Actions do not bind Me, nor have I any longing for the result of action. Whoever knows Me thus is not fettered by action.

—Bhagavad Gītā, Ch. IV, 14

The doctrine of Karma includes the law of compensation and the law of retribution . These are the fundamental verities of nature.

As every effect must have a cause, every consequence must have an antecedent, so also there must be equal balance between a cause and its effect, between an antecedent and a consequence.

A cause must always produce an effect of similar nature both in quality and quan­tity and a reaction must be similar to action.

The forces of nature operate neither for profit nor for loss but for a perfect balance or harmony. If there be a surging of a high wave in the ocean there must be a deep hollow at its sides’.

If there be a flow of waters here, there must be ebb somewhere. If there be tremendous heat in one place, extreme cold will be found in another place. When it is day here it is night in America. A long peace is followed by a long war, and vice versa.

In this manner, we can show that polarity exists in every department of nature and brings in the end a perfect balance, equilib­rium, harmony and justice; in short, it produces what we understand by the word compensation .

The law of compen­sation is as irresistible as the law of causation and as relentless as the law of action and reaction. In fact, these three as well as the law of retribution work together. They represent merely the diffe­rent phases of nature’s purpose in producing diverse phenomena, each opposing the other.

As in the physical nature every force works for compensation so in the mental, intellectual, moral and spiritual planes the same law of compensation is manifesting itself with equal regularity.

There cannot be bargaining in the realm of nature. What you wish to get, you must have to pay for it first, in thought, word and deed. Some­thing cannot be obtained for nothing. In our daily life when we seek for a bargain either in buying or selling we forget this law and make many mistakes and suffer or repent in the end.

A man goes to buy a collar but comes home with a refrigerator. He thinks that he has got a bargain. But he does not know that he has paid just what is its worth, nothing more or less.

The Law of compensation exists not only for insentient matter and force but it also governs the sentient beings and intell­igent souls.

Whatever we suffer physically or mentally may appear to be unjust, may make us feel that we do not deserve it, but when we trace its cause and compare with it, we find that it is perfectly right and a just compensation.

When we disconnect a headache from dissipation or indulgence of a previous night, it appears to be wrong, but connected with its antecedent it is just right and we deserve it. We cannot judge a thing correctly if we do not connect the effects with their antecedents.

The causes determine the nature of the effect, the antecedents their consequences. If the cause be evil, the effects will bring evil return. No man can defy this law of compensation .

But the processes of this law in connection with the affairs of our lives are extremely intricate and they generally involve a cycle of beginning, growth and maturity. This cycle may take a short or a long period of time to complete itself.

A man may reap the result of compensation for his works either in this life or after death in another incarnation, just as now we are reaping the results of the works of our previous lives.

If we deny pre-existence and reincarnation of the soul and admit that the physical birth is the beginning of our life and by death ends all, then the chain of cause and sequence will be broken abruptly and the process of compensation will be unexpectedly interrupted by death. Then, there will be no compensation for the wicked who commit crimes and apparently enjoy all the blessings of life; nor for the virtuous who perform good unselfish works and do not get any return whatever during their life-time.

So long as we look upon our individual lives as isolated events beginning with the birth of the body and ending with its death, we shall not find correct explanation of anything but will see injustice and wrong at every step.

But when we connect our present lives with our past, and our future, and standing upon the broad platform of eternal life that is, past and future life, if we look at our present we shall see justice and compensation at every step. Our present is the resultant of our past, and our future will be the resultant of our present thoughts and deeds.

Suppose our life begins each morning and lasts for twenty-four hours. If we disconnect the life of today from the past of yesterday and of the future of tomorrow, and judge each day by its results, we shall find very poor compensation for our daily labour.

Furthermore, it will seem terribly unjust to have our life falling on a wet and gloomy day with many accidents and unpleasant experiences, and another on the following day which is bright, sunshiny with many pleasant and happy experiences.

Shall we be able to explain each of these fragments of life complete in itself? No. As our earthly life consists of a series of such daily lives so our eternal life of the soul consists of many periods of earthly lives. Earthly life when compared with the eternal soul-life will appear to be a mere fragment as small as a life ending in twenty- four hours.

The compensation for the apparent physical suffering and misery of a good and virtuous man or woman during his or her earthly career is to be found in the soul- life. The blows on the body will by the law of compensation raise the soul of a truly spiritual person above the level of the ordinary mortals and such a soul will eventually command respect and honour of all nations in times to come.

Conversely, the wicked and dishonest who apparently enjoy prosperity does so at the expense of their spiritual life and the compensation will be found in their soul-life.

The law of compensation covers the whole chain of our individual lives. The broader the basis of reckoning there is, the more perfect is the compensation.

Therefore, if we wish to see a perfect balance of causes and effects, of actions and reactions, we must take the widest view of the soul-life and reckoning from that standpoint we shall find satisfactory solution of all perplexing problems and most complicated affairs of human life.