“Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap” (Galatians 6:7 - New Testament)
“Give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.” (Luke 6:38 - New Testament)
“For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction” (Newton’s Third Law of Physics)
When seemingly bad things happen to us, we immediately ask ourselves “why me”. Not surprisingly we don’t have the same question when something good happens to us. We also have the feeling that if good things happen to good people something bad could not happen to us. This feeling is accentuated when we feel that we’ve led perfectly good lives and have no reason to be dealt with anything bad. When something bad happens, we then question God and as a result our faith in God. Why would God want someone to be sad and another to be happy? Even if we don’t believe that everything is God and that God is a singular creator, the hallmark of faith in God is the belief that God is impartial. The Law of Karma explains everything that happens to us, whether good or bad.
The Law of Karma simply says that every thought, every intention, every word and every action is governed by cause and effect. Essentially what we think, what we say and what we do, all have consequences. While the majority of the world now refers to karma as a noun and believes it accounts for bad things boomeranging back to bad people, that is not really an effective explanation of the law of karma at all. The law applies to good and bad - thoughts, actions and speech. For those of us who remember our basic science, the law of karma is Newtonian – every action has an equal and opposite reaction (Newton’s Third Law of Physics). In the case of karma, we equate every action to include physical, mental and verbal ones.
Lots of people think of the notion of destiny as being fatalistic, i.e. whatever will happen will happen and there’s nothing we can do about it. The beauty of karma is that it single-handedly takes out any notion of fatalism. We don’t control our past because it has happened. We don’t control the “present” that has arrived either because it is here. We do however have the ability to exercise our free will and respond to the present situation in a poised manner with integrity while embracing a strong sense of right and wrong. Our current situation or the “present” that has arrived is a result of our past karma but our reaction to the present situation drives our future karma. While we cannot control the past, if we do the right things in the present then we would accumulate good karma and assist with a more pleasant future. Every thought, action or speech results in a karmic event and a corresponding debit or credit in our karmic account. An empty account balance equates to godliness and symbolizes the ultimate state of mental and spiritual purity, i.e. a state where we have no karmic debts left to pay.
Karma is the validation of the hypothesis that God is impartial, because we take the notion of God making decisions out of the equation. We get only what we deserve, based on our karma, and not what we desire. God doesn’t play favorites here and give some people all the goodness and others all the badness. Have we asked ourselves why some people are born into wealthy families while there are others born into abject poverty? Why are some kids born healthy while there are others born with health conditions? Why are we lucky sometimes and unlucky at other times? Why do we sometimes see defeat snatched from the jaws of victory and vice versa. The karma from our past lives and that from the present lifetime influences our current situation. Our past karma and our current response influences our future. The manner in which we respond to the current situation, which could be construed as adversity based on the situation, determines whether we have to face the situation again or can safely consider that karmic consequence to have been paid off. If we respond to the present situation appropriately, i.e. with poise, integrity, love, compassion, sense of duty, etc. as pertinent, then our current action creates a credit in our karmic account balance to negate a corresponding prior debit.
It is easiest in this case to consider God as the ultimate accountant who maintains each individual’s karmic account to perfection. This is an extremely complex job made even more complex by the fact that our karmic activities depend on others and theirs depend on us as well. Our interactions with each other and with the world around us have karmic consequences and this super-accountant needs to keep track of each of those credits and debits to perfection. So essentially what we have here is the most complex accounting system that needs to account for a highly intricate relationship matrix for each person – might be helpful to think of God here as the super-accountant working on an incredible supercomputer.
The Law of Karma is based on a fundamental premise though that our karmic balance carries across lifetimes. The plusses and minuses don’t have to happen in the same lifetime. This answers the perspective of “I’ve always been good but yet this happened to me” …it may have happened to you because of something you did in a prior lifetime. The accounting system is perfect and there is no room for glitches. How else could one explain my prior example of a kid being born in a rich home versus another in abject poverty? The kid hasn’t even lived enough in this lifetime when she is born in one home versus the other. Something determines the circumstances surrounding the kid’s birth. That something can’t be God because an impartial God wouldn’t want the kid to suffer without food and clothing and in the midst of potential sickness. That something is your karma. God provides you with the anchor to hold onto when dealing with the consequences of karma.
Karma also means action in Sanskrit. What does the right action look like to hopefully not incur a debit in our karmic account? Will give that a shot in my next article.