BASIC KNOWLEDGE

What are the principles of ‘Karm Philosophy’?

Karm

-There is seen some differences in views of certain scholars regarding eternal law of Karmas but every scholar agrees that no karm goes without generation of its fruit. All will reap what they sow. There are certain specific principles, which govern the whole karm philosophy. Let us try to know these basic principles of karm philosophy.

  1. Fruit precedes karm i. e. it is not possible to have fruit of a karm, which has not yet been executed.
  2. Only that person can give fruits of karmas, who realizes the whole concept regarding necessity of giving fruits of actions, besides having total or absolute knowledge of the karmas & operative penal codes e.g. judges, authorized to execute the offenders should understand the necessity of whole system of punishing the offenders besides having thorough knowledge of the action of the offender through various evidences and knowledge of various provisions of the operative penal codes.
  3. Not everyone is authorized to give fruits of karmas e.g. a passerby cannot execute the offenders. Only specific persons called judges are authorized to execute the offenders.
  4. Penalty imposed on the offender has to be borne by him without any complaint i.e. there is a limit up to which he can show his resentment against the verdict e.g. verdicts of lower courts and high courts can be challenged up to the level of supreme court of a country only.
  5. Persons helpful in execution of judgments / verdicts are rewarded and not penalized. e.g. the executor, employed in a jail is not held responsible of murders when he fulfills his duty of execution of death-sentences given by judges.
  6. No karm can escape its fruit.
  7. There is absolute freedom in doing the actions but once an action has been done, soul becomes dependent on receiving its fruit in accordance with God’s system.

First School of Thought on Karm Philosophy

-Pain or pleasure, received by a soul is solely because of his own actions.

Objections on this school of thought

-Pain or pleasure received by a person because of actions of others (in the form of effect or result) is not answered.

-Freedom of actions of souls is threatened.

-Accidental or untimely deaths are not logically answered.

-God is said to be taking help of none in doing His jobs, then how can He take the help of mortals in doing His job of giving fruits of actions of souls?

Second School of Thought on Karm Philosophy

-Pain or pleasure is received by one

  1. because of fruits of one's own actions e.g. pain received by a person on receiving sentence of stealing of belongings of other etc.
  2. because of actions of others in the form of effect or result of others'karms without any fault of his own e.g. pain received by family members of the person, whose belongings have bee stolen, pain received by a person because of theft of his belongings by another person.

Objections to this school of thought

-Where ruler is strong & efficient, no person can act to harm others for the fear of the Ruler. Governance of the ruler is measured by this fact. Where any person can harm any other without any fault of the other, governance of the ruler of that kingdom cannot be said to be strong & efficient. But this universe is ruled by God, who is strongest and most effecient.

Third School of Thought on Karm Philosophy

- Inert objects act as mean only for bringing pain or pleasure to a soul in accordance with his actions.

-Actions of other souls act as mean as well as reason for bringing pain or pleasure to a specific soul. When actions of other souls act as mean for bringing pain or pleasure to a soul, then that pain or pleasure to the soul is exactly in accordance with his actions. But when actions of other souls act as reason for bringing pain or pleasure to a soul, then pain or pleasure is received by the soul because of independence of actions of other souls and such pain or pleasure may or may not have been earned by that soul by his actions. Other souls act as mean for bringing pain or pleasure to a specific soul while performing his duties towards the soul as determined by the social status. Whereas, other souls act as reason for bringing pain or pleasure to a specific soul solely for their independence to act.

Objections to this school of thought

-Objection to this school of thought is similar to that against second school of thought i.e. if ruler of this world (God) is omnipotent & just, then how any person can harm any other without any fault of the other.

      On the deep subject like ‘karmphal’, the vedic philosophy tallies with the first school of thought which says that pain or pleasure, received by a soul is solely because of his own actions. However, for clarifying the objections to this school of thought we will take the help of the views of the scholars of other schools of thought also.

Clarifications of doubts:

-If a person receives pain or pleasure because of actions of others, then it is ultimately for the reason that he has earned that pain or pleasure through his past actions. Pain or pleasure cannot come to a person, if he has not earned it.

-By bringing pain or pleasure to another by his actions, a person does not act on behalf of God. It in no way declines freedom of actions of souls. God knows capacities & capabilities of all souls to bring pain or pleasure to others by their actions through His knowledge about their sansakaras, past actions etc. He (God) only uses those capacities & capabilities of the souls to bring pain or pleasure to others without interfering in the freedom of actions of souls.

-If a person dies accidentally because of action of another, then when it is said that that person met his death because of his own actions, it does not mean that the culprit acted as an agent of God to give pain to the other. But it means only that God used capacity of the culprit to give pain to the other, without interfering in his freedom of action. The victim of the accident earned his death because of his own actions. A person is free to act if he has the option to do that act or do it in a different way or not to do the act at all. Let’s try to explain it through an example. Suppose, ‘A’ is to be given 100 units of pain as a result of his actions. Now, to give that pain to him God selects a person ‘B’, who may be his relative or a friend or anyone else, knowing B’s circumstances and capabilities to the fullest. ‘B’, using his freedom of action may give 100 units or 80 units of pain or no pain at all to ‘A’. If ‘B’ is successful in giving 100 units of pain to ‘A’, then God’s karm to give fruit of action (s) of ‘A’ is complete. But if ‘B’ because of his freedom of action gives only 80 units of pain or no pain to ‘A’, then God’s karm to give fruit of action (s) of ‘A’ is not complete. He may select another person (different from ‘B’) or give ‘B’ another chance to give balance quantity of pain to ‘A’ through another act of his (Since, God has perfect knowledge about the circumstances, capacities and capabilities of all souls, souls do exactly in accordance with God’s estimations.) Let’s take this example on a higher platform to club it with certain other principles of ‘karm Philosophy’. Let’s imagine in the instant example that though ‘B’ is successful in giving 100 units of pain to ‘A’ but because of God’s grace ‘A’ is able to experience only 50 units of pain, even then A’s account of pain will be debited with full 100 units.

-When we say that God selects a being for bringing pain or pleasure to another being, we do not mean to say that God inspires selected beings for doing a particular thing. There is a belief that God inspires beings for doing or not doing an act but this is wrong. God never inspires beings for doing or not doing an act. The feelings of fear, enthusiasm etc. are generated by Him, only after souls decide to do a bad act or a good act. He (God) only bestows man with bliss, intelligence, power, patience etc. during Upasana by man or during prayer done by man in problem. Even, God’s grace is nothing but selection of beings by Him to bestow on them bliss, intelligence, power, patience etc.

Also, thoughts of a person cannot bring pain or pleasure to another. These thoughts should be converted into actions to be able to bring pain or pleasure to another. God in no way affects our thoughts and then our actions to bring pain or pleasure to another.

If we believe that God affects our thoughts, then fruits of those thoughts should not be borne by man since man was not independent in thinking that way. One basic condition of ‘Karmphal Philosophy’ is ‘bearer of fruit should be independent’, which is lacking in the belief that God inspires beings for thinking and then doing a particular act. Soul is free to think and act.

-Being omniscient, God has the perfect knowledge of the capacities & capabilities of a man and selects him for bringing pain or pleasure to another. Till the man selected by God actually acts, pain or pleasure brought by him to another are only estimates. Immediately on execution of his actions, God comes to know of them. Because of God’s perfect knowledge of the capacities & capabilities of a man, the man acts perfectly in accordance with God’s estimates. This develops wrong notions that man is not independent to do a thing and he acts in accordance with God’s directions.

-By saying that God takes help of none in giving fruits of actions of souls, we do not mean that God does not use living and non-living things of His universe as instruments in His this job. Giving birth to a good soul by God to learned parents is not at all disputed.