karma of the Past. Intent forms the Karma of your Future.
This is not about religion or belief, but in essence about science.
“Every action has an equal and opposite reaction.” No action or act can go without a consecutive and equal effect. How can it?
What you experience sometimes thus, is the Effect of the Effect of your Karma. Is this confusing?
Let me explain simply with another story. A man is looking for a medical seat for his son. He is anxious, since though the child has got good marks, the confirmation of the seat has not been received. There is immense competition for entry into the college.
Therefore, he decides that a short cut has to be taken. He decides to find someone who can get him a seat. He makes contact with one of the board members of the college and gives him a hefty bribe on the assurance of a seat. His son does get the seat. The man is happy.
Now pause to review this story in the light of our learning. Think –
The boy gets the seat not because of the bribe, but because he is destined to, thanks to his Karma of the Past.
The boy’s father has to undergo the mental tension, thanks to the Effect of his past Karmas. He perpetrates further negative Karma for his Future thanks to two things:
1. His Intent in giving the bribe, so as to get the seat through a wrong deed.
2. His Action of giving the bribe, which in turn has a domino effect in his immediate Future or in other Life/Lives.
The Effects of the Intent and of his Actions, will create his Future Karmas. What he will then experience, is the Effect, of the Effect of his Actions, which in this case, is the giving of the bribe. The Effect of his Actions in this birth, would be that he has engendered corruption. The Effects of this Effect is what he will experience at a later time, in this birth or the next.
Another example of the Effect of the Effect of Karma, is alchohol-addiction. You live with the effect, of alcohol addiction thanks to the Effect of a deeds (actions) done in the past. You experience death or serious illness due to that addiction as effect of effect.
This perhaps answers the most commonly asked question, “Why do good people suffer?” People can be good, ethical and upright, yet suffer incessantly and lead miserable lives.
This does not mean that we change ourselves and tread negative paths, for, we see around us, unethical and unkind people who are not honest, who seem to be happy and prosperous. Viewed as such, there is no logic then to life or our social fabric.
So then, we know this:
1. Right action with the right attitude is what you have to adopt
2. Do not complain or lament
3. Do not worry about the results of your actions
4. Do correct actions in a un-attached manner
Therefore, what will drive you then are:
1. Your ethics and your beliefs
These five qualities will ensure that you tread the right path – and create a way of life where Action with Surrender becomes the norm. This is what is called Sanatana Dharma.
In the first story, the Archarya scrutinised the horoscope and saw what the Fate of the boy would be. In that story, since the Fate was death, and such an exalted death at that, the Archarya had no choice but to follow the course of Fate.
In our lives, astrologers help us by avoid the effects of Karma with their suggestions for prayer and action, thus putting us on the path of right actions in the present. This in turn paves way for better Karma and better lives in the future in this life and next.
Our learning: All religions then, are but guidebooks for the way you live your life. Every religion aims to teach the individual the right path, with right actions and deeds. I sum it up therefore as:
Right actions at wrong times may lead to wrong results.
Wrong actions at right times may lead to right results.
Right actions at all times with attitude of surrender will lead to peace and bliss.
Religion + Prayer = monologues, where you speak to God.
Meditation + Spirituality = monologues where God speaks to you.