In the East they call it karma. This simply means that there is a consequences to your actions. It may be positive or negative it is simply the consequence or the karma of the action that you have taken. The point is that the consequence will happen anyway we have no choice about this. However, we can intervene in our karmic process, this is called Dharma. So, Karma is the consequence of action and Dharma is to act in the right way. In English the nearest word to Dharma is ‘Righteousness’ which means to act in the right way. The philosophy in both Ayurveda and Samkhya is that if you spend your life acting Dharmically you will minimise any negative Karma.
Should we face up to what we do?
In many societies the ability to ‘get away with it’ overrules the need to take responsibility for action. The criminal justice system is full of those who are not prepared to face what they have done. Many people will plead not guilty when they know that they are.
Cause and effect
As the effect, consequences or karma, is a universal law in the end it makes no difference whether or not we take responsibility now we will still be required to pay our debt of negative actions. Equally we will benefit from the consequence or karma from positive actions. We live in a universe of cause and effect.
I have been moved to address this issue in a podcast and a blog when today the news broadcast announced that the American lady who allegedly killed a young man on a motorbike and then flew back to the USA claiming diplomatic immunity has been asked to attend the UK court virtually. Now as this case is alleged we do not know if she is guilty or not. The fact that she ran away and failed to account for her actions does not seem to go in her favour. This leaves the questions ‘why would someone run away’ rather than being accountable?
We have the opposite issue of Prince Andrew who seems to be equally unwilling to go to the USA and answer the allegations being made against him involving the Epstein case.
In Beirut we have recently seen, following an horrendous explosion, the entire government resign. This would seem to be them taking responsibility for their actions and what happened. I am sure that as the story unfolds it will become clearer.
All around us are people who seem to feel that it is okay to act in ways that can hurt or damage other people without taking any responsibility for what they are doing. On social media trolling can be so destructive. Trolling is no different to physical bullying. Bullies, thieves, robbers and muggers all have devastating effects on their victims.
In some countries the law of ‘an eye for and eye and a tooth for a tooth’ means that the karma is paid back in full measure equally. This would mean that the young men who knowingly towed the police officer on the back of their car until they killed him would have exactly the same done to them.
Karma and Samskars
Have you ever had a tough day, a tough period in life, or felt like nothing else could go wrong and then said ‘I must have been a wicked person in a past life time for this to be happening to me now’? Well you might just be right. The word Dharma means to act in the right way. The word Karma means the consequence of your actions in this life time. The word Samskar means an unresolved karma that was created in a previous lifetime.
We have no way of proving that reincarnation is real but if it is then that means we do not get away with anything, that all debts will have to be paid in full, there are no free lunches, so to speak.
My teacher used to say to me ‘if you are honest there is nowhere you need to run and nothing that you need to hide’. He also said ‘if you act Dharmically in this life time your next life will so much easier’. He explained that the difference between those that were having easy, happy and successful lives were those carrying a light karmic load. Those that were having a difficult, unhappy life were those carrying a heavy karmic load.
In Christianity the concept of repentance suggests that negative karmas can be dissolved if we are genuinely sorry for what we have done. This would assume that we have learned something and seek forgiveness for our actions. Alongside that goes the concept that we should also be able to forgive others for their misdeeds against us.
The bottom line for me is that we are all responsible for what we do, there are no get out clauses. The laws of karma apply to us all whoever we are, politicians, business people, royalty, diplomats, all of us. The nearest that you get to this in Christianity is ‘Vengeance is mine sayeth the Lord’ or in other words no one gets away with anything. The choice is , do we face up to what we have done now or do we leave it until later? I don’t know if these unpaid karmic debts gain interest and the lessons become harder over time.
Take care, be kind, try to repair any damage that you do or have done, apologise and forgive and try and do the right thing.