What Goes Around, Comes Back Around

Accounting for karma

“Karmanye Vadhikaraste, Ma phaleshou kada chana” is a very important verse in Gita that applies to all of us and not just Arjuna. The word “Karma” (Actions) has been a topic of study & research for sages & scholars since ages. When people think of karma, they immediately think of suffering. But! in simple words karma simply means action. Actions are seed, we sow them and every seed has its own potential, its own time to grow, and its own fruit to bear. Law of Karma refers to how we perform actions. For example if I am riding a bicycle with proper balance, I would enjoy it. But if I do not maintain proper balance, then I will fall down or meet with an accident. Hence actions are enjoyable according to what is my ability to perform it, what is my motive behind it, what are my feelings in it and how I react to certain situations. Actions are always being performed.

There are subtle actions and gross actions. Subtle actions are on the level of thinking; we let thoughts influence our feelings, attitudes and behavior. In silence, we may be criticizing others or feeling angry about something. These are also actions. So there are actions on the subtle level that have effect on our body as well as on our mind. It is important to know the laws of action(karma), as we know the laws of nature. When we know and follow the laws of
karma, we are free. If we violate these laws, we suffer. Just as, if we do not respect the laws of nature, if we think I, the soul, am a free and eternal being and we do not wear warm clothes when it is cold, then we would suffer for the disrespect shown to the nature.

We have a habit of blaming our karma for all our miseries. But karma does not mean bondage. If the right understanding is not there and if we do not follow the laws of karma, then it becomes bondage. When we follow the spiritual laws of karma, there is no bondage at all. There are three types of actions: instant, short-term and long-term karma. Sometimes
we perform actions and we get instant results. Sometimes, we continue to perform actions even when our conscience tells us that it is wrong but we don’t care. People get addicted to habits like smoking and drinking and enjoy it for many years but after some years the effects show & they end up suffering in hospitals. These are all short-term karmic results. Then there are long-term karma, where the person does not even remember the actions he has done for which he is getting the results(punishment) in the present. It is like when we sow seeds of flowers, vegetables and fruits in a garden. The flowers grow in a few weeks, the vegetables will grow in a few months and the fruits will take a few years to grow. In the same way, some of the karmic results that we enjoy or suffer in the present life are born from seeds that were sown many generations or lifetime ago.

There are times, when we feel that the good actions performed by us haven’t brought us any fruits. Remember! good karma is like a tree that does not bear instant fruit because its roots go deeper and bear multiple fruits in the long term. People feel that in today’s world, good people are suffering and bad people are enjoying themselves. God-fearing people who are afraid of performing bad actions seem to be suffering all the time and bad people performing all types of wrong deeds seem to be having no problems. Under such a situation, we blame God for this injustice. But God does not interfere in the laws of karma.

He just gives us wisdom and the power to face the situations. So what is crucial in every action is knowledge.

Supreme almighty is the ocean of knowledge. He explains us what should be the consciousness of a farmer(being). The land (the body) does not enjoy the fruit; i.e. matter does not suffer or enjoy the result of karma. We have to understand the effect that we allowed to happen, only then we would be free from bondage. Actions performed with understanding and with the power of purity, peace and positivity are good karma. These are actions performed in soul-consciousness, i.e. in the awareness that I the soul am performing actions through this body. Knowledge means performing actions with understanding, seeing their consequences on self and others. When we perform actions with this clarity, in a peaceful state of mind, then the actions are controlled. When purity is filled in it there is selflessness, there’s power in it. Such actions are called ‘Sukarma’
which are elevated, inspiring and enjoyable karma. When we are not conscious of the qualities of the soul, then selfish desires, jealousy, attachment and other inferior feelings motivate our actions. Such actions are called ‘Vikarma’ or vicious actions, which are born of ignorance and vices. The Supreme almighty has given us the scissors of knowledge to cut all our bondages. He tells us about the laws of karma. Hence when this realization comes that when I follow the laws of nature and spiritual laws whilst performing actions, then these actions are called neutral actions or natural karma. It means I enjoy the results of my actions while remaining detached; I do not get influenced by what I achieve. It is very much connected with the laws of nature. Remember! a tree never eats its own fruits; it just gives. Similarly elevated souls who are full of virtues and attainments, will always share their virtues with others without expecting anything in return.

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