Karma in Hinduism is also considered to be a spiritually originated law. Many Hindus see God's direct involvement in this process, while others consider the natural laws of causation sufficient to explain the effects of karma. However, followers of Vedanta, the leading extant school of Hinduism today, consider Ishvara, a personal supreme God, as playing a role in the delivery of karma. Theistic schools of Hinduism such as Vedanta thus disagree with the Buddhist and Jain views and other Hindu views that karma is merely a law of cause and effect but rather is also dependent on the will of a personal supreme God. Examples of a personal supreme God include Shiva in Shaivism or Vishnu in Vaishnavism. A good summary of this theistic view of karma is expressed by the following: "God does not make one suffer for no reason nor does He make one happy for no reason. God is very fair and gives you exactly what you deserve."
Karma is not punishment or retribution but simply an extended expression or consequence of natural acts. Karma means "deed" or "act" and more broadly names the universal principle of cause and effect, action and reaction that governs all life. The effects experienced are also able to be mitigated by actions and are not necessarily fated. That is to say, a particular action now is not binding to some particular, pre-determined future experience or reaction; it is not a simple, one-to-one correspondence of reward or punishment.
Karma is not fate, for humans act with free will creating their own destiny. According to the Vedas, if one sows goodness, one will reap goodness; if one sows evil, one will reap evil. Karma refers to the totality of our actions and their concomitant reactions in this and previous lives, all of which determines our future. The conquest of karma lies in intelligent action and dispassionate response.
One of the first and most dramatic illustrations of Karma can be found in the Bhagavad Gita. In this poem, Arjuna the protagonist is preparing for battle when he realizes that the enemy consists of members of his own family and decides not to fight. His charioteer, Krishna (an avatar of god), explains to Arjuna the concept of dharma (duty) among other things and makes him see that it is his duty to fight. The whole of the Bhagavad Gita within the Mahabharata, is a dialogue between these two on aspects of life including morality and a host of other philosophical themes. The original Hindu concept of karma was later enhanced by several other movements within the religion, most notably Vedanta, and Tantra.
According to Paramhans Swami Maheshwarananda, one begets Karma in four ways:
* through thoughts
* through words
* through one's actions
* through actions others do under one's instructions
Everything that one has ever thought, spoken, done or caused is Karma; as is also that which we think, speak or do this very moment. After death we lose Kriya Shakti (ability to act) and do Karma. Actions performed consciously are weighted more heavily than those done unconsciously. But just as poison affects us if taken unknowingly, suffering caused unintentionally will also give appropriate karmic effect. We are in position to do something about our destiny by doing the right thing at the right time. Through positive actions, pure thoughts, prayer, mantra and meditation, we can resolve the influence of the karma in present life and turn the destiny for the better. A spiritual master knowing the sequence in which our Karma will bear fruit, can help us. As humans, we have the opportunity to speed up our spiritual progress with practice of good Karma. We produce negative karma because we lack knowledge and clarity.
Sri Tulsidas said: "Our destiny was shaped long before the body came into being."
Hindu scriptures divide karma into three kinds:
* Sanchita is the accumulated karma. It would be impossible to experience and endure all Karmas in one life. From this stock of sanchita karma, a handful is taken out to serve one lifetime and this handful of actions, which has begun to bear fruit and which will be exhausted only on their fruit being experienced. Hence, it is the sum of one's past karmas – all actions (good and bad) that follow through from one's past life to the next.
* Prarabdha Fruit-bearing karma is the portion of accumulated karma that has "ripened" and appears as a particular problem in the present life.
* Kriyamana is everything that we produce in current life. All kriyamana karmas flow in to sanchita karma and consequently shape our future.
In this way, so long as the stock of sanchita karma lasts, a part of it continues to be taken out as prarabdha karma for being experienced in one lifetime, leading to the cycle of birth and death. A Jiva cannot attain moksha until the accumulated sanchita karmas are completely exhausted.
I like stuff.
Sunday, September 26, 2010
From somewhere else. Interesting read.
Posted by transiit at 8:29 PM