Karma or Destiny or Neither


I immensely liked this post and wanted to add something to it. I accept what she wrote but the concept is not totally useless.

कर्म प्रधान विश्व करी राखा, जो जस करई सो तस फल चाखा ।।

Firstly  I know that I have to pay for my bad deeds, I will refrain from that. Similarly my good deeds will be rewarded so I will try to be a do-gooder. This is the law of cause and effect or “As you sow as you reap”. Every action has an equal and opposite reaction (Newton’s third law). So Karma principle can be a natural deterrent against bad deeds as it has religious sanction.


Secondly this places emphasis on action rather than on luck or destiny. So it inspires us to work hard to achieve goals. Karma principle doesn’t let us become lethargic and fatalist. Instead of waiting for God’s grace we should strive to achieve things/ success by our own hard work. God help those who help themselves.

So far so good. But and this is a big but. What she writes is true. The theory is only god as a theory. There is no direct cause and effect relationship. There are many factors which decides the outcome. We can only work hard but we have no control over the results. Even Lord Krishna says that:

कर्मण्येवाधिकारस्ते मा फलेषु कदाचन।
मा कर्मफलहेतुर्भूर्मा ते संगोऽस्त्वकर्मणि ४७

कर्तव्यकर्म करने में ही तेरा अधिकार है फलों में कभी नहीं। अतः तू कर्मफलका हेतु भी मत बन और तेरी अकर्मण्यता में भी आसक्ति हो।

So we have no control whatsoever on the results. So it all boils down to God’s wish, destiny, luck, providence or kismet.

But this is not the real catch either. The real catch is as given below:
वासांसि जीर्णानि यथा विहाय
नवानि गृह्णाति नरोऽपराणि |
तथा शरीराणि विहाय जीर्णा
न्यन्यानि संयाति नवानि देही || 22||

 "As a person puts on new garments, giving up old ones, the soul similarly accepts new material bodies, giving up the old and useless ones."(Bg 2.22)

So there is a cycle of life and death which is never ending till we break free from it. So even if something bad happens to good people it can easily be attributed to bad karma from past lives. Nobody knows what happened in past lives (or if these is such a thing as past life) so this has to be accepted at face value.

This theory also propagates the most heinous system of caste. This is Varna dharma based on Guna and Karma, lower castes can easily be said to have bad karma from past lives. Later on it degenerated in birth based.

So I agree with Harpreet partially. This system has good and bad shades both.

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