By Vishakha Gupta
Do you believe in the concept of karma? Do you believe that the causes of our past lives have some bearing on our present? That the past has a way of catching up with us?
Ever since we were born, we have grown up with our elders telling us the stories of epics like Mahabharata, Ramayana etc. In Hinduism, there is strong emphasis on the relationship between cause and effect. We all must have heard numerous idioms on karma on various occasions. For eg-‘jaisi karni, vaisi bharni’ , ‘karm karo, fal ki chinta mat karo’, etc etc.
Till a few years back, the concept of karma seemed too irrational to me. After all, karma is not so jobless so as to haunt us in our next life as well. But over the years I have realised that it’s actually very practical. The law of cause and effect is very strict and impartial, and fair too. Consider a terrorist who has taken countless number of lives. While on his latest mission, he gets shot by the police and dies on the spot. Does it seem fair that after inflicting suffering on so many people, all the repercussions of his actions get buried with him? That is when the concept of karma comes into the picture. This terrorist will carry the burden of all his past karma into his next life. For people who do not believe in it, consider this: A baby is born after many complications and pain, he/she hasn’t done anything bad, but what about the karma of previous existences? An exceptionally smart student with a very bright future, not getting a job while all the jerks around him are getting the best jobs, a person battling illness his/her whole life, are all examples of karma. Don’t take me wrong. Karma can be good too. Being born into a family which can provide you with all kinds of necessities, being born with a certain talent, getting a good spouse, however small and superficial they may appear to be, are all because of karma. People who just go by logic, have a hard time believing in all this. I am sure they will find ‘logical’ reasons to counter every example I gave above. But karma is something which cannot be understood on a surface level. It goes much deeper than that. From the colour of our skin, to every feature of our face, to the families we are born into, to all the deep-rooted tendencies we have, are all shaped by our karma.
In no way am I implying that we are the prisoners of our past. Some people take karma as an excuse for their miserable lives. I strongly believe that we are responsible for our own lives. And no, it is not contradictory to the idea of karma. We are the artists of our own lives, and the moment we decide to pick up the paint brush and paint our future, is when living becomes a joy. It’s never too late to start afresh. Making good causes is the first step to a brighter future.
Oh, I completely forgot to give the definition of karma. Karma is formed by thoughts, words and deeds. Ultimately, what you sow is what you reap!