Wednesday, 22 February, 2012

Karma - The First Law

You may or may not believe in the Hindu concept of Karma. You do good things and good things will happen to you, you do bad things, bad things will happen to you. The traditional Hindu concept goes more like if you do bad deeds you will be born as a lesser creature in your next life (an earthworm maybe). And if you save up enough good deeds, you will be able to escape from the tedious cycle of rebirth and death and your soul will be free. Though the thought is tempting, I think we can safely assume most of us are not going to do enough good deeds to become freely floating souls. So the compact version of the concept works pretty well. What goes around, comes around. Good things happen to good people. Because without this assurance, without this insurance against the cruelties of fate, we would never tread the straight and narrow path of good. You know for every factor in your environment which is in your control, there are 17 which are not. So you do your time, and leave the those 17 to the powers that be, the justice of the universe, god, spirit, whatever you want to call it. You see,when Hindus started talking about karma, they were basically stating the law of conservation of energy. It as provable and as logical as that. Energy can neither be created, nor destroyed. It can only be transformed from one form to another. Karmic chips can neither be created nor destroyed, they can only be transformed, from one form to another. At the end of the day, when you do something good ( and by that I don't mean charity or selfless service only, I mean something constructive), you convert the energy of the food you've eaten, the sun you soaked, the water you drank ( the vodka too) into good karma chips, which can be later cashed in ( transformed) into positive results you want. Similarly, when you do some thing destructive, please note, its destructive only if it was done out of malicious intent*, you transform your body-mind energy into bad karma chips and you never know when the universe will want to cash in those. So karma is not a boomerang, its just a practical illustration of the good old First Law.

* If you didn't have bad intentions when you acted, you cant be held responsible for the universe having screwed it up.

P.S. The title of the post reminds of the era in Hindi movies where all titles were single words followed by an English definition- Duad-the run, Zurm-the crime, Mard-the man,Jaal-the trap,etc etc.

After putting up this post, I got similar reactions from two of my friends. Things were not going so well for them at that time and the question was " What did I do do to deserve this? If your theory holds, I must have dome something downright awful for this to happen to me". I know both of them are wonderful people and they wouldn't hurt any one on purpose. So I am telling you what I told them. Sometimes, you get sucked into someone else's karmic cycle. Look at Sita (yes from the Ramayan). She got kidnapped, got false accused of sleeping with the enemy and her husband left her. She didn't do anything bad to deserve this fate. But that is what happened. She got sucked into Ravan's tale of karmic retribution. Shit happens. But don't worry.  I am sure the first law kicked in and she's in a very happy place right now sipping mocktails and enjoying the good life.

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