By Awdhesh Singh
Karma is one of the most important principles of Indian philosophy and religion. Karma yoga (Union by Karma) has been advocated as one of the paths of salvation in Hinduism. The effect of karma is said to be eternal. Gita states that every one has to bear the consequence of his karma in this life. If the effect of karma has not exhausted, one has to take birth repeatedly to face the consequence of one's karma.
The principle of Karma is applicable in every religion. In Bible it is clearly said,
"Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap." (Galatians 6:7 KJV).
Lord further states in Bible
"and I will give unto every one of you according to your works." (Revelation 2:23c KJV)
However, it is impossible for a man not to commit an action that is bad. That is why many religions declare man to be a sinner by nature and any action against the scripture is termed as sin. A sin is punishable not only in this world but also in the other world. All human beings, however, commit sin as to err is human. However, once a person realizes his errors and sins, there seems to have no escape as the laws of karma are said to be eternal and he has to face the consequence of all his actions.
Scriptures provide several methods for eradicating the consequence of bad Karma. These may be summarized as following.
(1) Right Karma
The simplest and most logical method to avert the consequence of bad karma is by engagement in the acts that are good karma. If one does good karma much more than the bad karma, naturally he would have more of good karma in his balance, and he would not have to face the consequences of bad karma. So if you have abused some one, the opposite karma like loving the person and seeking forgiveness can help one to overcome the effect of bad karma. If you have acquired too mush of wealth, you can give up all and get rid of the consequences of the sin of the accumulation of disproportionate wealth.
These acts are often called ritual or the ideals of the religion which everyone is advised to follow. Some of these good karmas are
Charity: It is opposite to accumulation of wealth which is prohibited
Fasting: It is opposite of gluttony or excess eating
Celibacy: It is opposite of sexual indulgence
Prayer: It is opposite of seeking the material wealth
Pilgrimage: It is opposite of worldly pursuits for material gain
Service: It is opposite to the exercise of power
Thus by following the positive karmas, one can remove the effect of the negative karmas done by a person in this life or even in previous lives. These actions are therefore, advocated in all religions as rituals or compulsory actions to be performed by the believers.
This principle, though seems very simple, is actually quite difficult in real life. It is like dieting. If you have eaten too much of food and gained weight, then the simplest solution to lose weight is to reduce your food intake. Yet everyone knows how difficult it is for an overweight person to do dieting. It is because, contrary to the popular belief, man is not really free to think and act as Lord Krishna says in Gita
"All Actions is entirely done by the nature of the soul (of man). Man deluded by his ego thinks, "I am the doer". (Gita, III 27)
Thus there is tremendous resistance from the mind and body in doing an action which is contrary to the nature of the person. Every action against the nature creates a reaction in the person which makes it extremely difficult to sustain such actions for long.
Further, some bad karmas can never be reverted. For example, if you have killed a person, you can't make him live and reverse the consequence of your bad karma. Thus the good karma theory has only limited application as the opposite of most of the bad karmas are either not possible or too difficult to perform.
(2) Right Knowledge
The source of all action is knowledge. Therefore the right knowledge is the guarantee of doing good as no person can commit any wrong if he has the proper knowledge. However, most people confuse data or information with knowledge. Knowledge is about knowing a thing so well that it has become a conviction. Most people are confused about the knowledge as they have plenty of information which are contrary to each other and they do not know which one is true.
Knowledge has always been considered to a virtue. Knowledge is considered to be one of the seven gifts of Holy Spirit. Therefore, if one has the right knowledge, he is inhabited by God and there is no chance that he can commit any sin. In other words, an evil person can not have knowledge as both are contradictory to each other. Socrates has rightly said,
"The only good is knowledge and the only evil is ignorance."
Lord Krishna highlights the importance of knowledge in Gita and shows the path of knowledge for the salvation or union with God. He says,
"When thou has gained this knowledge, O Pandava, thou shall not again fall into error; by virtue of it thou shall see all beings without exception in thyself and thus in Me. Even thou be the most sinful of sinners, thou shall cross the ocean of sin by the boat of knowledge."(Gita 4:35-36)
How does mere possession of knowledge can make a person free from sin? Does karma plays no role into it?
Knowledge is not something to be possessed. What is possession is nothing but information which like any material possession can be passed on to others. Information becomes knowledge only when it becomes one with the Self. Thus here is practically no difference between "knower", "known" and "knowledge". Knowledge is the verbal or physical representation of what a person knows. And a person can know only what he is. This is evident from following incident narrated in Bible
Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them (Matthew 7:15-20)
Thus as the man acquires the right knowledge, it transforms him automatically. As and when a man acquires the true knowledge, he becomes free from all the sins and the effect of bad karma.
The right knowledge can be acquired through the study of scriptures, from good teachers or from the self by asking the questions repeatedly and seeking the answers from within.
(3) Unconditional Devotion
While acquisition of knowledge is the easiest way to overcome the effect of bad karma et it suits only those who are educated and have an aptitude of learning. It is most difficult for the illiterate and uneducated people. Moreover, knowledge acquisition is a long process which may take years to acquire with great effort.
Hence all scriptures also provide a much easier method for making oneself sinless or free from the effect of bad karma. This path is called the path of unconditional surrender to God. By surrender, the person transforms himself by the power of the soul which has become one with the God or Holy Spirit just like rivers become one with sea once they surrenders their identity to sea.
This eternal truth is revealed in all religions. In Gita Lord Krishna says,
On Me fix thy mind, to Me bring thy devotion, to Me offer thy sacrifice, to Me thy obeisance; to Me indeed shall thou come, solemn is My promise to thee, thou are dear to Me. Abandon all duties and come to Me the only refuse. I will release thee from all sins; grieve not.(Gita, 18: 65-66)
In Koran it is said,
But whosoever surrenders his purpose to Allah while doing good his reward is with his Lord, and there shall no fear come upon them. (Koran, 2: 112)
Bible too preaches the unconditional surrender to God in following words,
Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. (Mathew: 16: 24-25)
Unconditional surrender to God transforms the soul of the person due to its contact with God or the Holy Spirit and cleans it from all the sins. This is the simplest and easiest way for most people in this world.
Eradicate Bad Karma: Live the Life of Bliss
Every person commits error in his life. Yet once he realizes, his mistakes, there are ample opportunities to rectify the error and live life of righteousness again. Only a man free from sin can get the blessing of God and experience the true happiness and joy in this world. A man of action may follow the path of God Karma while the man of knowledge can become sinless by the having the right knowledge. However, the easiest method to others is the path of Devotion that comes from the total surrender to God. Choose the one that you intuitively feel is the best method for you.
Dr. Awdhesh K Singh is an Engineer by education and philosopher by passion. He holds his PhD degree in the area of E-Governance.
He has published several papers in International Journals and Conferences on the subject of E-governance and the application of Artificial Intelligence tools like Fuzzy Logic (FL) and Expert Systems (ES) for E-governance.
He has keen interest in the study and application of Religion, Spirtuality and Philosophies for solving the real-life problems of the modern world.
Many of his articles are published on the website of Aatmic Science Forum and Science of Soul.
His can be contacted on the email aksinghirs [a] yahoo.com
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