Understand the nature of Karma

Understand the nature of Karma

By SWAMI SHANTATMANANDA | 15 October, 2016

Devotees would often come to Sri Ramakrishna desiring to understand the nature of Karma. Apparently good and honest people are subject to tremendous hardships and sufferings. They would ask Sri Ramakrishna as to why such things are happening and whether God does not protect those who are devoted to Him. Sri Ramakrishna would patiently explain to them about the effects of Karma. Hindu scriptures believe in the theory of Karma, according to which human beings experience happiness or misery according to their deeds in their past lives. Those who had done good or meritorious acts in their previous lives, enjoy the good fruits or results of such actions in subsequent lives. But those who had done wicked deeds or sinful acts, suffer the effects of such actions in subsequent lives. Normally, each individual goes through a mixture of good and bad experiences, depending upon the Karmas of previous births. But then, is there no redemption or way out? Again the scriptures assure that prayer, japa, meditation and other spiritual disciplines, as well as devotion to God can redeem human beings from the sins of their past lives. But that does not mean that their existential circumstances would be totally changed or that they need not have to bear or suffer the fruits of the actions of previous births. Sri Ramakrishna would narrate a beautiful example to highlight this idea. It is believed that a bath in the Ganga, which is considered an extremely holy river, purifies a man and liberates him. It seems a blind man took bath in the Ganga. He was freed from all his sins, but his blindness was not removed. So, God too does not interfere in a bizarre way to upset the Law of Karma. But He would lift the mind of the devotee in such a way so that he is not troubled by his sufferings due to the effects of past Karmas.

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