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Raj Kumar Makkad (Adv P & H High Court Chandigarh)     22 February 2010


Every time you see a child tapping for alms at your window, or children suffering from leukemia or any other ailment, or young lives snuffed out in their prime, or elderly people incapacitated in their sunset years, somewhere deep within you, there is a sense of sadness. Regardless of the fact that you may not even know them. It's just the emotions stirred at that point in time.


And mulling over this, brings a story to the fore from the Buddhist lore. Once upon a time, a lady who had lost her child, went to the Buddha weeping inconsolably. She pleaded with him to bring the child back to life.


The Buddha advised, "As for pain, sorrow and death, go to a 100 houses and get a piece of cloth from just one family that has not traversed the path. Come back. If you find such a family, I will breathe life into your son".


She thought this was a no-brainer. But as she went from house to house, for days on end she couldn't find a single family bereft of pressure, tension, pain and bereavement. Dismayed, she went back to the Buddha. He explained that we are all transients and life is ephemeral, reiterating the need for detachment which the Gita says as well. Detachment in every form, can lead to the end of the transmigration of the soul and merging with the maker.


In this context, the law of karma underpins the transmigration of the soul. "Karma" is "action". The Gita says that whatever we are in this life and whatever birth we take in the next life when the soul leaves this body and migrates elsewhere, is the outcome of our actions, good and bad.


Three forms of human actions determine the path of our karma. First, actions that are uplifting, where you think beyond yourself, that is "karma" which elevates. Second, actions that are not good, actions accomplished with an ulterior motive, even thought processes where you degrade someone or spread negative vibes, that is "vikarma". And the third is "akarma", that is actions dictated by a sense of duty, unfettered by any kind of attachment and devoid of any egotism. Akarma is the liberator.


Swami Chinmayananda has succinctly summed up the law of karma. "Every moment of our life, we are not only living the fruits of our past actions, but also creating those of tomorrow". Every action is recorded in the book of God. He rewards or admonishes us based on this. Swami Chinmayananda says, "The law of karma is based upon the final conclusion that this life is not an end in itself. It is just one of the little incidents in our eternal existence". A sage advice that stems from this, is traverse the path of good.


The law of karma is a great moral compass that sets a fine direction to our life's trajectory.




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