Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Is there really a Karma system ?

Is there really a karma system ? If it is there why is it there and is it really fair ? Is it really the way that we see it today?

Just a two days before I and Arjuna were talking about Karma - wherein he said that whatever bad happens it happens because of past karmas. I vehemently opposed him and it was completely out of the blue - whatever i said was just a flow of what my heart really believed - I have always believed that if you are doing something good do it, because you want to do that good - not because u will get some punyas [many do for that reason] and if you don't do something bad, don't do it because you believe it is bad and not because you will earn bad karmas [again many don't do it because they are scared, though that fear has constantly reduced over the ages]I feel that many just use the term "Karma" just to escape reality - just to escape from accepting the truth - what justice would be there - when a child is killed immediately after birth just because it was a girl - what was her karma ? One can say that it was her past karma - then what is the use of just being born and dying immediately - What about kids that are molested by their parents - what was their fault - and these kids grow more screwed up in their heads - in short leading to more bad karmas - Like this I can list out various scenarios that my mind throws up wherein i have no answers towards it.

Thousands are dying around us - Tsunami's, Earthquakes, Forest Fires, Hurricanes - Everytime we look up and question GOD. Should we ? Is that right ?

I told Arjuna that I believe that God is only interested in our spirtual life, not in our materialistic life, I don't believe that he is interested in whether we pass our examination or get a good job or earn money. I don't believe that there is an accountant sitting up there and keeping a count of how much good or bad we are doing. I believe that if we are spirtually stronger than automatically we become morally strong, automatically we don't do wrong, automatically we care about our environment, our surrounding. And we start understanding what happens, just happens, there is no rhyme or reason behind it. We need to just take it in our stride and prepare better for the next time. We are responsible for everything materialistic that happens around us and no one else - For some reason this logic makes sense to me more than anything else. God is there spirtually helping us to discover our inner self and make us better individuals - but thats it.

Everyone kindly give your inputs on it - As my friend venky said - start a controversy and you will learn more. And I know this is a controversial topic and a topic that will benefit all of us. Please think before you answer.

16 Comments:

Blogger Arjuna_Speaks said...

Dude - get ready to read my longest comment ever! :))

According to the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad III 2.13 : "Truly,one becomes good by good action and bad by bad action" - This is called the Law of Cause and Effect which is the equivalent of "as u sow, u shall reap". Ignorance of this law is no defense in the court of Cause and Effectt. As our Lord Krishna says in the Srimad Bhagvata "Karma is the Guru; nay, it is the Supreme Lord".

Every physical or mental action you perform (good or bad) and with which you identify yourself as the doer becomes a Karma for u and produces a reaction which u will eventually have to experience. You have already created ur personal universe with ur Karmas and now u must live in it - there is no escape..

See dude - Karma is so intricate, decent theories of Karma are as difficult to objectively prove or disprove as is the theory of quantum mechanics! One practical difficulty with testing either theory is that cause and effect is only rarely linear..One cause sometimes produce one effect, but far more commonly a number of cooperating concomitant causes are needed to produce a single effect!And a distinct cause quickly spirals into a cascade of interconnected effects..

There is a saying "Gahana Karmano Gatih" which means "Karma runs indescribably deep"! Thus for comprehending the concept of Karma you require philosophical vision..


Perplexed by the seemingly inexplicable, apparent disparity that existed among humanity, a young truth-seeker approached Lord Buddha and questioned him regarding this intricate problem of understanding Karma,

"What is the cause, what is the reason, O Lord," questioned he, "that we find amongst mankind the short-lived and long-lived, the healthy and the diseased, the ugly and beautiful, those lacking influence and the powerful, the poor and the rich, the low-born and the high-born, and the ignorant and the wise?"

Buddha’s reply was:

"All living beings have actions (Karma) as their own, their inheritance, their congenital cause, their kinsman, their refuge. It is Karma that differentiates beings into low and high states."

He then explained the cause of such differences in accordance with the law of cause and effect.

Buddha says:

"I declare, O Bhikkhus, that volition is Karma. Having willed one acts by body, speech, and thought." (Anguttara Nikaya)

Every volitional action of individuals, save those of Buddhas and Arahants, is called Karma!

1:34 PM  
Blogger Arjuna_Speaks said...

Just remembered - there is a beautiful sanscrit sloga my friend Sriram quotes regularly to me:

"Purva datteshu vidy, Purva datteshu bharya, Purva datteshu dhanam, Purva datteshu maranam."

meaning - "previously given knowledge, previously given wife, previously given money, previously given demise"!

Now dont ask me what happens if one has many wives :P

1:40 PM  
Blogger Aatma said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

4:46 PM  
Blogger Aatma said...

That's exactly what the problem is Arjuna, your answer to my question - it is too difficult to understand the workings of Karma - so please don't try to question it - One needs a philosphical vision is what you say - According to me, everytime there is a theory that is not easy to understand - u say simply that it is too difficult for you to understand.

Plus I know for every action there should be a cause and effect - that is a very simple concept to understand - if you are good it is natural that your good will be repayed because of your actions - similarly for the bad.

What i am trying to question is - is there really a system - does everything that happen attribute to that system ? For i don't believe in it

4:47 PM  
Blogger kitchenette soul said...

Dear Aatma,
Interesting topic which I was waiting for. I have had the same indentical questions and don't know much about Karma. Have scoffed at it openly too. Yes agree with you people use 'karma' as a dumb lame excuse for inaction on their part.

Arjuna, your answer seems 'the' answer at least for me. I suppose its best to drop the 'why' and 'why not'. More importantly drop 'doership' in everything. At one point there is no 'why' about Exisitence. Creation, Sustenance and Dissolution are simply expression of Existence.

8:50 PM  
Blogger chutneypopcorn said...

Please bear with me. I have a presentation today. I am researching my thoughts and books I have read on this topic.

For now my one liner is:

"Morality is a slut, that will slant to whom it wants please"

More later :-)

3:46 AM  
Blogger Sumonk said...

Dear Aatma,
I agree with u.

Gods are in US. God is in the word Good.
I do not know anything about Karma, re-births, blah blah.

One thing I know is, Be Practical.
I know about this life. If there is suffering, see what can be done.

We have Gods in all of us, JUst awaken that God. Sit in silence, stengthen your spiritual side, stay in the center, awaken the inner God, go use it for humanity.

We need really solid education in India about these concepts. Action is what is missing in our country. Too much contemplation and too many theories and at the end no one knows answers, It remains an open ended question for centuries.

The question of WHY is never answered. The question of what can be done NOW can be answered?

Lets all lift our LAZY ASSES :-) and see what can be done if some one is going through bad KARMA :-)

Go to an orphanage and see the bad karma in those kids, do not sit and think why they are going through bad karma, see if you can eliminate that bad karma by giving them a warm hug, taking them out for a ride, educating them with good things, and tell them "I am there for you" :-)

with best wishes
Suman

2:09 AM  
Blogger Swahilya said...

Karma is a highly scientific term. It simply means Action. Karati Iti Karmaha - 'Karna' in Hindi. Karam in Tamil means hands. Actions performed with thought, word and body. It is Newton's third law of motion that every action has got an equal and opposite reaction. Atleast that, people have accepted as a fact as it comes from a scientist.
Now, from a scientific perspective if it is analysed - if I beat somebody with my hand, the act creates an impact on that person. The impact is stored as a vibration that travels and moves along with the Earth - round and round - 24 hours a day, 365 1/4 days a year. So the vibrations that begin at a point go around, gather more energy and force and return to the same point. Thoughts and words are nothing but subtler forms of gross matter. So a good thought (meaning what one wishes best for oneself, but wishes it for others) that is sent out one's individual mind box, travels as a vibration along with the earth and gets back to the point where it began with renewed force. Same is with speech and action.
To say that tsunami is hitting, katrina is hitting, people are orphaned - what is all this karma -is like watching a part of an exposed tube in a giant machine and saying why the liquid here is so dirty - or looking at the human body and saying what karma did the anal canal do to carry all the wastes out of the body. When the body dies, whether it is the head or the feet all go back to the same dust. The spirit within is the same, but names, forms and actions performed by the name and forms are different.

4:59 AM  
Blogger Sumonk said...

Salute to u Swahilya..
It needs a person of ur calibre t answer the depth of doubts we mortal humans have.

Every action has an equal and opposite reaction. Oh Boy! I love it. Today is another major milestone in my emlightenment process. Awesome

with best wishes
Suman

5:06 AM  
Blogger Aatma said...

I agree with you Sumon, completely agree with you on doing something just not talking about it

10:31 AM  
Blogger Aatma said...

Swahiliya a beautiful description what an action can do but unfortunately it doesn't answer my question - An action will have a reaction - i can understand that. Scientifically it is said that just a flapping speed of the humming bird can cause a hurricane somewhere very far - agreed and amazed by that knowledge.

If you do something good and keep doing something good - yes chances are very bright that something good will return to you - it is completely natural reaction - and the same goes for bad - i think i have told this before to you.

My question lies in the fact that i want people to stop lamenting that if something bad happens it is due to their Karma aka some past action that has been recored somewhere coming back at you - Now that i believe is wrong - for none of your theory can explain the various questions that i put forward in the blog.

Action, reaction, carry forward effect - all these terms i understand and agree with you

10:37 AM  
Blogger Swahilya said...

@Aatma: "My question lies in the fact that i want people to stop lamenting that if something bad happens it is due to their Karma aka some past action that has been recored somewhere coming back at you - Now that i believe is wrong - for none of your theory can explain the various questions that i put forward in the blog." :
I have never disagreed with you on that account and if you look at this piece of your comment I have quoted here, you will know that it is not a question as you have mentioned that calls for an answer, but it is a plain statement.
When something good happens, no one complains about their Karma, but when something bad happens, people say it is Karma. The point is - there is no Good or Bad Karma. It is all our mind's attribution. If something I think that is bad that has happened, I just need to get off roll up my sleeves and look at it on the face, rather than blame it on Karma and weep.
The lines from Adi Sankara's Nirvana Shatkam explains:
Na Punyam Na Papam Na Sowkhyam Na Dukham - I am not good or bad karma, I am not well being or sorrow - I am Chidananda Roopaha Shivoham Shivoham.

4:36 AM  
Blogger Aatma said...

Perfect Swahiliya, now this makes sense.

11:00 AM  
Blogger Padmasani said...

Arjuna that is an impressive erudition of your study of Karma theory. My dear, youth and extraordinary scholarship sometimes bring this intolerance when people don't see your point. You have made an excellent description of the most complex Karma theory. Try work out in simpler expressions so that the unitiated can understand easily. I feel relaxed and sort of proud about you youngsters. Everything is going in the right direction.

Aatma, Karma theory is indeed is very complex and frustrating in the process of understanding. That does not exclude its validity.

But why do you worry about Karma theory? Your convictions about good and bad or the role of God is another stream of faith which is equally valid. Both of you remind me of the proverb "All roads lead to Rome".

Your theory fits in well with strong people with definite convictions on rights and wrongs. But understand the others also.

There are some, philosophically well read like Arjuna, who understands and believes in the concept. There are yet some others like you with well defined ideas about life. In both cases of Atma and Arjuna there is no complication. Things are straight and therefore no wailing if things go bad.

There is a third category who are beyond you both who work and live under fear syndrome for bad things. They are weak minded and they wail when things go bad. For such people the Karma theory is the excellent psychiatrist. They dont understand the theory nor do they try to. Simply they call it karma because the wise say so.
Thanks to this one theory, Indias have lived wiping and healing many of their wounds. They could also accept Mother Nature for her bounties and wraths rather than questioning her.

To make a small addition, the entire stream of thoughts have gone on the adhvaita lines. Swahilya has quoted Sankara. I would like to quote him too and his Bhavanyashtakam, which describes the state of Prapatti or Sharanagati wherein you are beyond the karma inflictions. This is also called the marjara tatvam (Like a kitten is in total surrender, being carried by the mother).

Three different ways give you this state of Sharanagati or Prapatti. One group is the followers of visishtadvaitam, the second group is the one who surrender to Devi and third group knows no form or idol they are the kittens in their guru's laps.

The morale of the story my dear Aatma is that you are already following some faith which is parallel and equally good. So why conflicts? Peace! :))

1:03 AM  
Blogger Guhanand said...

Hi All,
I was just browsing some of the blogs and found this interesting question in "Cosmic Consciousness"...
I definitely like to post few comments and questions on "Is there really a Karma system"...
I have been asking questions like this and lot others for a very long time...

The fact is that, whether we believe that there is a karma system or not, truly there is some system which governs us to live the life as we are living now...we are in some kind of a sandbox out of which some people try to jump out, some actually jump out and others stick within it till their lives...simply put we are in a Matrix...:)

I have typed below some primary questions (it may not be be very structured or rational) before getting to understand of a Karmic system.

My assumptions for the questions:

1. We are governed by Karma (our past sown actions which can be either interpreted as good or bad)

2. A Karmic system exists to enforce Karma

3. We are nothing but jivatma's from a single omnipresent, omnipotent and omniscient paramatma

4. Nine planets influence our life in earth

5. There exists some super power which we all call God

6. According to astrology, our birth chart itself is like a design document which is written according to a specific subset Karma to be experienced in the current birth. This subset Karma to be experienced is derived from a superset karma accumulated from the begining. Our life is actually a manifestation/implementation based on that design document.

Here are my questions:
1. When we were created as a brand new jivatma, there should logically be no Karma deciding that jivatma prior to that creation..so did the super power assign some random or fixed karma to all the new jivatmas created? If so how and why he did it?

2. Who manages the whole Karmic system so that each and every jivatma is ensured of his due either good or bad? Is that managed by the nine planets or by God himself?

3. There is a famous quote in tamil "avan indri or anuvum asaiyaathu"..which means without "him" no atom gains action... and we all, most probably believe that anything can happen the next second...So does "he" check with the Karmic system every kshana to make sure what action is to be done by that atom/jivatma in the next second?

4. How it is decided which subset karmic portion out of a superset is to be experienced in our current life?

5. What is a good Karma or bad Karma that is how we can interpret something bad(paapam) or good(punyam)?

I am a staunch believer of Astrology and I have fair knowledge of the same...before replying to the post i just came across this link which explains on fate, free will and karma...its good...just read especially the first part of it if you are not so astrologically inclined...
http://www.astrologyforthesoul.com/vp/predictiveastrologyfatekarmafreewill_printer.htm

3:47 PM  
Blogger Prabhat said...

Hello to all the respected people in participating in this so spiritual discussion.
Whatever views the different members are posting are correct. There is nothing wrong in whatever Aatma has said or whatever Arjuna has said and similarly what others have said. We are all growing, developing towards a common goal which is GOD. GOD is something not outside us. Infact we are all a mainfestaion of HIM. And we are all in a development phase until we realize our TRUE nature that is GODHOOD. So, that's why are knowledge varies according to the level we are at. But ultimately there is only on TRUTH that remains, and that is "AHAM BRAHASMI" i.e. "THOU ART THAT". Until we realize this truth, we shall be getting the results of our actions back to us (good or bad). And one thing more, there is no one else who records our day to day karmas. Our Soul, which is within each of us and with whom we cannot hide anything is the recorder. Our Soul has the real hard disk which stores all this information. If you can hide of even one of your action from your own Soul, then you can escape that particular karma which you were able to hide. Otherwise, until you have'nt realized what you really are, continue to learn and learn and learn. Because learning will only help you who you really are.

10:38 AM  

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