The Complexity of the Law of Karma
Karma is a concept that is prevalent in almost every Eastern religion, whether it is Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism etc they all believe in karma. These religions may have conflicts of ideas on various thought but they all share a common belief in the theory of karma without any disagreement.
Theory of karma teaches us that the actions we did in the past are still affecting us, either positively or negatively, and the actions we are doing today will affect us in the future. So we should be very careful and thoughtful about not only our actions but also about the intentions behind them.
Law of karma is more like a web that is connected from various ends. Everything in this world is connected to each other as well as gets affected by each other.
In simple words, karma is “If you do something good you will get that goodness paid back to you. Similarly, if you do something bad then you will get the same”.
But how can you determine an action as good or bad? There is no way by which any act can be categorized in to good or bad. What we consider as good can result in extremely bad consequences and also vice versa. That is why this law of karma is complex.
It is our miscalculation when we try to categorize our actions as good or bad. And the most ignorant mistake we make is an invalid categorization of our actions as cause or effect and good or bad.
We cannot label any action as cause or effect because life’s events are so interrelated it makes no sense to arrange them into a sensible sequence of their occurrence and make a logical connection between them. Because life is not like Mathematics where 1 comes first and then 2 and then 3 4 5 6 and likewise.
There is no particular sequence in life like there is in mathematics. In life 2 can come before 1 as well as 2 can come even after 10. Yes, life is strange.
Because we as with our mind’s limited potential are not capable enough to understand this mystery of the universe.
“Karma Has No Menu”
The problem with the human mind is that we always associate good deeds with good reward and bad deeds with bad results. But as I said no good is good and no bad is bad. This categorization is absurd. You never know when things will turn around and we need to change our label that we put first.
Any action categorized as bad might bring sweet results after a while. Similarly, a well-appreciated action of today might bring catastrophe tomorrow. It’s just a matter of time. Who knows what tomorrow will bring.
This video by Alan Watts on Karma explains it very well. Must watch it before reading further
But still, we keep on rationalizing everything that happens to us as if we clearly know which incident arising from which incident or what leads to what.
You label events according to your will and desire.
When you do something “good” you often associate it as “cause” so that you can expect a reward from it in the form of effect in the future.
And whenever a misfortune happens to you, you call it an effect of past bad action and now because this misfortune happened to you, you are away with it. Thus you make sure a bad karmic account of the past is settled now.
We never allow any unpleasant consequences to be a part of future probability.
Let’s suppose a person met with a severe car accident. Off course that is something we can say an unfortunate event. The doctor advised him 6 months of complete bed rest. Now if he believes in karma he is most likely to believe this accident is the result of any unpleasant deed done by me in the past that might have given pain to someone. And hence I am paying the price of it.
But how can he be so sure about it?
There could be endless possibilities of various reasons leading to this accident. And who knows this accident was caused by an unpleasant deed of the past or not.
The karmic story behind this accident could be like this. He might have done some meritorious acts in his past life that have helped many people financially to run a small shop for their livelihood. And for that, he even abused his official powers.
Now see how karma reveals its complex play.
During this time when anything he could do was to watch television, read books or any of these sort of trivial things, but he decides to write a novel. A story he always had in his mind but never bothered about actually writing it down. But now as he is free from his job responsibilities and any other involvements. He finally got the time to write the story.
See how events turned around.
With this accident, the man has been punished for the abuse of his official powers. And the book which he wrote during this time while he was on bed rest for months got him a publishing deal from a well-known book publishing. This eventually got him a huge amount of money. Hence it’s absolutely true that:
“Karma has No Deadline”
Thus he got payback for his karmas. Whether you categorize them good or bad. It doesn’t matter because for the Law nothing is good or bad. Actions are just action. Their results will get manifest when conditions are appropriate for them.
The sequence of occurrence of these events is quite dramatic. How perfectly the law of karma blended both of these actions of the past.
So for him what seemed like a curse at first ended up being in blessing in disguise.
At first what seemed unpleasant turned out to be good luck. So you can never know what is fortunate and what is unfortunate. Things can turn upside down at any time. And who knows this example of a car accident will have one more flip still left.
And let me clear one thing this is just an example. The story mentioned above could have many different twists and turns. It might have linked with other karmas which will make it more complex to explain and to understand as well. Remember our life’s event are the fruition of the various karma of the past not just one action of the past.
As I said things/events are extremely interconnected in this universe. We have no idea to figure out what is that thread that is connecting these events.
I feel that this article is still not complete. So many things left unsaid. There are many things that I find hard to explain as well as can’t get explained easily. Please do let me know your thoughts on the law of karma and regarding this article too.