When something happens, how do we decide whether it was due to past karma or present actions?
Transcription: Rekha Kasibhatta Mataji
Question: Whenever good or bad things happen, they are due to our past good or bad karma but then the actions that we do now which bring those results also matter. So how do we draw the line between deciding which actions are a result of past karma and which actions are a result of the present action? Which things happen as a result of the past karma and which are due to the present actions that one has done or how does one decide what’s the balance between the two in contributing to the results that we get or things that happen?
Answer: In the real life events as Krishna says in the 4th Chapter gahana karmano gatih – how karma works is difficult to understand; it’s almost incomprehensible to the human mind. So we can understand the broad principles and the most important principle is to recognize that we are not meant to use karma, our past karma as a justification for neglecting our duty and for becoming lazy. As Krishna says ma te sango stv akarmani in 2.47 – do not be attached to not doing your work also. So as long as we have put in our best endeavor and after that results don’t come out well then we can say ok this is the result of past bad karma or sometimes we ourselves know that we put in half-hearted efforts but somehow other cuffing clicked together very nicely and we got a very good result. So that’s also possible. So, normally what we should do is focus as far as our practical actions are concerned in terms of doing the best that we can and whether we attain success or failure we also look back after the event has happened and see how we could have improved whatever we have done; what we can learn from it and then move forward in life. So now suppose I fall sick; I get a stomach upset. Can I just say it was because of my past karma? Well, it’s possible but it’s highly obvious if I look what I have eaten recently and has it contributed to it? May be I’m sensitive to a particular food item which I have to be careful about but sometimes I find even if I have eaten perfectly normally, still I get a stomach upset then I understand this is because of past karma. So, normally with respect to our practical conduct we try to look for the causes in the immediate past and that’s how we function at a day-to-day level and that’s how we will live. When a mother finds the child is crying, she doesn’t think she is crying because of past karma; she tries to find out what’s the cause immediately and then she finds although she is trying to take care of the child but this child has a tendency to cry more than the other children or cry more than my other children. So that’s possible; that may just be the inclination also;so that factor can’t be neglected. So, with respect to action, once we get into the zone of destiny or trying to get into the zone of what factor destiny contributed in getting the results, then we can get into an exasperating and frustrating sort of situation because we just are not able to comprehend. But what we should focus on is just look at well in the circumstances as well as I could endeavor, did I do that much. Now somebody might say we can always we can never do as well as we could have; we could always have better endeavor; that’s true but in the circumstances whatever we are in could we have done something better? If I could, I’ll try to do that in the future. If I have done what I could in this situation and still the results came adversely that means there is a factor of destiny involved. So we don’t get too much caught in this. I have answered a series of questions on destiny much more elaborately. Just go through thespiritualscientist.com and search for destiny. You find almost 8-10 questions are there. There you can understand the concept more in detail. Thank you. Hare Krishna.