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Law of Action and Reaction | KARMA

LAW OF ACTION AND REACTION

God never rewards the virtuous nor Punishes the wicked.

-Bhagavad Gītā, Ch. V, 15.

The law of causation or of Karma includes the law that the like produces the like, or that every action must be followed by a reaction of similar nature.

If I strike a blow on the table, the table will react upon me with similar force. If I strike harder, I shall receive harder blow in return. As on the physical plane, so on the finer mental plane, all mental actions produce similar reactions.

Motives, desires, thoughts and other mental functions being subject to the same law, produce good , bad or mixed re­sults according to the nature of those mental activities. As all the mental activities determine the character of the individual ego, or the worker, we can easily classify the workers as good , bad or mixed .

The character of an individual is again subject to the law of Karma because, it is the aggregate of a large number of minute activities of the mind-substance to which we give different names such as desires, tendencies, thoughts, ideas and impressions; every one of which is governed by the law of action and reaction. Each character or personality is the grand total result of previous mental actions, and is also the cause of future changes in the character.

In the chain of cause and effect, it can be shown that each effect is latent in the cause and each cause is latent in the effect, applying the same law we can understand that every form of character is in itself a cause as well as an effect.

The law of Karma inculcates this grand truth of nature, that cause lies in the effect and effect is also latent in the cause.

For instance, a seed contains the whole tree potentially and produces the tree, and the tree produces the seed again. With the help of this great truth we can easily explain why a character is good or bad, or why one individual behaves in this way or that, or why one suffers and is miserable, while another enjoys his life and is happy.

We do not have to blame our parents for our misery and sufferings. It is our own Karma that produces its results in the form of joy or sorrow, pleasure or pain, happiness or unhappiness. It is compensation.

Everything that we possess in this life is the effect of our previous Karma or action, both mental and physical. Our present character is the resultant of our past and our future will be determined by our present acts.

Neither God nor Satan is responsible for our pleasure and pain, happiness and misery. Thus, all the inequalities and diversities of characters can be scientifically explained by this law of Karma .

In the face of this universal law of Karma , there is no room for the hypothesis of predestination and grace which is accepted by the majority of orthodox Christians.

The hypothesis of predestination and grace teaches that God, the Creator of all, settles the destiny of man before his birth. He pre­ordains before the birth of each man and woman what he or she will be in future. The whim of the Creator makes one sinful or virtuous, before the time of one's birth.

But this hypothesis destroys our moral responsibility and personal freedom. If we are all predestined by God to be sinful or virtuous, to be happy or unhappy, we can neither undo our destiny nor act against the Divine decree. It makes us absolute automata bound hand and foot by the chain of slavery.

Furthermore, it makes God partial and unjust. Why should He make one innocent creature destined to suffer and another to enjoy? Why is it that one obtains His grace before one’s birth and another does not?

If a sinner be destined to sin even before his birth, why should he be responsible for his works, and why should he suffer for the whim of the omniscient and almighty Creator?

If God be merciful to all of His creatures why should he not make all equally good and virtuous, moral and spiritual?

These questions remain unanswered by the theory of predestination and grace. But they do not rise in the doctrine of Karma . If we can once understand that each individual soul reaps the results of its previous acts and deeds then we can never advocate the theory of predestination and grace. Every effect is measured by its cause.

A believer in the law of Karma is a free agent and is responsible for all the good and bad results of his own actions that attend to his life. He knows that he creates his own destiny, and moulds his character by his thoughts and deeds. He never blames another for the suffering and misery which come to him. He learns by experience the true causes of events and removing the bad or evil he performs such actions which produce good to all as well as to himself.

He who obeys the law of Karma is more moral and more virtuous than one who blindly obeys the Ten Commandments. He stands on a more rational ground than one who fears the punishment of God.  

He shrinks from doing anything wrong, not because it is written in a book or scripture, but because he knows that every wrong action will sooner or later react upon himself and will make him unhappy and miserable.

He performs good deeds for the reason that they will bring good reaction in the form of happiness, peace, tranquillity and higher enlightenment.

What we call rewards or punishments of God is nothing but the reactions of our own mental and physical actions. The doctrine of Karma denies the arbitrary Ruler and teaches that God never rewards the virtuous nor punishes the wicked.