Contemplation On The Laws Of Karma

The basic concept of the laws of karma in oriental religions evolves around the concept that good actions bring good results and bad actions produces suffering to the one who performs them. It is important to perform good actions in order to get good results and obviously not perform bad actions, which will bring bad results. It is also well known that what is behind an action- i.e. if an action is performed with desire, attachment and with egoistic assumption of doership, is what’s creating karma. Ramana Maharshi said:

– One suffers because of the idea that the body, which is never oneself, is ‘I’;
suffering is all due to this illusion.

Anyone can imagine what good and bad means, but is good necessarily good and is bad necessarily bad? A good deed could- if we are not careful- produce bad karma. If we think we are doing a “good” deed, which is really a bad deed, then we will not move upwards as we believe , but downwards. Rich or poor? The Soul chooses to reincarnate in the circumstances it needs in order to develop and the Divine One is not concerned with what humans consider to be good or bad. A person who is rich has not necessarily been performing good deeds in his previous life, just as being poor does not necessarily mean it is the fruits of bad karma and vice versa. Imagine how hard it could be to detach yourself from the inheritance from your multimillionaire parents. So much to lose! A poor person would not have anything to loose or to be tempted by in the material aspect, but of course, a “poor” person can be attached to his “suffering”, just as a “rich” person. We get what we deserve – in a non-material aspect – thats how it works.

Good and bad must be considered as a relative concept created by humans in order to suit our purposes and way of perceiving this physical world. The laws of karma operates according to the Divine Law and not corrupt human- made laws. In my mind, good or bad karma, is still KARMA. The highest goal for a man of Tradition is to produce NO karma at all. As Ramana Maharshi said:

-“A man might have performed many karmas in his previous births. A few of these alone will be chosen for this birth and he will have to enjoy their fruits in this birth. It is something like a slide show where the projectionist picks a few slides to be exhibited at a performance, the remaining slides being reserved for another performance. All this karma can be destroyed by acquiring knowledge of the self.1
The different karmas are the slides, karmas being the result of past experiences, and the mind is the projector. The projector must be destroyed so that there will be no further reflection and no further births and no deaths”. – “Find the root to karma and cut it off”. – “The truth burns up all karmas and frees you from all births”.

It is crucial that we understand what inside of us creates karma.
3 criteria must be fulfilled in order to avoid suffering from our actions:

1. Your motive must be pure i.e. it must be for the greatest good of All.
2. What you choose to say or act upon must be an absolute truth.
3. You must have no bonds to this physical/material world, which means that the ego must not be in control of you.

If I say an absolute truth to a person about himself, his first reaction may be negative and aggressive, but perhaps – if he chooses to – after a certain amount of reflection, he may see my point and admit that I was right and also learn something about himself, which will make him develop as a human being and thus increase the harmony in his life. Was my action good or bad? I would like to say that it was neutral. Ramana Maharshi said further:

– Whatever is done lovingly, with righteous purity and with peace of mind, is a good action. Everything which is done with the stain of desire and with agitation filling the mind is classified as a bad action. Do not perform any good action (karma) through a bad means, thinking ‘it is sufficient if it bears good fruits.’ Because if the means is bad, even a good action will turn out to be a bad one. Therefore, even the means of doing actions should be pure.

  1. Sri Ramana Maharshi uses the word “Self,” to signify what is more generally known as the “Soul”, in contrast to the “I,” which signifies the physical part of us, which is not the real us. However according to various traditions, the soul cannot reach beyond the this physical phenomenon world, but the intellect, which is not to be confused with Reason or logic. The intellect is connected to what is called “the eye of the heart,” which is the eternal essence in us. The eye of the heart is what enables us to see, reach and comprehend the metaphysical realm, which belongs to the next world.()
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  • When man is imprisoned like this in life and in the conceptions directly connected with it, he can know nothing about what escapes from change, about the transcendent and immutable order, which is that of the universal principles.

    - René Guénon, East And West, 1924