The Law of Karma
Whenever we come across a difficult situation in our life, we often complain
- "God, why this is happening only to me? Why I am alone suffering from this
pain?" See the funny part. We never ask such questions when we are happy! We
never say - "God, why I am happy? or why I am alone getting this happiness?".
What we are today is the result of our past Karma (actions or deeds)
and what we are going to be tomorrow is also decided by our Karma today.
This Law of Karma is ever at work. If you do some Karma you are going to get its
fruit. Our Karma creates cycle of birth and death. Karma can be burnt only by
experiencing their results. They can not be skipped. Some people say that we are
bound by our "fate" or "luck". However, in reality there is nothing called fate
or luck. Everything is the outcome of our past and present Karmas.
Some people do not believe in reincarnation. They say that the current life
is what to be enjoyed. Who knows about past lives and future lives? However this
argument can not explain the contrast in our lives. We often see people who do
good to others but themselves suffer from great pains. Why are two children of
the same mother are so different? One brilliant and the other dull? Why is that
one is stronger than other? Why there is so much inequalities in the society?
One can not answer these questions without Law of Karma and theory of
The fact that our life is governed by our Karma is a great relief to all of
us. This is so because we can control our Karma which in turn will control our
life. If you do good today you will get pleasurable fruits whereas your wrong
deeds give you sorrow.
Though the fruits of Karma are pleasurable or full of sorrow, a Yogi
renounces from both. You may wonder as to why a Yogi rejects pleasurable results
of his Karma. He does so because he knows for sure that when you enjoy happiness
you get a free gift of sorrow. It is impossible that one enjoys only happiness
and no sorrow at all. Similarly it is not possible that one gets only sufferings
and no happiness at all. For example, if you study hard for your examination you
are bound to get good marks. The preparation might be tough. You possibly need
to give up watching your favorite television serial. You may need to study till
late nights. But all this "pain" gives you "happiness" in terms of good marks.
Let's take another example. You like sweets and can not control yourself when
somebody offers them. However you are a diabetes patient. After eating sweets
your blood sugar increases and you start feeling uncomfortable. That means
"pleasure" of eating sweets gave you "sorrow" in terms of increased blood sugar.
You will find the same thing happening in every sphere of life. Where there is
happiness there must be sorrow and vice versa.
If happiness and sorrow go hand in hand then how to deal with life? Yogis
advice that sorrow that has not yet come should be avoided. For example, if you
know that eating spicy food is going to give you gases you must avoid eating
such food. This requires control on your mind and that is what Kriya Yoga
teaches you. When you learn to see "future" sorrow then you automatically avoid
the root cause. When you avoid buying a costly necklace you instantly become
from the sorrow arising out of its theft. Thus the only way to avoid sorrow is
to avoid happiness also. The thought of avoiding happiness may sound strange to
you. For most of the people lack of happiness is equal to presence of sorrow.
But that is not true. A mind controlled by Yogic techniques remains in
equilibrium at all times and Meditation is the key to achieve such equilibrium.
Karma is born whenever there is union of seer and the seen. Seer refers to
the "observer" or "Atman" that has trapped into this body. Seen refers to the
external world. Seen doesn't mean only visible objects but everything that can
be "experienced" by sense organs. We experience the world not just when we are
awake but also when we are dreaming. When we experience this world the seer
identifies itself with the objects being experienced. Thus there is union
between the subject(seer) and the object (seen). This union is the root cause of
Every objects in this world consists of five great elements viz. earth,
water, fire, air and space. It also bears threefold qualities or gunas viz.
Tamas, Rajas and Sattwa. Tamasic qualities are represented by inertia, laziness
and inaction. Rajasic qualities are represented by constant action whereas
Sattwic qualities are represented by knowledge. Thus our Karmas are also tamasic,
rajasic or sattwic in nature.
The Atman is nothing but pure consciousness. However, it experiences
this world through mind. Note that mere body can not give you any experience.
Let's take a simple example. Suppose that you are standing near a window and
looking towards a lake. How you see the lake? First your sense organs (eyes in
this case) gather the information about the lake and convey it to sensory
nervous system. The sensory nervous system and mind then sends them to brain.
The brain then creates the image of the lake. This image is then "seen" by the
eyes. Thus mere body can not experience anything. It is the mind that is
responsible for experiencing anything. Now you can understand why Kriya Yoga
gives so much emphasis on controlling mind.
If we want to avoid union of Atman and Maya we must stop the seer from
experiencing this world. In other words we must dissolve our mind. This can be
explained like this:
- Atman is pure consciousness
- Atman unites with the objects in this world and experiences them
- To experience them Atman uses a vehicle called mind
- These experiences give rise to Karma
- Maya is the cause of union between Atman and the external world
- To liberate the Atman one must overcome the influence of Maya
- Since Atman experiences this world via mind, if mind is restrained from
taking any experiences then automatically Atman will remain in un-united
- Thus controlling the mind gives you freedom from Maya
- One can not directly destroy Maya. So Yogis take another route. They
dissolve the mind which is must for Maya to play her tricks.