The Theory of Karma

In India, karma is a term you cannot avoid forgetting, and anyone who has gone into some depth of studying on the subject, is likely to sight easy logic behind the theory of karma. From my own experience, I feel: if a person begins to develop the awareness of the role of karma in life, he may gradually progress converting his performance of mere rituals to actual goals: thereby, gaining righteous results in his daily life.

What is karma? In Hindu / Buddhist philosophy, the name is given to results of action, especially, the cumulative results of a person’s deeds in one stage of his existence as controlling his destiny in the next. Among Theosophists, the word has the rather wider meaning of an unbroken sequence of cause and effect – each effect being in its turn, the cause of a subsequent effect. In other words: Our present lives are reminders of our past deeds, and how we conduct ourselves in this life will be inherited by us in our next lives.

Have you heard these common phrases? Wah! meri achhi kismet – wow! My good fate. In a briefer explanation: How else does this happen? Good fate comes through good actions. Hai! meri phooti kismet – oh! My broken fate. Sure! Broken fate points to the results of bad conduct… and this is how the theory of karma grows by itself. It is more than apparent – God has bestowed upon all of us: Free will. Our own karmic consequences will shape our destiny, accordingly. Kismet is the other name given to destiny.

As reality goes – our world consists of parents, husband, wife, children, friends and so on. Principally, in the thoughts of all of us is peace and progress to be achieved: by the way of rearing families in a well-mannered way; earning steady promotions in work; and striving for continuous advancement in our personal lives.

Some individuals will also be seeking the ways of spirituality. So, a guided insight shows us, every individual becomes different from the other, sometimes like day and night. Easily, we find cases where some live well, others die frustrated; and repeatedly you have heard families narrating in funniness, or with practised matter-of-fact understanding – how different each child of theirs is!

Why go far? A sibling from a sibling can see the predestined and incurable differences! “You know, my brother and my sister are both so different from me, though, we lived under the same roof, got the same care and attention, same opportunities, from the same parents.” Pause. Think. Your half-empty doubts will start to fill up with grasping reason. Three siblings raised side by side in similar background, and they are poles apart in so many ways! Are they? Yes, they are. This is a very common recurrence! Pause. Think. In the same environment, one of the kids has thrived and rejoiced in the advantages of her birth; the other two have remained a picture of grudges and dependence. One of them even forbids affection, emphasizing remoteness. Tch… Tch… Tch… What happened, here? Partly, the effect of past actions happened here, and partly, the effect of the present actions are also hoisting their consequences. It is similar to a chain’s link. This kind of a looming upheaval should surely not be a ‘deserved’ prospect of the intelligent, unselfish and devoted parents. But it is, so... the prospect does loom with utter injustice. Pause. Think. Is the enigma beginning to fade? Perhaps, the enigma is clearing up… at least for me. I believe there is the effect of past actions which influence our present birth. Of course, the effect of our day-to-day life will also play a prominent role in shaping our destiny.

It is possible, to some individuals, the theory of karma may look like a new species of truth. I feel, if we can fetch its meaning with understanding, then we will become more positive, rational and cautious, while judging others and ourselves. Furthermore, we will lessen to despair – hysterically. We will lead with fairness and confidence our conduct and judgements. We will rise better to face challenges. How? Possibly, by realizing the real meaning of our karmas and their lasting effects.

I have cultivated the habit of reminding myself with these words: ‘You are the director-actor-producer team of your life’s film. With prolonged sincerity and good thought: make the clips of your production. Articulate your dialogues with sweet, intelligent words; faithfully judge your own actions, before you judge others; deliver your part with strength. Be resolute. As a useful actor in all your missions – hold your utterances in difficult times, with grace and tolerance.’ (Trust me, it’s not easy!)

But you got to keep trying. I am convinced that this piece of training is not only going to influence my present life, but, its caliber will shape my next life. I can happily admit, this sequence of thinking has helped me to win a self-contained fulfillment. I may not have succeeded every time – but, at least, I have succeeded: sometimes! Collectively, all this works in such rhythmic measures that the good spirit of thoughts and actions…their flow… has become a matter of habit. I am aware that I’m getting better and better. The quality of my life keeps improving….

Even today – the bliss or, curse of karma is commonly observed in India. I think, it is imbedded in our Indian culture. As a child: with an excitement not to be contained, I would ask my mother and grandmother, impish questions on who would be carried off by the demons and who could sachhi muchhi — truly, truly get to live in the castle of the pretty dancing fairies, forever. Between our patent dialogue of: “Tell me more! Tell me more!” followed by, “Go away, no more!” the enchanting renderings by my elders, only added more magic to our interactive threads (they were long and many!) of conversation.

Upon the steps of our verandah, I would sit with eager ears and wide-open eyes, drawing nearer and nearer to my mother – resting my head on her lap. Closer to my heart-breaking cries, I could not dispel the sufferings of our mali’s — gardener’s young wife, who was blind. Somewhere… from the sky… she had been commanded never to seek the power of even seeing the glimmer of a sunset! Why?

Oh! It was karma… I knew for sure. Also, when our black cocker-spaniel, Jack, died by the accident of drowning in a nehar — water-canal, I had made up for my fixed silent grief: telling myself that now Jack was a very fair, handsome prince in Valait — England. The plump coal-coloured doggie, had he not been a picture of perfection while he had lived! He has been an angel… a perfect angel even with the crows and cats and squirrels! Therefore, the spaniel had to be transported to the ultimate place, and in the ultimate form – he had to be a very fair, handsome prince taking his new birth in Valait… such a fulsome subject for a nine-year-old girl’s imaginary dreams!

And now, in my age of life, the value of my own experiences points to the massive role of karma. Much of my own journey explains by its own relevance: The Theory of Karma to me. Identifying myself as a believer in karma’s doctrine, I resurrected my thoughts in a poem, The Legend of Karma. The verse also raises flash-backs of my long time ago: childhood-influences.

To view the poem, kindly click on the link below:

Geeta Chhabra

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