(Part of this was posted previously about karma. Here it is a continuation of a series.)
TEACHING OF THE MASTERS #5
Apart from the more metaphysical and transcendental subjects discussed previously, we would now look at a subject touching all of us all the time. Whether we choose to ignore it or pay attention to it is our choice. This is the Law of Karma. We would need to refer to the previous discussions from time to time to make a “rounded” whole of spirituality if, perchance, such a whole is possible. The Masters have laid a great emphasis on Karma, as we all know, that as we sow that is what we would reap. Guru Kabir said, “ped bowai babul ka, toh am kahan se hoi” (If you plant the thorny acacia tree how can you reap mangoes). This is also a scientific law that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. Now let us look at karma and how it 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 mould 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 necessary 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 within each of us, but in order to tap into it we need to do a sincere and meaningful introspection. We would then begin to grasp the teaching of the Masters, and steer our life to liberation.
Dr. Jagessar Das
Karma, Teaching, Liberation, Introspection, Mind, Soul, God