Monday, June 09, 2008
Hindu Karma: No Escape from Cause and Effect
Karma is not Fate. This is a common but mistaken belief.
Karma is Action. Every action of a being capable of knowing right from wrong lays the seeds for the future. Good Karma paves the way for a happier life, especially one with a greater opportunity for union with God. Bad Karma's seeds will result in suffering and more difficulty in achieving liberation.
Humans, though, still have free will. Although, as I understand it, the wise exercise of free will will be easier for those with a greater amount of good Karma.
Karma is a form of cause and effect.
Some seeds of Karma will sprout in this life; some in one's future lives. Hindus, generally, believe in reincarnation. You cannot escape your Karmic residue through death. You continue on your rounds of birth and death -- until you learn the lesson of Dharma and Karma. Then upon death the atman, that drop of divinity which is the real "you" becomes one with the Ocean of Brahman.
God cannot excuse one's Karma or dilute it. (However, some segments of Hinduism may disagree with this, or so I've read.)
Karma is part of Dharma, part of the cosmic law which is part of the "body" of Brahman (God). For this reason, it seems as though Karmic effects would have to come to pass.
A popular way of defining Karma: What goes around, comes around.
Or as the Bible says: As you sow, so shall you reap.
(Caveat: Hinduism is enormously variegated and complex. This is just my attempt to give you a sense of the meaning of Karma.)