How many times have you heard someone say, “What goes around comes around?” Karma is the principle that is epitomised by the unwritten law of life that for every action there is a reaction. Have you ever realised that if you do evil there seems to be a way through which evil comes back to you? Let’s put it another way. Do you know that when you do good, good things happen to you even if it is not immediate?
Karma is a Sanskrit word that means word, action and deed. But there is more to this term.
To understand Karma more, let us delve into more examples. Chickens love eating insects like ants. It is part of the chicken’s food. But notice that the remains of a dead chicken are eaten by ants. Wood from trees is the raw materials for making a matchstick. But you must be aware that one matchstick can burn an entire forest.
Have you ever heard of a driver who cuts off other people in traffic or overlaps only to cause an accident? This accident means that all the hurry has now come to a stop and instead of arriving at his destination this driver spends that night in a police cell, a hospital bed or a morgue. This is karma acting in the here and now. There are many examples that we can site, but those ones will suffice for now.
The most important thing is for you to get the drift. Karma is a power that you cannot see but it ensures that every action or thought is reflected back. It is like an echo which comes back to you. Sorry, I had stopped giving examples but could not resist this one. Karma is in simpler terms the law of cause and effect. Whatever you do comes back to you in a different way.
The Law Of Karma?
It is important to emphasise that the law of Karma is universal and cannot be broken. It does not depend on you. Karma will happen whether you want it or not. It does not matter whether you know it or not. You don’t have to love or hate karma for it to work in your life. It is like the law of gravity. You cannot claim don’t believe it exists and then jump from the roof of a skyscraper expecting you will not be hurt or die. Try it and the morgue will be your next destination; a place where you cannot question your beliefs or change them.
Secondly, everything that happens to you is deserved. I know you are fond of blaming others for your mistakes – pardon me if you don’t. But the truth is that you are the architect of your fate. Your misfortune and happiness are just part of your karma. You are in your current state because you caused it. That friend you put in trouble may suffer for the time being, but sooner or later you will find yourself in the same situation. Nothing happens by mistake. You plan it, whether consciously or unconsciously.
Thirdly, everything you go through, the thoughts, the feelings, everything, is specifically for you. Karma demands that you learn from your experiences. Since your current situation is a result of your past decisions and actions, you need to learn to do good and stop being evil. While you may be happy today, tomorrow you have to pay for your past mistakes. The only way to avoid this kind of a misfortune is to live today in a manner that you don’t regret what will happen to you tomorrow.
It is evident, therefore, that you are not fated. Rather, you set your own fate. You have the gift of free will or freedom of choice. You can decide to live honourably or commit atrocities that will come to haunt you later. Nobody has written your future or determined it. You create your tomorrow as you go about today and as you interact with other human beings. Every day you have the opportunity to change your future and to avert bad karma.
Despite this, whatever has been done in the past cannot be undone. You have to experience your share of good or bad karma. The most important thing is for you to learn from what you are going through. When you put your hand into red hot coal, you will get burned. It would be foolhardy for you to be burned again since you should have learned that hot coal can burn your hands. Karma demands that you change your future by learning from the present.
The Role Of Intentions In Karma
It is not possible to talk about karma without mentioning or discussing intentions. Karma is a creation of intention. Most of the evil or good we do is well-thought out. You take time and ponder on what you want to do and the effect it will have on the other person. Once you are convinced that your actions will have the desired good or bad effect, you launch your weapons. Whatever happens, you are creating good of bad karma for yourself and it will surely come to pass.
Does that sound like the couple you caused to separate by spreading malicious rumours and gossip? Wait for your time because karma does not fail. Remember that time you made someone to lose a job by creating the impression that they were not trustworthy? How about the day you laughed at that sick old lady? Isn’t it you who toasted to the collapse of another person’s business? Well, it won’t take long before your bad karma pays you a visit!
What If I Harm A Person Unintentionally?
Karma is born of intention. Where there is no intention to harm, karma will not be unfair to you and inflict punishment. I am saying this because many of us commit mistakes without intending and then fear that bad karma will come our way. Karma scholars hold that where there is no intention, karma is absent. You don’t have to worry. Perhaps you should just perform good deeds to the person you harmed without intention as this will attract good karma.
But I Know Some Evil People Who Never Experience Bad Karma, You Say.
I know them too. I am talking about the relatives who steal from orphaned children – depriving the destitute of their inheritance. I know the politician who murders competitors and instigates violence in order to win a political seat. I know you are aware of the drug load who continues to thrive while the poor people who buy his evil merchandise wallow in addition, poverty and death. There is also your sadist neighbour who will do or say anything simply to see that you are in trouble and suffering. The list is endless.
Don’t despair though; karma does not forget. It is a universal law that cannot be bent. Evil people cannot escape punishment. Their fate may delay, but is will surely come, most likely with vengeance. Karma does not move in a straight line; nor is it subject to our ways of reasoning. Even when people appear to enjoy destroying the lives of others, karma is still lurking in the background, waiting to pounce.
If you have been a keen observer you will have realised that the children of criminals almost automatically become criminals. I read about one of the sons of former Libyan dictator Muammar Gadhafi being sentenced to death by a court in that country. When he and his father were running the show and killing with impunity, they would never have thought that a day would come when someone else would rule Libya and condemn the Gadhafis to death. For decades, this family strangled Libya with impunity. The Libyan people would not have understood or appreciated karma then. Today you can be sure they understand that evil will never go unpunished.
Is Karma A Religion?
Although karma is about ethics and morality, it is not a religion. Karma is not about a god who controls what people do or don’t do. It does not emanate from a supernatural being. Karma is a rule of life and existence. Think about it this way: the law of gravity controls objects in space and on earth without fail. Similarly, karma is the law that controls the spiritual world, the realm of the unseen.
I needed to emphasise this because they are many people who believe that karma is about Hinduism. That said, karma does share some beliefs with oriental religion. For example, karma is about reincarnation. This is the belief that people never die, at least not the soul. After your die, you will continue to exist in a different form and your karma follows you in your reincarnated body. In the same way, your actions come back from the dead, as it were, to haunt you.
It is possible that you understand why some oriental religions advocate for animal rights and adherents practice veganism or vegetarianism. Apparently it is because of the belief that the animal you have in your compound is actually a reincarnated human being who, from his or her action in the previous human life, deserved, through karma, to be reborn as an animal! If you mistreat that animal, karma will catch up with you and you might as well be born a dog in your next life! Wow! That is powerful!
I know I am digressing, but this is important for you to understand the extent to which karmic teachings are entrenched in oriental religions. That goes to show the powerful nature of karma and the fact that we live in an interconnected and never-ending universe where karma will never let you off the hook. If it can haunt you in death, how can you avoid karma when you are walking on the face of the earth?
Are Words Also Subjected To Karmic Law?
Words are powerful tools through which we create reality. Whatever you convince your mind through your words that you can do, you will. Words are also born from intention. The heart and mind ponder what to say before you say it. Consequently, like actions, your words cannot avoid the law of karma. When you pass judgment upon others expect to be judged by the same standard.
Beware of your words when calling people lazy, fat, arrogant, silly and many other negative terms. Time will come for the same words to be used on you. Instead of unfairly criticising people, seek to understand why they behave the way they do. Before you say any words that are unfair to others, think about the type of karma that will result. Remember you did not create anybody and have no justification to call anyone ugly or foolish. If you do, your bad karma will surely catch up with you one day.
Is Karma Reversible?
No and Yes! No because once you have committed a felony, your punishment will come after you without fail. Remember it is a law that cannot be broken and it does not play favourites. However, karma can be reversed by learning from it. By this I mean that once you get your fair share of bad karma, you need to learn and practice good deeds so that you attract good karma.
The universe understands your feelings when you agonise over thoughts or actions that invited bad karma. It cooperates with you as you change your behaviour towards those you may have hurt. It helps you to change your bad habits in order to avert bad karma. As you seek for forgiveness from those who have suffered from your unfair actions, you will begin to feel more at home with yourself and good karma will be you reward.
You cannot live on earth and assume that your good or bad actions happen in a vacuum. Karma exists to remind us that we have to be kind, generous and understanding with fellow human beings. You have had your fair share of bad karma, but you can change your life and enjoy more of good karma by beginning to behave responsibly today. Remember karma is real and active, whether you believe it or not.
Your Grace Guru