Most people have heard of KARMA.
They will define it as:
action & reaction
what goes around, comes around
you reap what you sow
do good, get good and do bad, get bad
And they are all right. Every action you perform has a reaction. We know this from our everyday observation.
But let’s a closer look.
When you perform an action, you get 2 reactions.
As you can see above, a reaction is both short term and long term. Most people equate Karma to an immediate result for an action or at the most, within this lifetime. But Eastern philosophy points out that it’s much longer than that.
When the body dies, the living entity within it (called the soul or atma) moves to another body, and continues its existence. And this cycle goes on.
This means as the soul goes from body to body at the death of each body, it takes with it the reactions from its past life as well. That is why you see good things happening to bad people and bad things happening to good people. Each one is going through their own karma.
Here is an example:
You are on a 6 month travel on a ship. At the start of the journey, you planted a seed in a pot in Sydney. At the completion of a month when it has reached Auckland, the seed has developed into a tiny plant. The ship travels again & now you have now reached PNG, where the tiny plant has grown much longer, more sturdy and plenty of leaves.
So in the above example – you performed an action in Sydney, but we see the results in Auckland and Papua New Guinea.
It’s the same with your actions. You perform it at one location and the “seed of reaction” is sowed. Then, as you journey through life, the reactions get manifested at different times.
Let’s say you were a thief stealing money in this life at San Fransisco. The immediate result is that you are happy you got some money. The long-term result in this life is that you eventually get caught by the police. Then you die one day, and the soul takes a body, let’s say in New York. And in that life, you are born into a family of wretched poverty. Because you performed a bad action – stealing someone else’s money, the reaction is that in your next life, you are in a situation where you have no money or someone steals it of you. You may work as hard as you like, but you just won’t make the money.
How do I break free?!
Good news! You can get out of bad karma:
- understand how karma works
- feel bad about your past actions
- start doing good for people, like donation & social work
- tolerate & be patient
- take up a spiritual activity (like “bhakti yoga”) which allows you to burn past karma or the seeds of future reactions.
Remember, you may not see your life turn around immediately once you put the above in action. It could for some people but for many it will take a while depending on how much of bad karma you have accumulated.
So don’t delay – do good and get that positive karma into your life!