Selections from THE ABSOLUTE LAW OF KARMA by PANDIT SHRIRAM SHARMA ACHARYA
We shall now proceed to correlate the three categories of karmas and their samskars with the three types of miseries suffered by man. Samskars are produced by each of three categories of karmas, known in spiritual parlance as – (i) Sanchit Karmas (ii) Prarabdha Karmas and (iii) Kriyaman Karmas. Let us keep in mind that as Chitragupta, the inner conscience of man, which is impartial, pure and wise, goes on recording each and every good and evil deed for dispensing justice of high integrity.
(Involuntary Mental Karmas)
Unknown to the conscious mind of the individual, association with good and bad company leaves some impressions on the psyche. Unless willingly and consciously accepted, samskars produced in this process are faint, week in potency and feebly reactive. The karmas, which produce such week samskars, are known as Sanchit Karmas. These samskars remain stored in some odd corner of the inner consciousness, buried in dormant state. Then there are karmas unwillingly, reluctantly performed under compulsion or in a state of helplessness. If one is forced to carry out such karmas with revulsion and these are not made into a habit, these too fall in the category of Sanchit Karmas.
Being extremely feeble, the samskars produced by Sanchit Karmas may remain in a dormant state in the psyche for thousands of years through successive births. These samskars generally remain inactive, but if a suitable stimulant is provided to them by deliberate, strong, conscious repetition of similar deeds, these, too become active. In the company of strong healthy horses, a lame horse too begins to trot.
With good soil and adequate rains even rotten seeds germinate. Association with identical samskars makes the week samskars gain strength, whereas if the past samskars repeatedly come in contact with the opposite type of samskars, the former are completely wiped out. If for a long duration evil samskars face a long continuous inflow of good samskars, the latter destroy them totally. As a matter of fact, the good as well as bad Sanchit Samskars bear fruit in favourable environments and are destroyed when confronted with an adverse milieu. Pilgrimages and rituals recommended in religious practices are meant to wipe out the weak, evil samskars accumulated as Sanchit Karmas.
(Karmas done with strong emotional involvement):
Mental karmas, which are voluntarily, deliberately performed under strong emotional stimuli, are known as Prarabdha Karmas. Being motivated by intense emotions, such karmas produce powerful samskars. Reactions of violent acts like murder, robbery, betrayal, felony or immoral passionate acts like adultery are very strongly felt by the inner conscience. Its innate spiritual purity is ever eager to get rid of this extraneous deleterious impurity at the earliest opportunity.
It has already been mentioned that our inner conscience keeps a constant watch over each of our karmas and determines greater or lesser punishment for each offence according to the nature of the act. A mental chastisement for a mental offence is however not possible without the help of other means. For giving an appropriate punishment, the inner conscience waits for a suitable environment in the subtle world (Sukshma Lok in spiritual parlance, where the divine system correlates samskars and creates environment for justice).
Occasionally this process is spread over a long time. For instance, for redemption of a mental sin of treachery, the sinner is required to be punished by grief. Chitragupta evaluates the grade of treachery to decide the degree of sorrow required for atonement. For punishing a murderer, the divine system will associate the soul of the sinner with the soul of an individual who, according to its own karmas, can inflict the same degree of pain and grief on the sinner, which latter has caused to the aggrieved person. For instance, Chitragupta may plan birth of a son or daughter in the family of the sinner, who (the new born) is destined to die at a young age according to its own past karmas. The inner conscience of the killer will wait for grief-producing event when the son/daughter meets death by disease or accident. In this way, for samskars carried over to next life, divine justice creates an environment for punishment equivalent to the sin.
It is obvious that this process is not unilateral. Divine justice makes souls of both the sinner and the sinned interact in complementary environment. This complex process at time takes several cycles of life and death. We know that in this world, too, it requires a long time and consideration of numerous factors before two individuals become life partners as husband and wife. (The popular saying that “Marriages are made in heaven” indirectly refers to the coincidence of samsakars of the bride and the groom. The pain of separation in a divorce, too, is a consequence of sinful karmas of past lives.)
We may further try to understand the course of divine justice by an analogy in a natural phenomenon. A shrub in Africa called Venus grows to a height of about three meters. Out of its branches spread out thin thread-like offshoots. These keep on growing and swaying in the air till they meet another shrub and they become mutually intertwined. Sometimes these shrubs meet each other barely after a growth of a few centimeters, whereas the others succeed in doing so after growing for a few meters. This is the way the fruits of karmas ripen for interaction over different spans of time.
The punishment for the exclusively physical sins is physical and is given without much delay. (Consumption of poison results in immediate death.) Mental chastisement, on the other hand, is neither instantaneous nor is it unilateral. For instance, if, because of his cruel nature, someone commits a murder and is caught red-handed, the state awards a death sentence. On the contrary, if the killer commits the offence secretly, the inner conscience does not punish him immediately. It would wait for an environment for creating in his psyche an aversion for violence, by making the sinner feel the same degree of pain, which was felt by his victim. That is why, at times, morally vile persons are found rejoicing and righteous ones suffering in life. The enforcer of Divine Law takes time in preparing an appropriate environment for dispensing just rewards and punishments.
At times, yogis having paranormal powers make accurate predictions about the future events. It should not create the misconception that life is strictly bound by rigid predestination. The future course of life undoubtedly depends on past karmas. By virtue of paranormal powers the futurologists and seers are able to foresee the ultimate outcome of the Prarabdha Karmas. In this world, too, we can often predict the probable future on the basis of a comprehensive data. On learning details of legal proceedings an experienced juror may foretell the judgment to be delivered. It does not mean that there is no relevance of prosecutors, defendants, evidence, lawyers and cross-examinations. Foretelling of events also does not mean that certain events can be correlated to some particular past Prarabdha Karmas. In fact, fate and self-effort (Taqdeer and Tadbeer) are two faces of the same coin. Self-efforts (karmas) are given the name of destiny when they beer fruit.
We may compare the current karma with any raw fruit, which is going to ripen in future as destiny. The fate of today is the karmas of the past. If karma stands for an infant calf, Prarabdha is the state acquired by it late in life as an aged cow. The word Prarabdha is frequently misunderstood as predestined though Prarabdha Karmas and Prarabdha (fate) are two names given to the same phenomena- with a time lag in between.
Misfortune occurs in life in a particular order and according to a well-defined process of divine justice, but people reconcile to their inevitability by believing in so-called “Wrath of God”, “God’s Will” or “Natural woeful state of this world”. As a matter of fact, God neither creates any good fortune nor misfortune for anybody, nor He/She (God is not gender-specific as a biological being) desires to put anyone in distress. Nor is this world wholly full of woes. A spider gets confined and entangled in its own self-woven web. Similarly, man himself makes his mind vicious, undisciplined, corrupt and sinful andwhen the evil mind works to create a distressing situation, he weeps, wails and blames others- including God. Here it should be clearly understood that the fruits of Prarabdha are always received as abrupt unprecedented events. (e.g., unexpected death due to disease or accident, collapsing of a house, winning a jackpot, injury due to accident, accidental loss of limbs or cessation of vital functions of body.)
God does not involve other beings directly in enforcing divine justice for a couple of reasons. One: The person enforcing divine punishment on behalf of God would create resentment against his own self-thus beginning a chain of counter reaction between himself and the person being punished. It would increase turbulence of mind. Two: The enforcer would have to be unnecessarily involved in the complex process of cause-effect by committing undesired karmas and reaping their fruits.
Here, we may once again recapitulate the characteristics of Sanchit Karmas and Prarabdha Karmas. Whereas Sanchit Karmas bear fruits only on coming across a suitable environment or otherwise get destroyed in a counter environment, the Prarabdha Karmas invariably bear fruit, though it may take a period of several life cycles. The current activities being knowingly carried out are Prarabdha Karmas, whereas the unexpected, sudden happenings are the fruits of past Prarabdha Karmas. Any failure in life due to indolence is definitely not due to Prarabdha Karmas of the past. Unlike the Prarabdha Karmas, the physical Kriyaman Karmas (discussed hereafter) bear definite fruits within a short time.
Physical actions fall in the category of Kriyaman Karmas. These produce co current results. Consumption of drugs is followed by intoxication. Death follows consumption of poison. Human body is made up of five natural basic elements. Interaction between these natural elements produces immediate reaction. As soon as we touch fire, fingers are burnt. Laws of nature govern interactions between natural elements. Defiance of these laws invites almost constant punishment by nature.
When the physical body is compelled to live on foods and habits incompatible with its physiology, there is an immediate disturbance in the natural balance of the body, which results in disease, and weakening of the harmonious working of the biological system. This is nature’s mechanism for rectification. (Vegetarianism is meant for human species, since contrary to the physiology of the carnivorous man has been provided with smaller canine teeth and larger intestine as compared to carnivorous. The smaller intestines of the carnivore do not let accumulation of residual toxins of animal fat in the body. Besides, the flesh-eating animals are provided with long tongues. The vegetarians use their lips for consuming liquids). Physical Karmas are mechanically carried out by the body without any emotional involvement unlike Sanchit and Prarabdha Karmas, they produce fruits in a short time.