Law of Karma (June 2012)
Law of Karma (action)
In Hinduism, there is an old and potent saying, “As you sow so shall you reap”, which very aptly describes the Law of Karma (Action). What is Karma? Karma is our deeds – or misdeeds for that matter – in thoughts and physical world. The Law of Karma states that person reaps the fruits of his/her actions. We can see numerous daily life examples of this law around us: one who drives recklessly meets with an accident; one who eats too much falls sick; students get results in accordance with their efforts; a hardworking person succeeds in every endeavor. Person ALWAYS undergoes the consequences of his/her own actions.
Like the Physics law of classic mechanics “for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction”, the Law of Karma stipulates that whatever we are, or whatever we have achieved is the consequence of our own karmas (actions). Even though the results are not necessarily instantaneous, for every consequence there is a certain cause behind it. It may take minutes, hours, days, years, or several incarnations. The Law of Karma, also seen as the law of cause and effect, is constant and everlasting.
In the Guruda Purana it is said: “O man! No one brings happiness or sorrow to you; whatever action you have performed, reap the fruits thereof.”
Fate and Law of Karma
Without having a deep understanding of the principles of Hinduism, it is not easy to relate the results to actions in day-to-day life. It is often seen that two persons with around the same amount of efforts get vastly different results. It is quite easy then to lose faith in the Law of Karma and submit to the wrong interpretation of fate/destiny. You hear people blaming the outcome on bad luck or destiny without really understanding the meaning of destiny (prarabdha).
Luck is a set of conditions that are generated based on our prior actions. These actions may have been performed recently, long time back in the current life, or previous lives. When the fruits of our previous lives are reaped in the current life, it is called destiny or prarabdha. A person has control over actions, but how and when the fruits of those actions are presented is decided by God.
While the power of destiny is dominant and unwavering, the common understanding and interpretation is wrong. Destiny is not a random act of good/bad luck bestowed on humans. It is the true fruit of one’s own actions. While paying the consequences of prior actions, one must strive to improve the future. A person builds his/her own Prarabdha (destiny) by actions performed. Every person is the architect of his/her Destiny.
In Yoga Vashishtha, Sage Vashishtha says to Lord Rama: “O Rama, in order to attain good fruits, one must do virtuous actions. The consequences of sinful actions are evil. You may perform actions as you please.”
As we discussed in the last two months, the soul is free to act. However, it is bound to undergo the consequences of the actions. Therefore, we must make every effort to do only those acts whose fruits we aspire for.
Mantra of the Month (MoM)
Fifth mantra of Ishwar Stuti Prartha Upasana Mantras
Om Yena dyaur-ugraa prithivee cha dridhaa yena swah stabhitam yena naakah. Yo antarikshe rajaso vimaanah kasmai devaaya havishaa vidhema.
God is the creator of the entire universe. He provides motion and stability to the earth, the sun and the entire universe. He grants salvation and sustains happiness. Let us offer our worship for that God.
As always, please take time to discuss this topic with kids, and encourage them to memorize the MoM with meanings.