Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Is there really a Karma system ?

Again its been days since i have posted a blog, I have been reading J Krishnamurthi's books and am totally enjoying it. I will write a detailed blog about him.

But for now this question - 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 has 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.


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!

26 October, 2005 13:33  
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

26 October, 2005 13:39  
Blogger Aatma said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

26 October, 2005 16:44  
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

26 October, 2005 16:49  
Blogger Venkat said...

"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 agree with this Aatma, I think God is concerned with us as person in complete. While we connect to God through spiritual ways only, I think God connects to us in many many ways. And some of those ways maybe at school, college, office. It maybe at related to money and so on.

I am not a big fan of the "punya" "paavam" system but I can see where the guys who believe it are coming from.

Again, this is a great blog post and thanks for making me think. It is great you are writing such thought provoking and well constructed posts. Keep it up.

26 October, 2005 19:27  
Blogger Viji said...

Great post. I totally agree with you. I don't believe in karma. But, I don't believe in re-birth too. We have the good,the bad and the ugly[:)] in us intrinsically and that does not reflect in what we get in the next birth or even in this birth. I've seen dumb people succeed in life... is it because of their previous birth's accumulation of good deeds? Definitely not... its just sheer dumb(?!) luck. I've also seen good people suffer, unconditionally.
Thats the greatest mystery surrounding us...

26 October, 2005 20:41  
Blogger Aatma said...

Venkat thats where we both differ - see the problem with that train of thought is - we believe that we are living in a materialistic realm - all religions atleast to the extent that i believe is that we are supposed to move above this realm and become spirtual - in short disconnect ourselves from money, fame, power, glory, college, etc, etc ... On one hand we say that we have to disconnect from all this and on the other hand we ask for the same thing from God - doesn't make sense right ;)

26 October, 2005 21:59  
Blogger Aatma said...

Thanks Viji, you are the first person to agree with me :)

That's what i am trying to do - trying to figure out this mystery

26 October, 2005 22:03  
Blogger Parvati said...

@aatma, viji: You are right. Karma as explained by - you are good in yr previous births, then as a toffee/sop to your good action, you lead a good life seems a lot of nonsense; people safely take the excuse of previous births when they are unable to see the logic working in this present life - as viji says, good people suffer endlessly etc.

But all of you are wrong in understanding of karma - good karma leads to good effect, but not necessarily to the person who does the good karma; to someone else, it is a chain reaction, not a closed/bounded world where I do a good act and I get something good/gift/award/reward for it.

Good in the world, good done in the world leads to good in the world. That is the only cause and effect or karma that I see.

As to the never stopping questions of why a new born girl child is killed, or small small children sexually abused by their own parents etc., now by my definition of Karma, the bad karma/action of the parents lead to a bad/horrible effect on another element of this earth the baby.

As to Aatma's contention that God is only involved with our spiritual life and not our daytoday normal life -

To all this my view is that there are all these levels in life, with an ascending order of consciousness. And the more consciousness is there in a particular level, the more the power to change, transform things, situations etc is there and more capacity for joy/ananda is there. Or rather to mitigate suffering is there. - Body, life, mind, and also the soul, which is the pure Divine/God in a human being.

The Body, being the least conscious has almost unbelievable capacity to experience pain, it has been battered over the centuries by death, disease you name it. And the condition of the rest of us is only slightly better.

Now for the soul. An average human being is completely unaware of this soul inside him. We can perceive our body, life force/vitality, our emotions, our thoughts well enough, but we have no idea of our soul or our true self as it were.

An example of a normal human being shows him to be a pot pourri of all these parts in him. A little bit of domination by the body's wants, a complete slave we are of our body's needs for food, clothing and shelter, sometimes our emotions rule the roost, at other times our anger, our happiness, our sense of ambition, our lust for money, jealousy, generosity, kindness compassion - the list is endless. All these things are the leader at times. Now for the mind - it is the best faculty we have, and except for scientists or mathematicians, a very small part only is used in daily life by others. A person who uses his mind consistently over and above his emotions or cravings, has a better control over his life.

Why am I talking about all this? - it is logical that so long as I dont involve God in my daily life, God's involvement is not obvious. You will not see His influence, His touch anywhere, because you havent developed in you the capacity to see Him.

So long as the above mentioned levels in me are the only ones functioning in me, I am aware of only their awarenesses. For example, the body will never understand the special theory of relativity or the Morpheus' ring/transformation. Similarly your vitality full of energy will not understand the body's affection and tendency to laziness and inactivity so on and so forth. The human being dominated by the body, will be completely caught up in the body's characteristic attitudes, similarly the scientist will be caught up in his mind, he will be ruminative, analytical, accept only what his logic sees as truth, his reason reaches as conclusions.

These faculties of man as they are, do not have the ingredient to perceive God. God might be totally and incredibly involved in your child'd first tooth, or your wife's first brownie baking - but you cannot see Him because you are not in contact with your soul that sees God. You donot have the eye to see Him anywhere. You havent educated your body, nor your heart, nor yr vitality nor your mind to be able to see God at all.

Just as your mind needs a massive thorough education for 12-14 years before having the capacity to understand Einstein's work, so is the need for the mind and the rest of you to connect with your soul, which being itself God, knows Him clearly, sees Him whether He is covert or overt.

Paambin Kaal Paambarriyum. Like knows like - only the Divine knows the Divine.

Otherwise God can scream in your face, and you will not know Him.

He is involved in everything, Aatma, but maybe when you are totally involved with him as in your sadhana, then you manage to feel His Hand in you; and hence maybe you have concluded that He is not interested in anything except your spiritual life.

As things are now, the soul is a slave of the body etc, and doesnt have any power, once we find the soul and are influenced/moved by it and it becomes the master of the body, life and mind, then and only then you will find the harmony, justice, peace and joy that is the birthright of everyone, see everything in this world is God, even the bad, and when you see that, you also get the power to transform the bad into permanent good.

Till then it will always be a lot of ill action leading to ill effects of horror and injustice. Because it will be the lower hemisphere of our body, life and mind that will be calling the shots , with all their plus points and negatives.

We have to make the Soul, Atman the Master, allow the Spirit to do its work, then we can see what a difference it makes to our lives.

Anyone who treads the spiritual path will smother you with stories of the concrete PResence of God, His influence, His touch, His complete taking over of situations as mundane as finding a good job, finding the right spouse, cooking just the perfect saambar or rasam or vendaikaai/okhra curry.

"The hand that sent Jupiter spinning through Heaven,
Spends all its cunning to fashion a curl."

- the smallest, most trivial, and the largest and most awesome - everything holds Him securely in itself, as itself.

That is what enables everything to exist.

He is in everything, He is everything - and it is for you to discover Him.

It gets more and more interesting believe me!

26 October, 2005 23:59  
Blogger Parvati said...

@aatma: 'Nyabangal'?? Such a word doesnt exist in Tamil at least..

Do change it to 'Nyabagangal' or 'Nyabagam'!

27 October, 2005 00:02  
Blogger Parvati said...

@aatma: Your blog is makes very good reading.


27 October, 2005 00:07  
Blogger Parvati said...

oops! That should read "your blog makes very good reading"

27 October, 2005 01:41  
Blogger Aatma said...

Thanks Parvati, it was an inspiring comment and i agree with you completely - As you said and its quite natural - you do good to one, naturally it is a carry on process - same for the bad - what i am trying to tackle here is the concept that has been ingrained into our heads - you do good then u get punyas and u do bad then paaps and all this is accounted.

And I see God in everything i do - the way i have seen it my success has always been attributed to him and my failures are my fallacy.

But of late there is a strong urge to know about his role in our life - if as you say he was present in our day to day activities then why is there so much pain out in this world - How can i explain to child dying in hunger that there is God waiting to take care of you - some of us are fortunate that we have had a good home - so we are well settled in life - but what about kids in somalia, what about people dying due to Genocide in Africa - u know i can keep listing out incidents after incidents -- these are the reasons which lead me to believe otherwise.

I am not denying the existence of God - me of all the people can't - I have felt the presence - i have felt the influence - today whatever i am and the person i am is because of his influence.

My quest is to find an answer for those questions - at present the solution that i came up with - makes the most sense to me

27 October, 2005 10:55  
Blogger Aatma said...

Sorry about the name Parvati - bombay boy so my knowledge of tamil is lighta weak - as you can see - the problem now is everyone knows the blog by the name Nyabangal- so don't want to change it ;)

27 October, 2005 11:06  
Blogger Ambi said...

Swami Sugabodhananda narrated a beautiful (real?)Story about karma when he visited Bay area recently:

Once upon a time there was a man who never believed in karma and he wanted to prove his point. He said, “I am not going to eat and let me see whether my karma forces me to eat”. So he went inside the forest and hid himself on the top of a tree. Incidentally, a gang of thieves with a bag full of stolen jewels came and settled down at the bottom of the tree. Since they were very tired, they started eating their food. All of a sudden, the thieves heard some noise and fearing for their lives, they ran away leaving behind their food and the stolen jewels. The noise was due to the hunters who have come a long way looking for food. Looking at the uneaten food lying under the tree, they stopped. They were surprised again when they saw a big loot of jewelry lying next to the food. They were thinking, “Who in the world will leave the food and as well as the jewels”? When one of them tried to go and start eating the food, the chief of the gang stopped him.
“Why some one leaves this jewelry and food? The food may be poisoned”. So, he ordered his members to look for people hiding around that area. Someone looked up at the tree and saw this man sitting and watching them from the top. The chief ordered him to come down and started questioning him. Whatever that man told was not convincing to the hunters.

So the chief decided, “You eat the food first. If you are OK, we will eat”.

So the poor man’s karma played again! If he is destined to eat, he will be forced to eat even if he did not want to!

27 October, 2005 18:05  
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

28 October, 2005 02:16  
Blogger Aatma said...

A nice story Ambi - but unfortunately doesn't answer my question - the problem is for ages we have given such smart answers but never tried to answer the real questions - We are always trying to evade it - No one is ready to face it - I want you to think, think on what i said - remove all the preconcieved notions that u have and come up with a practical answer. If you can do that, then u will know how difficult this question is

28 October, 2005 10:27  
Blogger Aatma said...

Agree with you Sumon - compeletely agree with you on this one

28 October, 2005 10:28  
Blogger Jeevan said...

We, humans are responsible for every thing what happens in world. some of them do some wrong thing and ask god to help them, there is no karma in the world.

29 October, 2005 04:23  
Blogger Arjuna_Speaks said...

Aatma - I will reply to u soon on this :)

Sumon - dude - u do love ASSes - dont u :))

29 October, 2005 09:36  
Blogger Blogging One's Own Trinkets said...

You try becoming Gandhi. You get the answer. The answer to your question, to my question, and to our question.
A divine coincidence, I discussed the same issue with a friend two days back, and with my wife at tea, this morning.
(You don't mind getting back on this, if you propose to get back, on my blogspot?)

08 May, 2006 22:18  

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