Understanding the Flow of Karma



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Every leaf that grows will tell you:
What you sow will bear fruit.
So if you have any sense my friend,
Don't plant anything but Love. 
Rumi


Karma is a Sanskrit word used in eastern philosophies. In Islam and Christianity, other words are used to describe similar ideas. The principle of Karma implies that everything we do, good or bad, is recorded by the Universal Intelligence. It causes a reaction similar to our deed. It is the principle of retribution - As you sow so shall you reap! 

The main difference between Christian and Eastern religion as regards this is that in prevalent interpretation of mainstream Christianity, actions and reactions take place over two lives (this one and the next) because only a single reincarnation is assumed whereas in eastern philosophy it is something that can be executed over several life times with a soul taking birth repeatedly. The principle of Karma is applicable even if one does not believe in more than just one life i.e. this one. All it means then is that it would be executed within this life because as such the principle of Karma has nothing to do with the number of lives a person believes in. The principle of Karma extends not only to our actions but also our thoughts. According to this principle, nothing escapes the attention of the Universal Eye. Everything is recorded and taken into account. 

The goal of the Karmic principle is not punishment, - how can that be, if the very consciousness that maintains this principle, the Universal Consciousness is compassion and love? We are born from a portion of this Universe and are therefore the children of the Universe. A loving parent punishes or rewards a child from time to time in order that the child will develop into a better individual. Punishment is never so damaging that it causes permanent scars. The role of the karmic principle is precisely that - To nudge us towards progress, into compassion, love and evolution.

A way to teach a person a lesson in compassion is to make the person see the other side. Thus a child who hurts others by throwing things may be taught not to do that through explanation. If an explanation does not suffice, he may have to be hurt in a similar way. The principle of Karma works like that. If we can learn our lessons into compassion in a gentle manner, then Nature will teach us that way, but if a harder way of inculcating that learning is required, then Nature will do that too. What better way to feel the pain of a poor person then by suffering through an episode of poverty and what better way to feel the headache of another than by suffering a headache oneself ! Yet, if one is compassionate enough to feel the pain of another without personally undergoing similar pain, then it is not quite necessary to undergo that. If we have hurt someone and repent, then it means that it may not be necessary for us to undergo similar suffering and we may then be excused a similar reaction with enough repentance. This is one of the ways in which undesirable Karma can be dissolved. The essence of the Karmic principle is love in a Universe where life thrives on the principle of love.

The source of our Karma is the exercise of our Free Will linked to our desires through various emotions and desires that humans possess. All life forms possess free will. It is the distinguishing feature of life, much more so than ability to reproduce etc. as defined by scientists because after all a sterile person is a life form too. Whenever we exercise our free will and make a choice or carry out an action based on that choice, it will influence some other life form or some other part of the Universe and it may therefore generate Karma.

Good Karma is a reward but it has its limitations. It lasts for a limited duration. When that good karma is exhausted one is back to square one. It is for this reason that the most evolved of saints prefer liberation to bliss rather than an accumulation of good karma alone. Yet they too need to generate enough good karma first in order to reach that choice and ability for it is only in light that one might find the way to bliss. The jungle of evil deeds is filled with darkness, venomous snakes and dangerous pits. The road to bliss, beyond good and evil, passes through the forest of goodness filled with loving trees of delicious nuts, sweet fruits, wild flowers, clear lakes and streams to quench one’s thirst,  dancing butterflies and the song of birds.

The accumulation of Karma depends on associated intentions, motivations and emotions rather than the action itself. Thus, if you stepped over an insect and killed it unknowingly while out on a walk, no bad karma is generated for you personally. However if you killed one slowly and derived pleasure as you watched it writhe in pain, then a similar karma may await you some day. A military man who kills hundreds of enemies in a war, on instructions from his superiors, for protection of his country generates no significant bad Karma whereas another who kills even a single person out of anger, or for gain, accumulates bad karma. It invites a similar fate for him sometime in the future. Thus an action committed at the level of thought that impacts deeply on our soul will generate karma whereas another action actually committed unknowingly will produce none.

The universal eye watches all. It misses nothing. The record of our deeds is written on our souls and the firmament. Based on that, the Universe will draw out an individual lesson plan for our education. That education is the unfolding of our individual Karma. We could by pass some of that unfolding through effort (such as meditation, reflection, prayer or service) or by earning extra credits by doing things like forgiving others who have wronged us. As a result, some of our similar Karma may be forgiven. However, all karma that needs action by Nature for evolution of our soul towards knowledge and compassion as also for maintaining a balance in the universe will be dealt with by Nature. In this karmic education, there is no canceling of good and bad karma. The results of both have to be experienced separately. However, through advanced spiritual techniques, cancellation and dissolution of karma may be possible.

As all of us go about conducting the business of living, we make plans and put in the required effort to execute those plans. Simultaneously something else happens around us – Nature goes about unfolding our karma at the appropriate times through our lives – a timing known to Nature alone. We thus face results of two types of actions, first our own and secondly those of others and the world around i.e. Nature. This second set of results is our karma, that some call fate, executed for us by Nature through various means including the people we interact with and the lightening in the sky and even our own thoughts if necessary.

Karmic results require no special effort on our part, in order to unfold. Thus, whereas it takes a lot of effort to get a home built and many make that effort, it takes little effort to accept another as a part of an inheritance. The first home comes primarily as a result of our efforts whereas the second comes mostly from our karma – which too is a result of our own deeds, an indirect one though, that was noted by nature on some past occasion and the resulting karma then allocated. 

We can move with the flow, making little effort, and watch our karma as it unfolds. However that might include an unfortunate encounter. If we make no effort to resist we would get hurt. If we make the required effort then we might prevent getting hurt depending on the weight or force of karma. Of the innumerable sorts of karma that lie in store for us, each has a certain weight or significance. Those that affect others and us only slightly, for brief periods of time, are the less significant and lighter ones. Others that affect a large number of persons or affect us for long periods of our life are heavier ones. It takes little effort on our part to change the results of lighter karma but heavier karma requires an immense effort to change. Some are beyond our capacity to change and one must decide in each situation if the effort is worth it.

As we go about conducting the business of living, it requires tremendous effort to achieve our goals. There are millions who struggle from morning to night; some like the ants achieve not much more than survival. There might be another easier way to meet these goals. There is in fact, and it is the Karmic route. Produce the sort of Karma that will get you results and the Universe will grant the results with relative ease. Without doubt, an understanding of workings of Karma and the Will of the universe will help us discover those routes and help us minimize our efforts. The angels of this universe do not work a moment for their living yet all the comforts of the Universe are at their command. Some of the Karma unfolds in human courts of law. That too is a part of Nature. One may however escape the eyes of the human law or the law may be cast in a way so as to make bad acts legal to favor its elite but one cannot escape the Universal Eye and the Universal law of karma.

Deep within us is a pure unaffected part of the Universal Consciousness that knows the truth of matters. Often we move happily without any doubt or resistance on a course of action. It is this inner voice guiding us and assuring us that our effort is in the right direction and that all shall be well. There are other times when we are reluctant to do something that we were planning to do. It is the inner voice telling us that there may be a better way or better time to do the same thing or not at all. As we go about doing whatever we do, we generate more karma. However if we do whatever we do out of a sense of duty and because it is the right thing to do, leaving the results and outcomes in hands of the Universe, then that very same act becomes a sacrifice and co-operation with Nature. It generates no karma and the Universe then co-operates with us in meeting our genuine needs.

Those of us who try and live our lives in a way that does not harm others in any significant way and exert to help the world around us from time to time will accumulate much good karma over long periods of time. Then we would have no difficulty in accepting the law of karma for it is only to accept the rewards that await us. However the evil doer would like to deny that any such law exists. Unfortunately, denial or ignorance of a law does not make it go away. All may however draw solace from the fact that, barring an exceptional few such as powerful leaders that cause the death and suffering of millions and who are destined for the bottomless pit soon as the rewards of their accumulated good karma of past is exhausted, for most others, in the end, all shall be well, for the judge, jury and prosecutor is none other than our loving Father and Mother.


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Today comes from our thoughts of yesterday.

Our present thoughts build our life of tomorrow.

Our life is the creation of our mind.

Buddha

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