Law of Karma is quintessentially the discovery and gift of Indian Spiritual traditions – collectively called as Sanatana Dharma. Much before any other religion had even been conceived, the Sages of India knew of the how Action, Result and Reaction chain worked in a being’s life and beyond. One’s action and the results one came face to face with were connected. How, one didn’t knew except for the deep dimensional understanding of how this cosmic law worked and how it could be handled. Many ways were worked out, many paths were experimented with to handle the Karmic burden. Numerous ways were found to reduce the Karmic structure and indeed to do away with it.
The goal was – to do one’s Karma without the consequent result. That was the end of cycle.
More importantly, the Karmic manifestation of result, Sages learnt and articulated, had nothing to do with material world and its definition of success, failure, good, bad, rich or poor. The play occured in a dimension beyond physical, with ramifications on the physical plane. if a Karmic structure (also called Soul by some) had a certain Karmic predominance, the subsequent birth was to provide the best opportunity to shed it, if one was aware of the possibility. So, if you find yourself with an abusive spouse, a lousy boss, and a life of penury, it still is your best chance of reducing your specific burden. The math was never about giving you the best material comfort. It is like a Minimizing algorithm with the variable being one’s own awareness.
But this algorithmic execution of the Karmic Law is not a dispensation of someone sitting “up there”. For, there is no intervention. Every gift that comes one’s way – including a Guru’s Grace – is really the Grace of one’s own consciousness. Not until you have reached a certain consciousness will you encounter a situation which takes you to the next level – materially or Spiritually. The non-physical mechanism and intelligence of the law’s execution has also been seen to be synonymous with God/Creator itself. The law, the legislative, and the judged are all one. One’s own efforts – Purushartha – is the only thing that is the driving force in this cycle and its termination. Any outside and active intervention would render the Law of Karma totally untenable.
Many in today’s world suggest that “Sow and you shall reap” (from Bible) reflects the Law of Karma, albeit in English. Nothing could be further from truth.
The singular goal of a Spiritual seeker is to “Sow and NEVER Reap”. For reaping is not a great thing. As Shri Krishna asserts to Arjun in the second chapter. Being attached to even goodness is unworthy of a Spiritual seeker, for such a person is never liberated. He is stuck to his idea of good.
There are two parts to the damning impact of Karma. One, the very relationship between the Situation you face (results of past Karma) and your Action (in reality it is reaction to the result) is a relationship that is burnt in the Software of your Karmic Structure. This relationship plays out every time you come face to face with the situation. Acting based on only what is required in a situation without any regard for your past conditioning in the Karmic Structure (software/relationship built in) is the greatest liberation. Such a person can take any action without any regard to the past or the conditioning of oneself and others around him.
Two, the relationship between one’s action and its interaction with the Karmic Structures of others who are impacted. That impact circles back in enhanced and pronounced interaction in future. In this birth and others.
The first one is the only area of action that one has. The second area is where the challenge comes from most.
“Sow and you shall Reap” suggests a very linear and interventionist process. If you Sow “good” you will Reap “Good”, if you Sow “bad” you will reap “Bad”. Because after all someone out there is going to make sure you do get to reap what you sowed.
Karmic law has nothing to do with “Good”, “Bad”, or “Ugly”. All these are attributes of the physical domain. And the relationship between the non-physical rendering of the Karmic law and its physical manifestation is not quite so straight. Being pushed out by one’s wife in the middle of the night can take one beyond to Liberation (Tulsidas) or it can lead to one murdering her and getting further in the Karmic burden. There was nothing “Good” or “Bad” about the wife’s reaction to a passionate Tulsidas’ love for her. It was the right thing for him. Which worked because he was in a state of awareness.
“Sow and you shall reap” is a statement of revenge. An interventionist force (called God) which pays you in the same coin as you paid out in is vengeful creature. Manifestation of Karmic Law is NOT to punish or to “give a lesson” or “reward” someone, but to Liberate the doer from his doing. Karmic Law’s only goal is to reduce the Karmic burden of the doer through awareness. If one is aware, and can use the situation in which one is put, then the very Karmic Structure can be dismantled.
Another misconception – there is no relationship between Length of time taken to reduce the Karmic Structure and the “Quantum” of it. Only awareness and the length of time take to finish the karmic structure are related. If one is aware, it won’t take long.
It is a natural law not one out of revenge. Just like Earth doesn’t become a desert because it wants to teach inhabitants of an area a lesson in morality. But because they have ripped it off its tree cover.
And that is the last important point. “Sow and you shall Reap” is Moralistic. Karmic Law is not. Karma has nothing to do with Moral. In fact Moralistic people can NEVER EVER transcend Karma. Such people are so badly stuck in Karmic Structure that they cannot even find the way out and don’t even feel they need to do anything different. For, they are “Good”, by their definition. And that is driving every action of theirs. Calibrated carefully, without regard to the moment at hand. There is no freedom in morals. Only slavery. Of a kind that has no deliverance. For you aren’t free and you think you are so Good, you don’t even need to do anything different. As Shri Krishna asserted – such people will come back again and again, after the pleasantness (swarg) of their Sattvikta (which pleasant living and state that is in tune with nature and NOT “Good” deeds) has been exhausted. The equation of pleasantness from the current state will manifest in pleasant states of here and beyond. But that is not freedom either.
Now, being Good and expecting Good, is not even Sattvikta – for, Sattvikta is in living in tune with nature. It is being petty, albeit Moralistically Petty.
If one is to look carefully, then one comes across following distinct levels:
- Karmic Law – which looks for Liberation
- Sattvikta – which looks for pleasantness now and beyond
- “Sow and you shall reap” – which looks for paybacks.
The moralistic “Sow and you shall reap” statement has not only nothing to do with Law of Karma, but it is indeed the lowest way to live.
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