“As you sow, so shall you reap” goes the old English saying. This is the very basis of “Karma”. It simply states that if you give good, you will get good, and if you give bad, you will get bad. Although the philosophy of Karma is known to be of Indian origin, Karma is an universal phenomenon . What goes around, is bound to come around. All major religions of the world speaks of Karma in some context or the other.
According to the Vedas, if one sows goodness, one will reap goodness; if one sows evil, one will reap evil. Karma refers to the totality of our actions and their concomitant reactions in this and previous lives, all of which determines our future. Humans act of their own free will, thereby creating their own destiny. Hence, Karma is not fate. A good summary of the theistic view (of the Vedanta) of karma is expressed by the following: “God does not make one suffer for no reason nor does He make one happy for no reason. God is very fair and gives you exactly what you deserve.”
The Gurbani’s law of karma holds everyone responsible for what the person is or is going to be. We harvest exactly what we sow; no less, no more. Based on the total sum of past karma, some feel close to the Pure Being in this life and others feel separated. According to Sri Guru Granth Sahib, “According to the karma of past actions, one’s destiny unfolds, even though everyone wants to be so lucky”.
According to Buddhist Philosophy, Karma is categorized within the group or groups of cause in the chain of cause and effect. Any action is understood as creating “seeds” in the mind that will sprout into the appropriate result when met with the right conditions. Most types of karmas, with good or bad results, will keep one within the wheel of samsāra (cycle of birth), while others will liberate one to nirvāna (free from suffering).
Although Islam views all human dramas as the will of God, the Qur’an states that the good or bad fortunes that befall man are the results of God’s reactions to man’s own actions.
If you carefully listen to the song ‘Karma is a bitch’, you will realize that it’s conveying something practical. When loosely translated to English, it says, “This wheel keeps rotating; the whole world dances on its rhythm; if you slip a bit; it shall take you in its control; you shall pay for whatever you do, in this world itself.”
Modern theorists argue that Karma is very much predictable like other natural phenomena such as gravity and is devoid of any spiritual linkages. Sakyong Mipham eloquently summed this up when he said, “Like gravity, karma is so basic we often don’t even notice it”.
On the other hand, Karma is also considered a myth and illogical. As the Burmese proverb says, “Worthless people blame their karma”.
I feel the concept of Karma is very basic and inherent in mankind. From our very childhood, we are taught to be kind and good. We are taught not to do anything bad so as not to displease the Almighty and bring on His wrath. We are taught to be kind, loving, peaceful and helpful because these would please God. These very simple teachings translate into the concept Karma, what goes around, comes back around. Whatever it is, spiritual, cultural, natural, philosophical or illogical, Karma is surely something to be pondered upon. And Wayne Dyer seems to rightly have summed it up,“How people treat you is their karma; how you react is yours”.