How Karma Operates

Life is full of conditions, events and life situations that are hard to understand. Sages, philosophers and scientists have tried to find answers with varying results, and the answers found by one are not usually the same as those found by the others. Thus, there are often different streams of thought regarding the same subject such as what is the mind or the soul? Who or what is God? Why is there suffering when God is supposed to be loving and caring? Why is there sin and virtue, or other pairs of opposites? These are some of the questions many people ask. Is there any reasonable answer to them?

Scientists dealing with matter and energy can produce consistent results when they use the same materials, under the same conditions, but they cannot produce the same results when they deal with the mind, soul, God and all the different occurrences and inequalities in life. Study of these subjects fall in the realm of psychology, philosophy, religion and spirituality. These disciplines also do not provide good answers until they delve into the law of cause and effect or the law of karma. This law states simply that we reap what we sow. Since all people do not sow the same things in thoughts, words and deeds, they will not reap the same results. It has to be understood that the law of karma transcends birth and death, and goes along with the eternal soul in an astral form as samskars or latent impressions that will manifest during each lifetime. It is because of these samskars that we see all the variations in every aspect of peoples’ lives from conception to death.

Keeping the above in mind, if we wish good things to happen, we have to do good things. We cannot have anger, hate, greed, violence, egoism, lust, jealousy and evil intentions and expect good results. Yet all people expect good things to happen to them, even when they display all the bad and negative behaviour. It simply will not happen. So the violence occurring in the world simply feeds itself in a self-perpetuating manner, as does all negative activities. Good and positive activities will also perpetuate themselves. Bad things in the world will cease only when they are replaced with good, and sufficient time is allowed for the negative karmas to work themselves out in peoples’ lives. This may take several lifetimes, but the start has to be made, otherwise there will be no progress in the positive direction. The good must be in thoughts, words and deeds. It all boils down to the fact that good will not produce bad, and bad will not produce good.

Considering the above, how do we decide what is good and what is bad? Different people can have different interpretations of good and bad. We give “value”, whether negative of positive, to everything in life. Whatever brings happiness, comfort, self-esteem, respect, enjoyment and good health we say is good. Whatever brings suffering, stress, depression, anxiety and illness we say is bad. We mold our behaviour according to the “value” we give to things, and according to our behaviour, we reap the fitting results, good or bad.

How do we change our behaviour? First, we need to assess our actions in thoughts, words and deeds and decide if they are good or bad, and make the changes. This will require diligence and perseverance. Second, we need to seek the company of those who can guide us in the “good” direction. Third, we need to get in touch with the “source” of our being. That source is indescribably good, and has given the gift of life. That source is with us and within us.

Dr. J. Das
Guru Kabir Association