On Karma

Apart from God and next to Atman, Karma is the one principle/doctrine which has universal application (both secular and religious worlds).  Considering its relativistic, dynamic, multicentered nature, it is very difficult to give any simple answer to all the complicated questions related to it.  So leaving its doctrinal aspects in religious world and other values in secular world, for me two approach would help us to handle the issue for our need.

Without karma the entire cosmos cannot sustain.  Not a single fraction of a second can go without action (karma).  So no one can escape from its force.  Even to abandon any kind of karma to become an ‘akarmani’ (without karma) we need its very help.  And even if one manage to claim to attain the status of ‘karmaless’, for me itself is another form of karma.

Once we realize this to overcome certain problems related with karma lies in our approach in handling it.  When we work for our survival, then most of the time it become a non-issue or unavoidable.  So whether we like it or not we have to face it.  But when we need to work for others, then all the complications creep and affect our relationship with everyone—God, human and nature.  And the one simple solution that could help to resolve most of the complication is to approach all our karma for others as a ‘seva’.  This will help karma as a joyful event than mere burden.  Otherwise, if we approach all our work for others will become intolerable burden resulting in strained relationship with oneself first, then with others next and finally with God and nature.

The next crucial issue related to karma is about a question ‘why’?  Why that person, in spite doing all kinds of wrong karma still has a happy life whereas, in spite of good works others suffer.  Though this question is a complicated one related with religious doctrines like rebirth and theodicy, yet my solution to this is like this:  Such questions more reflects our attitude towards that person than raising a genuine question seeking a true answer.  Most of the times such questions are asked either to justify our action or out of jealousy or to console ourselves.  Only when we are affected by someway negatively either by our karma or by others, then this ‘why’ question comes.  Otherwise, under the burden of our regular karmas we have no time even to think about it.


Dayanand Bharati, Gurukulam, February 21, 2012