In this chapter we shall deal
with some questions that normally arise regarding the theory of Karma.
Q.1: Do you mean to say that
whatever situation that we may be in, is the result of our previous Karmas
and that we can�t do anything about it and we can�t change it anyway?
A. Reply to the first part of
the question is �yes�. We can however try to alter the given situation.
Karmas do not mean only past Karmas. Whatever we presently do also
constitutes Karma and that too is going to be fruitful. Suppose, we are
not financiall y well off. We may therefore undertake a new business
activity or go in for a better paying job. Undertaking such activities
also constitutes Karma and may turn to be useful in improving our
financial condition. In that case we have effectively changed th e given
situation by new Karma. We however do not know which Karma would be
fruitful at what time. Some Karmas are instantly fruitful and some
remotely so. For instance, we may be hungry. Taking food for the purpose
is Karma and satisfying hunger is the i nstant fruit. To take another
illustration, one may be careless about the food or in respect of some
habits. Even if such behavior may not instantly affect the health, some
disease may develop later on. In that case the Karma of being careless
gets fruitf ul at that time.
Q.2: Can you throw some light
on Prarabdha vs. Purushartha in light of theory of Karma?
A. Karmas can be divided into
three categories. One is of Sanchit or accumulated Karmas which are not
currently operative. They are like certificates of deposit, the amount
whereof can be used at maturity. We know when our C.D. is going to mature
but we d o not know when Sanchit Karmas are going to mature. Second
category is of Vartaman or present Karmas that we are currently acquiring.
They can be fruitful immediately or later on. The third category is of
Uday or operative Karmas. The consequences of thes e Karmas are currently
destined for us. They therefore constitute our Prarabdha. They can however
be modified by Vartaman Karmas, if such Karmas are going to be instantly
fruitful. Uday Karmas thus constitute Prarabdha and Vartaman Karmas
constitute Purus hartha. By Purushartha we may be in a position to change
our Prarabdha, if Vartaman Karmas are going to be instantly fruitful. We
can however never be sure of their instant fruitfulness. That is why every
endeavor of ours does not necessarily succeed. Thu s Prarabdha and
Purushartha are not at odds with each other. Rather, they are two sides of
the same coin.
Q.3: Soul is conscious and
Karmas are lifeless. How can lifeless matter modify the property of soul
which is supposed to be pure, enlightened and full of bliss?
A. There is no rule that a
lifeless substance cannot influence conscious matter. We experience
different types of sensations because we are alive. A dead body does not
feel any sensation. That means that sensations are experienced on account
of the existe nce of soul or consciousness. The sensations are however not
felt while a patient is under influence of anesthetic drugs. If lifeless
drugs can thus affect the sensations of a live being, there is no reason
to think that lifeless Karma cannot affect the p roperty of soul. As the
bodily sensations revive when no longer under influence of drug, similarly
soul also can attain self realization when it is no longer subjected to
the bondage of Karmas.
Q.4: Karmas are lifeless and
hence unconscious. How can they be conscious enough to bear specific
fruits appropriate to that type of Karma?
A. Karmas have not to be
conscious of bearing fruits. It is their property that automatically
works. If a person consumes poison, the result would be death. For this
purpose, poison has not to be conscious of killing him. It is the inherent
property of po ison that works. Similarly different types of Karmas have
their own respective properties that become effective in their own ways.
Q.5: If purity, enlighenment,
bliss etc are the properties of soul, when did it initially get polluted
A. Worldly soul has been
smeared with Karma since the time without beginning. It has never been
devoid of Karma. Therefore, the question of soul�s initial bondage with
Karma does not arise.
Q.6: If soul has been
associated with Karma since the beginning, there can neither be end to it.
As such it can never be devoid of Karma. Then why worry about it?
A. Though the bondage of Karma
is without beginning, it is not the same bondage all throughout. Every
Karma has a time limit during which its consequences have to be borne and
that Karma drops off at the end of that time. Meanwhile however, the soul
indul ges in new Karma and thereby gets new bondage. If soul does not
indulge in new Karma, it can be devoid of Karma when consequences of
previous Karmas are fully borne and the soul gets disassociated therefrom.
In religious terminology this disassociation is called Nirjara that we are
going to discuss in a later chapter.