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Karma and the science of its Result

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By Acharya Balkrishna

We should perform our actions in such a way
that we attain self-realisation and the mere thought of our name inspires and propels the denizens of this world into uninterrupted puruartha (perseverance), providing them with unmitigated guidance as well.
According to Mahari Dayananda– Actions performed by a living-being through its mind, senses and physical body is Karma.
Mind, speech and the body– these are the three chief channels of actions.
The three noble actions performed by the mind are compassion, disinclination and theism.
The four virtuous actions of speech are speaking the truth, speaking sweetly, speaking benignly and svdhyya (Self-study or study of the scriptures) and the four sinful actions of speech include speaking untruth, speaking harshly, speaking to disregard and downgrade others and speaking without any purpose (to prattle).
Human-beings perform three kinds of good actions through their physical body: protection, generosity and selfless service; while violence, theft and promiscuity are the three sinful actions committed through the physical body.
How, when, where and in what form the results of action are manifested? Human beings cannot know the answer to these questions with complete conviction, this task is performed and regulated by the Supreme soul Himself. Yes, man can definitely know certain things on the basis of the scriptures.
No matter how much so ever a man performs tapa (austerity), japa (recitation of mantras), dhyna (meditation), yaja (sacrifice) or donate generously, he can never escape the repercussions of his actions. He has to experience the results of actions; but he who has burnt (destroyed) his kleÜas (afflictions) by realisation of God, does not have to further undergo the consequences of his actions.
One has to undergo the results of not only physical or mental actions, but also has to face the consequences of his oral actions as well. Here, is an illustration-
Once the king of a princely state invited certain brahmanas for a feast. When the royal cook was preparing kheer (a rice pudding sweet dish) a few drops of poison fell from the mouth of a snake that was struggling to escape the eagle that had caught it in its beak and was flying overhead at that time. Upon consuming the poisoned kheer, all the brahmins died. Now, the big question is– Who was responsible for the death of the brahmanas? Who was guilty? Neither the king, nor the cook, nor the snake, nor the eagle was responsible beacause everybody was acting according to their respective dharma. Dharmaraja (Yama: the God of death according to Hindu mythology) faced a big dilemma over finding the real culprit responsible for this incident.
Few days later, some travelling brahmanas visited the same king’s kingdom for sight-seeing. They made inquiries about the king. “Oh! that king is very cruel, he kills the brahmanas who come on invitation by mixing poison in kheer”, a person answered in response to their queries. Dharmaraja quickly understood the mentality of that person and he laid down the responsibility of the entire incident on that person. Thus, this person suffered the consequences of his oral actions though he was not guilty.
Yaja has great significance. Every action of our’s should be done with the spirit of yaja. Actions without the spirit of yaja become cause for bondages, hence man should perform his actions in the spirit of yaja without any sort of attachment.
Yajarthatkarmanoanyatra lokoayam karmabandhana. Tadartham karma kaunteya muktasagah samacarah.
(Srmadbhagvadgta-3.9)
Nobody can transfer the result of his actions to another person. No doubt, one can give happiness and sorrow to any other person based on the result and effect of his actions, but here too, ultimately, God will do justice to the victim and the person responsible for giving happiness or sorrow will develop his own karmaÜaya (deposit of subliminal impressions of action), the result of which he will get in the future.
The results of actions are mainly decided by the God, but in order to maintain decorum in the family, society and nation punishments are also meted out by parents, teachers, the police, judges or the king. A person can himself achieve the results of some of his actions. God has made this arrangement and given such directions.
There is no inquity in the practice of this dharma which is of the nature of karmaYoga. Practice of even a little of this dharma will grant freedom from the biggest of fears, as is stated below :
NehbhikramanÜoasti pratyavyo na vidyate.svalpampyasya dharmasya tryate mahato bhayt.
(Srmadbhagvadgta-2.40)
The doer of every actions is jvatma (soul). Mind, senses and physical body are all insentient and are only the means of actions.
The results of evil actions can never be destroyed or diminished by donations, offerings, oblations, worship, service, recitation, austerity, pilgrimage or meditation.
One can never escape the consequences of one’s evil actions by the performance of PryaÜcitta (expiation). But, the samskara (mental impression) of the same can definitely be mitigated, which stops the tendency of repeating the same evil actions in the future.
Usually, joy and sorrows experienced by a person are mainly due to his own actions, but one does undergo them as a result of outcome and effect of actions done by others as well.
The spontaneous reaction just after doing an action is the immediate consequence of that action. The impact of physical or mental happiness or sorrow, fear, stress etc. on self and others after knowing the result or outcome of any action is called as the the effect of the action. The lawful dispensation of joy or sorrow or the expedients of happiness or afflictions by God, to the doer as per his good or evil actions, is the result of an action.
Doers of evil actions may acquire all possible materialistic wealth, but ultimately, they would never be happy. It is a misconception to consider them as joyous even for the present moment.
The sorrows and difficulties experienced by pious persons are not the outcome of the holy actions performed by them; rather are the troubles, pains given by the ignorant, selfish and unlawful people of the society and state.
Normally the results of the good or bad actions done by a person are more, where as the outcome of actions done by influencing other is moderate. The outcome of support to the good or bad actions of other is relatively less, but in exceptional situations, the support to such actions of others may give greater results even if it is not done by the very person.
In most situations the outcome of mental actions is less in comparison to the verbal actions which is lesser than those of the physical actions, but in some specific situations this order is reversed and the results of mental actions multiplies in comparision to the verbal ones, which in turn becomes greater than physical actions.
Noble and evil actions though performed in equal numbers do not nullify their results. The principle of plus-minus is not applicable to the vedic system of karmaphala (consequences of actions). The punishment for theft of one rupee is not diminished even with a donation of one lakh rupees.
According to vedas, God and scriptures, it the duty of every person to help the person in grif. It is not an interference in the judicial system of the God to help those persons who are suffering as a result of their evil actions.
Jva (the soul) is free to perform actions, but somewhat dependent where results of his actions are concerned. The jvatma (soul) cannot lay claim on the results of its every karma (action) as his knowledge and abilities are very limited. Moreover, the jvatma shuns the sorrowful outcome of its evil actions, hence God has reserved the right to dispense the outcome of any action to Himself, as:
yatkamaste juhumastanno astu
(Rk-10.121)
It means– ‘O lord! please fulfill our aspirations as per our actions.’
Not preventing a person from doing evil actions is generally called adharma (unrighteous), but in situations where one has no authority, responsibility, duty, power or where such an action might lead to ugly developments, non-prevention of evil actions is not considered as unrighteous. Our scriptures too endorse the same :
Ekah papani kurute phale bhukte mahajana. bhoktaro vipramucyante kartta doena lipyate.
(Extracted from “Divine Transformation: Building Blocks for Enlightened Life, Ideal Nation and Peaceful World”.)