What is Karma?
Buddha states that ‘Karma’ consists of our thoughts, words, actions and actions that others perform under our instructions.
The Shatapatha Brahmana (700 BCE) explains the meaning of the ‘Karma’ doctrine —
“While our bodies may die, the soul is eternal and it continues its journey through many lifetimes. The soul creates a system of actions and reactions (Karma), throughout these lives, forming a cycle of rebirth. And the totality of our actions and their reactions in this and previous lives, determine our future.
Thus — a man is born to the world he has made“.
What is the law of ‘Karma’ ?
Brihadaranyaka Upanishad (700 BCE) — ancient Sanskrit texts that contain some of the central philosophical concepts and ideas of Sanatana Dharma (Hinduism)sums up the law of ‘Karma’ beautifully…
“You are what your deep, driving desire is. As your desire is, so is your will. As your will is, so is your deed (Karma). As your deed (Karma) is, so is your destiny”.
This almost sums up the concept of ‘Karma’.
When you find that someone is good or innocent and yet suffering then the root of the sufferings lies in the person’s past lives.
We all know that the great Bhishma Pitamah, a person with high moral and ethical values,who was loved and adored by Lord Sri Krishna died on the bed of arrows.
Bhishma was lying on bed of arrows and by the grace of Lord Krishna he was able to see his past lives. He searched his past life for the reason behind his sufferings. He searched 79 past lives but he did not find any bad karma which caused him suffer so bad. All of a sudden Lord Krishna came to meet him. Bheeshma asked Lord that why he was suffering so bad while there was no any sinful act performed by him in past lives.
Krishna asked him to watch his 80th past life. In that life Bheeshma had killed an insect with a needle. That karma along with it’s interest of 79 afterlives caused him to sleep on the bed of arrows….
Law of karma is as stubborn as rock. Even God can not break it or by pass it.
Lord also respects the law of karma. Lord Vishnu was cursed by Rakshasas in his Narsimha Avatar; and it was possible for Him not to suffer the curse but he chose to respect the laws of universe and suffered the curse.
Therefore, it is not like innocents suffer and culprits don’t.
Bad people may be living happily in the present, because they are experiencing fruits of their good karmas of past lives.
It is difficult to comment or explain on how law of Karma works. The law of karma never does injustice to anyone!
The most important truth we should know is that Karma is not working out fully in one lifetime. It’s happening over many lifetimes. Because the game doesn’t start with this life. When we are born, we are already in the game at some level. That’s why we are not born equal. One may be born blind or deaf or with other limitations. We have to play from the point we are born. So our suffering or pain is not of this life alone, it’s coming from some past or previous lives. It is so with our happiness or pleasures too.
One mortal birth, and death that follows it, is not life. It is just one chapter in the ocean of Life. If you see just one reel of a 24 reel movie, say 12th reel, you can’t make head or tail of it. You may say, ‘Oh, this is stupid. It makes no sense!’ But then the reels before and after can explain the whole story. Unfortunately, until we get fully realised spiritually, we cannot have the vision to see those other reels of our life. But, it’s ok, we still can see a pattern in a sigle lifetime, by using our mind intelligently. We can understand that good yields good, bad yields bad. It is Just a matter of time!
How can we decrease the effects of our bad karma?
Never hurt others even if they hurt you… (why because when others hurt you and you undergo some sort of pain or suffering and forgive them so your karma of undergoing a painful situation goes away (through exhaustion of a past bad karma) and you don’t get new bad karma of hurting them back).
Gracefully accept your mistakes and try to rectify them in a manner that no one gets hurt in the process. (As If someone gets hurt in the process and curses you that curse also becomes a bad karma for you)
Never curse or hurt anyone as it gives a bad karma for yourself too.
Practice japa and meditation as they keeps your mind calm and at peace, which will certainly help you make right and probably good decisions based on wisdom and knowledge at crutial times.
Help only those people who really deserve help.Self help is the best help for anyone.
Be friendly, kind and compassionate with everyone you meet or interact as much as possible. When you are in difficult situations where you are not able to handle with calmness or right frame of mind, instantly you can apologise and leave the place sooner instead of creating ugly scenes of hurting each other.
Never be Jealous of anyone’s good fortune.
Never feel happy or rejoiced about anyone’s misfortune too.
Always do good, be good, see good and think good.
The path to salvation can be reached only when all your past good as well as bad karma of all lifetimes are exhausted. You can sacrifice good karma but bad karma cannot be sacrificed to attain salvation. Doing good deeds may slowly cancel or undo your bad karma too, but doing a good expecting to cancel bad karma doesn’t cancel a bad karma.
To keep your future good and present pleasant, always think, talk, and do GOOD only. Never indulge in harmful activities. Reduce selfish activities and increase selfless activities. While doing these Dwell in God moment to moment
As long as you believe that you are your body and mind complex, you will live in the limited Ego consciousness looking for pleasures for your body or mind and hence you will keep attracting karma. Drop your ego, embrace the supreme Self by knowing that there is only one Life force as Divine consciousness, living in all living beings and practice equanimity & equal vision to get rid of the karmic cycles. Celebrate the presence of presence by living in the NOW always and transcend KARMA.
From the Teachings of Mother Sarada Devi
Disciple: “If there is a God, why is there so much misery in this world? Does He not see? Or hasn’t He the power to remove these evils?”
Mother: “The creation itself is full of griefs. How can one understand joy if there is no sorrow? And how can everyone be happy at the same time? There is a story that once Sita said to Rama, ‘Why do you not remove everybody’s miseries? Make everyone in your kingdom—all your subjects—happy. You can do it if you like.’ Rama answered, ‘Can everyone be happy at the same time?’ ‘Well, they can, if you so desire. Why not satisfy all their needs from the royal treasury?’ ‘Just as you wish.’
“Then Rama called Lakshmana and said, ‘Go and tell everyone in my kingdom that all their needs will be supplied from my treasury.’ When the people heard this, they came and explained their needs. The treasury was laid open. Everyone lived in happiness. But such was the dispensation of Rama that soon the roof of the royal palace showed cracks and water seeped through.
Masons were sent for to repair the crack. But there were none to be found. Where was any labourer to be found? The subjects also came and complained that because there were no masons or workmen, their houses and buildings were falling to pieces. Then, seeing no other way, Sita said to Rama, ‘We cannot suffer in the wet like this! Let everything be as it was. Then we can get workmen again. Everybody cannot be happy at the same time.’ ‘So be it,’ answered Rama. Inthe twinkling of an eye everything was as it used to be. One could get workmen again. ‘Lord, it is true that this life is only a game of yours!’ said Sita.
“No one can suffer for all time. No one will spend all his days on this earth in suffering. Every action brings its own result, and one gets one’s opportunities accordingly.”
Disciple: “Then is everything the fruit of Karma?”
Mother: “What else, if not Karma?”