Karma? You are the writer of your own destiny.
In 1999, Glen Hoddle was sacked as the English soccer manager after he made a statement that ‘people born with disabilities were being punished for the sins of a former life’. Glen Hoddle was referring to the doctrine of karma.
In 2017, Kenneth Storey, a university professor was fired by the University of Tampa in US after he said that Harvey, the violent hurricane which struck Texas, was karma for Texas Republicans.
A layman would consult the Oxford Dictionary to know the meaning of Karma. It says, ‘the sum of a person’s actions in this and previous states of existence, viewed as deciding their fate in future existences’. Karma is a spiritual law. It is equivalent to Newton’s Third Law of Physics which said that ‘for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction’. Now let’s put this man-made definition aside…
We go through worse experiences and sufferings in life and then we ask God ‘Why us?’ or we go through better experiences that open the flood gate to happiness, wealth and joy but this time we often say, ‘it’s our luck’. It’s not. It’s Karma. But many of us would not acknowledge karma. Many would simply say that they do not deserve such a ‘fate’. According to the principle of karma there is nothing uncertain or capricious in the moral world. We are bound to reap what we sow. Whatever a man covets by his mind and action or whatever he desires he ultimately gains. This is the work of the mind. He may do good or bad. As long as he performs selfish works he will be subject to the law of bondage. The little he suffers, he blames others for being the cause of his sufferings. This is total ignorance.
Some people recall moments of their past lives. Some have regular flashes of ‘du déjà vu.’ Many wonder why after rebirth they cannot recall their own past deeds. Could they recall their past deeds they would have balanced the good and bad scores quickly and ultimately resolve the karmas, after one rebirth only. But God gave us a kind of protection, by inhibiting us from knowing our past lives. If you are made aware of your previous lives and actions, you will forget to live the present. This prohibition enables you to live positively the present and work gradually toward freeing yourself from the law of bondage.
A man or woman can have the highest freedom when he or she becomes one with God. If a man departs this world without realizing that he is a soul, he shall come back into a new life to get the opportunity to know about it. As long as he is not aware and conscious of this ‘oneness’ he shall come back again and again to realize this oneness. As long as he is not aware that other human and living beings are parts and parcels of him and that he should refrain from causing sufferings to them, he shall take several rebirths to resolve this karma.
The Svestasvara Upanishad states that as long as a man believes that he is separate from the cosmic consciousness, he will revolve upon the wheel in bondage to the laws of birth, death and rebirth. But when he receives the grace of the cosmic consciousness he realizes that his identity and that with the cosmic consciousness is One. It no longer revolves upon the wheel. He achieves immortality.
Many people would like to understand, why in spite of being noble and generous they would still face bad karmas. It should be noted that karma do not rebound immediately in the next closest rebirth or new life. The sanchita karma, i.e the sum total of all past karma to be resolved, is not experienced in a single lifetime only. Resolving of karmas can be extended over several life times.
If karma is unleashed and uncovered at a particular time and moments over several lifetimes, then from where does it emerge? Where is it stored? Hindu philosophy argues that if the past actions result to a case of attachment it will be stored in our astral body. More specifically they are stored in the chakras. Similarly, if the past actions result in no attachment it is stored in our causal body.
It is not a coincidence that we meet with strange people, good people and bad people in life. These people come at a particular crossroad in our life to teach us lessons. In other words, they are introduced in our lives to help resolve our karmas.
Husband and wives who marry out of social pressure, lust and sexual drives very often end up in divorce. Husband and wives who marry because of the need to grow further the families’ businesses; material wealth and status might also end up in divorce. The reason is that there is no karmic force to keep the marriage going. Their karmic forces will be stored in the first chakra, i.e the Muladhara and/or Swadisthana Chakras, which governs one’s needs for basic necessities, sex, and material desires.
On the opposite, two persons love each other truly and later marries due to karmicties will succeed because there is a necessity to resolve the karma between the two. They would meet in one lifetime, share common goals and get acquainted in one lifetime and do good to each other. If their love is based on attachment to spiritual knowledge and wisdom, there karma will be stored in the 5thand 6thchakra, i.e Visudha and Ajna Chakra of their respective astral body. When they meet in the next lifetime the stored karmic forces will emerge and they would end up with marriage in this new lifetime. They will grow old and dependent on each other, and when one dies the other also follow in a short span of time. In some rare cases they die together. Their karma is resolved.
The position of the Navagrahas, i.e the nine planets or grahas, provides clues, which can be used to predict the particular karmas that will affect us at a particular time. For example, the position of Shani, i.e Saturn, can predict an accumulation of bad karmas that will bring difficulties into our lives. By appeasing Shani, through poojas, we expect Him to reduce our bad karma.
The navagrahas also has an influence on the course of our destiny. It is inaccurate to say that the navagrahas influence our lives, because it is actually our karmas that influence our lives. Yet, the positions of the nine grahascan predict the effects of those karmas. It takes a skillful astrologer to accurately interpret the positions of the navagrahas. But no matter how accurate the system of astrology might be, or how skillful the astrologer is to interpret your birth chart past unresolved karma is bound to come up.
But the more we resist and reject the doctrine of karma the more we become prisoners of our own mind.