Is Karma practically relevant?

by Chaitanya Charan dasOctober 16, 2011

Question: Do philosophical concepts like karma have any practical relevance in today’s world?

Answer: Certainly. Let’s see how.

Imagine a city with an entrance notice: “Welcome. There is no police force in this city; please follow the laws.” How many people will follow the laws? Very few, if any.

Today’s world has become like that no police city. The law enforcement system is known to be weak and corrupt. Consequently, people think, “If I am just clever enough, influential enough or cunning enough, then I can do whatever I want and I can get away with it.” Moreover, due to the prevailing godless educational system, most people no longer understand that they are accountable to God for their actions. That’s why more and more people are becoming immoral and even criminal. In India, for instance, as per the National Crime Records Bureau, incidences of crime since the early days of independence has gone up by more than 5 times. The western countries fare no better, with the UK recording an average of more than 2 violent attacks every minute (a very high figure for such a small country) and the US having the highest imprisonment rate in the world.

So, if we want people to return to morality, we need to educate them of the divine law of karma, which holds them accountable for all of their actions. As is rightly said, fear of God is the beginning of wisdom, just like for a child, fear of the parent is generally the main impetus for study. How many of us have been chastised by our parents and forced to study? Almost everyone, sometime or the other. At that time, we didn’t find it pleasant, but later on we appreciate our parents for what they did. For most people, fear is an essential, even indispensable, impetus for duty.

That’s why, if there is no proper understanding of the law of karma and the fear of the karmic reactions, most people will have no impetus to live with moral integrity.

Of course, fear of God is only the beginning of wisdom; love of God is the culmination. When love for God activates our innate ethical and spiritual value system, based on the understanding that God is our greatest well wisher, then we willingly desist from immoral behavior and persist in moral behavior. But obviously, we cannot attain the culmination of wisdom without even beginning the journey. Hence karmic knowledge has to be the basis of morality and so is supremely relevant in today’s world.

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Chaitanya Charan das
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