Discussion in 'Hinduism' started by murugan, Mar 25, 2011.
What is Karma?
What goes around, comes around.
Karma is the idea that a record of our deeds (good and bad) stays with us. Good deeds will mean better opportunities for us in the future. Conversely, we will need to make amends for the bad things we do. Specifically, a good deed or a bad deed may mean good or bad things happening to us in a future life.
I'm a little confused. You are from India and from your website link I'm guessiing you are Hindu. Is this right? If so I am wondering why you need to ask 'what is karma?' on the Hindu sub-forum here?
For the record! -
Karma is a Sanskrit word meaning action or deed. After this, one would have to specify which context the word was being used; it is treated differently in Hindu, Buddhist, Jain and Sikh philosophies.
From its origins in India it has been given other meanings, specifically by the New Age and Theosophy movents. AndrewX and Nick the Pilot are both Theosophists I think, and have provided the Theosophical viewpoint. AndrewX's phrase is the very phrase used in the Theosophy section of the Wikipedia entry on karma for instance.
More generally the term has come to enter the common lexicon of the West, transmitted through a haze of 60's hippiedom.
This is exactly what I think Karma is not. A record? Where is this record kept? Who is keeping it? How does this record know how and when to extract its reward? How does your karmic record influence others to cooperate in its designs?
"This is exactly what I think Karma is not."
--> I guess we just have to agree to disagree on this one.
"Where is this record kept?"
--> The record is called the Akashic Record. It is kept on planes of consciousness that are above our physical plane of existence:
Akashic records - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
"Who is keeping it?"
--> We (our Higher Selves) keep it ourselves
"How does this record know how and when to extract its reward?"
--> I believe we decide ourselves, before we are born, how and when to extract it. I believe we decide on all the major events of our impending life before that life ever begins.
"How does your karmic record influence others to cooperate in its designs?"
--> It provides opportunities. If it is our karma to be seriously injured, a house may fall on us, or another accident may occur. Or if it is our karma to become business partners with someone, we are guided to that person and provided the opportunity to be their business partner.
But sometimes a person has bad karma with another person from a previous reincarnation together, karma that the two people need to work out. They are provided with the opportunity to work it out. (I do marriage counseling, I feel that most married couples have been previously married in previous reincarnations together, and a lot of their present problems are bad karma that they have brought with them from a marriage in a previous reincarnation. A lot of people meet in this life, and pick up right where they left off in their previous reincarnation together — in both good and bad ways — and live out their marriage in this reincarnation.)
So what is the purpose of life if its already mapped out before we're born?
What is the role of free will?
What is the value of living if our higher selves already appear to know so much before we ever exit the womb?
the hindu and buddhist ideas of karma are not the same.
Yes. And this is an interfaith forum, where we have the opportunity to compare and contrast our beliefs.
Although I do see now that I am in the Hindu section. If my questions offend, I apologize. If you don't mind discussing the differences, then I am curious.
citizenzen, might I recommend an investigation of the Biblical phrase: "Book of God's Remembrance?" I think you'll find some of what you're looking for there, although Nick has already spoken to this same teaching ... as it exists in the Vedas [Akasha being Sanskrit].
Our higher selves, by the way, are not quite identical to the incarnate soul ... or that which is sent forth to experience life in the the three worlds [physical, astral, mental]. From the plane of higher mind, the Soul is regarded as a watcher, meditating on `its reflection' ... yet even while out of incarnation, when we "re-join" this aspect of our being, we nevertheless remain distinct individuals.
The idea, in short, is that our Soul once was a member of the human Kingdom, just as ourselves. Long ago, in a prior cycle of evolution, the Manasaputra [Son of Mind] attained to its own freedom, and hence it does not literally reincarnate, or project itself into the three lower worlds as we do. Rather, the Soul is incarnate on a `higher turn of the spiral,' and the densest plane of incarnation for it is the Higher Mental.
So, we have the relationship to the Soul of something like student to Teacher, although we also maintain our own vehicles of consciousness [formless, therefore not `bodies' as such, yet definitely a temporary means of expression for our Higher Principles] in the world of Higher Mind, and beyond. The Soul can be regarded as One which is nearly Perfect, in the same ways which we are currently striving to emulate ... with such figures as a Buddha, a Christ, a Master or an Arhat as demonstrating precisely what this Perfection looks like while yet we still remain in incarnation.
Any farther progression than a Buddha will remove us from this realm altogether, and although we continue our spiritual evolution elsewhere, we are no longer able to incarnate in the lower worlds at all. Because the Kingdoms overlap, however, a Master, a Buddha or a Christ is actually quite more advanced than our own Manasaputra [Soul] ... and therefore it is an entire study, unto itself, as to which `Soul Grouping' we find ourselves belonging to within the current Human Family, and what this will then entail.
Karma applies to Groups in addition to individuals, as also to the whole of Humanity, to other Kingdoms both sub- and super- ... and even to "the ONE in Whom we live, and move, and have our Being." Gods, too, incarnate ... and these are the Prajapatis, the Solar and Planetary Logoi, our sister and parent Suns, etc. We exist, only because They exist; what they are in Macrocosm, we are in microcosm. Big picture, little picture, etc.
"the hindu and buddhist ideas of karma are not the same."
--> And that difference is…?
"So what is the purpose of life if its already mapped out before we're born?"
--> Many people mistakenly assume that karma means we have a lack of free will. It does not. The example that is often given is, if it is our karma to travel from New York to Los Angeles, we will, but we might travel by car, train, airplane, etc. So only parts of our life are decided by us before we are born, not every minute aspect.
"What is the role of free will?"
--> It allows us to choose between making progress along the path to enlightenment, or be selfish and actually lose progress along the path. ("Bad" people actually lose progress along the path, which shows that everything in life is not already predestined. Who would predestine themselves to lose progress along the path?) The only real "god-given" right we have is to decide how much progress we will make along the path in this lifetime.
"What is the value of living if our higher selves already appear to know so much before we ever exit the womb?"
--> The value is great — we are presently unable to be conscious at the same level of consciousness as our Higher Self. The purpose of life is for us to raise up our consciousness up to that high level. Our Higher Self exists (we ARE our Higher Self), but our consciousness at that level is merely a dreamy half-existence. Our purpose in life is to become fully conscious at that higher level (which is why meditation is so important).
That may be a key difference here.
Zen Buddhists don't believe in a "higher" self or soul.
We don't believe in recording devices or afterlife plans, just the basic fumbling and stumbling most of us go through in life.
Yes, these are major differences between your belief system and mine. According to my belief system, yes we fumble and stumble through life, but it has a definite purpose.
What is that purpose?
The purpose is two-fold. First, we have to burn off all of our bad karma before we can achieve enlightenment. (I know a lot of people — especially Zen Buddhists — disagree with me on this, but this is what I believe.) The more we stumble and fumble, the more bad karma we burn off, and the faster we make progress towards enlightenment.
Second, our striving for and achieving enlightenment must be 100% our own idea. We cannot rely on any kind of coaxing or encouraging to achieve enlightenment. Only people who are totally committed to the huge sacrifices that enlightenment require (yes, enlightenment requires huge sacrifices, and most people are not aware of this) are ready to start making real progress towards achieving enlightenment, and it must be totally a free choice. It is the same as the question, "Why is there evil?" Here is a quote from Annie Besant (former Theosophical Society President):
"We sometimes hear the question, 'Why does God allow so much evil in the world?' The author quoted below is saying that we must freely choose to be good, and at the next level of existence only good people will be allowed in. We must allow people here at this level to be good or bad, so they can make that choice freely:
"And then the question arises - as I know it arises in many minds, for it has been put to me both in the East and in the West over and over again - why so much difficulty in the evolution, why so much apparent failure in the working, why should men go wrong so much before they go right, why should they run after the evil that degrades them instead of following the good that would ennoble them? Was it not possible for the LOGOS of our universe, for the Devas who are His Agents, for the great Manus who came to guide our infant humanity - was it not possible for Them to plan so that there might be no such apparent failure in the working out? Was it not possible for Them to guide so that the road might have been a straight and direct one instead of so devious, so circuitous?
"Here comes the point that makes the evolution of humanity so difficult, having in view the object which is to be gained. Easy in truth would it have been to have made a humanity that might have been perfect, easy to have so guided its dawning powers that those powers might have traveled towards what we call the good continually, and never have turned aside towards what we call evil. But what would have been the condition of such an easy accomplishment? It must have been that man would have been an automaton, moved by a compelling force without him which imperiously laid upon him a law which he was compelled to fulfil, from which he could not escape. The mineral world is under such a law; the affinities that bind atom to atom obey such an imperious compulsion. But as we rise higher we find greater and greater freedom gradually making its appearance, until in man we see a spontaneous energy, a freedom of choice, which is really the dawning manifestation of the God, of the Self, which is beginning to show itself through man. And the object, the goal which was to be attained, was not to make automata who should blindly follow a path sketched out for their treading, but to make a reflection of the LOGOS Himself, to make a mighty assemblage of wise and perfected men who should choose the best because they know and understand it, who should reject the worst because by experience they have learnt its inadequacy and the sorrow to which it leads. So that in the universe of the future, as amongst all the great Ones who are guiding the universe of today, there should be unity gained by consensus of wills, which have become one again by knowledge and by choice, which move with a single purpose because they know the whole, which are identical with the Law because they have learned that the Law is good, who choose to be one with the Law not by an outside compulsion, but by an inner acquiescence. Thus in that universe of the future there will be one Law, as there is in the present, carried out by means of Those who are the Law by the unity of Their purpose, the unity of Their knowledge, the unity of Their power - not a blind and unconscious Law, but an assemblage of living beings who are the Law, having become divine. There is no other road by which such goal might be reached, by which the freewill of the many should reunite into the one great Nature and the one great Law, save a process in which experience should be garnered, in which evil should be known as well as good, failure as well as triumph. Thus men become Gods, and because of the experience that lies behind them, they will, they think, they feel, the same."
Besant, Annie, The Path of Discipleship, paragraphs 3-4 (online)
Theosophy : Path of Discipleship by Annie Besant : AnandGholap.net
What a beautiful, concise summary ... a clear statement of the Vision!
Andrew, I agree. Another Theosophical writer said that we will all become psychic in another several thousand years. At that time, all religious differences will disappear. (It is a day I am very much looking forward to.)
This also shows that humanity as a whole is making progress along the path to enlightenment. There are times when it does not seem like it (just look at all the reports of war and religious hatred in the news), but yes we are. The day will come when war and religious hatred are things of the past.
I just now settled in my motherland India after many years. I just came across the site once browsing liked it very much so have kept as my favorite site. I am not introduced to hindu religion deeply, so have participated in the forum to learn more snoopy.
We need more Hindus to learn from, murugan!
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