Fandango asked a provocative question…

Do you believe in karma (or a similar “reap what you sow” notion)? Why or why not?

Per my understanding of Hindu philosophy, Karma and Dharma, are two fundamental, intertwined, cyclic forces that are at work in the life of an individual soul. While Karma refers to the cumulation of Deeds or Actions of the soul through the many rebirths that this soul may have gone through, Dharma refers to the Duty of the soul in its current incarnation.

When it comes to Karma, the whole is more than the sum of its parts.

So, if my Karma has brought me to a point where I have become a writer, then writing well becomes my highest duty… A beautiful idea.

Similarly, if my Karma has brought me to a point where I have become a mother, then being a good mother to my child becomes my duty… So far, so good.

And if by some unfortunate twist of fate, I am a mother in a family which sees me as nothing but a fertile womb, then I best accept that as my Karma and continue to procreate and nurture.

This is where things start going wrong: when people start using Karma as an excuse to justify persecution and injustice. When Karma becomes an excuse for not questioning the system, for not rocking the boat, for not even bothering to make an effort to do the hard thing.

The entire Indian cast system is based on the concept of Karma. You are born into your cast per your Karma, and your cast decides your Dharma. The lower cast will always be at the bottom of the pecking order. The farmer will farm; the landlords will lord over them You will never find an upper cast scavenger.

Karma is supposed to guide you on the path of righteousness. But it does not compel you to be righteous. If I am born rich, philanthropy is not my Dharma. That is still a possible choice.

It is interesting as a philosophy. It helps you though those moments when you can’t answer why this shit is happening to you. But when you start accepting Karma as the reason for your problems, you can wave your solutions bye-bye.

Neither is Karma some avenger or vigilante; there is no assurance that you will sow what you reap, at least not necessarily in this season or even this incarnation.

Karma makes a great tag line. My son has a t-shirt that reads…

3 thoughts on “The Is or Not of Karma

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