In Kali-yuga, thoughts don’t incur reactions – what does that mean practically?
Transcribed by: Sudeep Naik
Time: 4 minutes
Question: In kali-yuga, thoughts don’t incur reactions – what does that mean practically?
Answer: This section comes in the first canto of Shrimad-Bhagavatam where Parikshit Maharaj allows Kali to come because Kali has one virtue that thoughts do not bear karmic reactions.
There are two different things – thoughts don’t bring karmic reaction but thoughts themselves can be a karmic reaction. Consider two people are walking on the road. One is an alcoholic and other is a sober person. If there is a bar along the way, the alcoholic will immediately think, “Let’s drink.” However, the sober person may not even notice the bar and go straight to his work. Why the thought of drinking popped-up in the alcoholic? That is a reaction to his previous actions. The thought “let’s drink” is not necessarily a sinful thought, but presence of that thought is a reaction of the action we have done in the past.
Secondly, although thoughts themselves don’t produce karmic reaction but if they are not processed then they will lead us to actions which will bring karmic reactions. If we let our thoughts not only just stay in mind but identify with them and entertain them then they will lead to an action.
A thought is an ancestor to a deed. Procreation happens from the ancestor to the descendent. If we give attention to the thought then that attention causes the thought to grow further. Although thought themselves may not lead to any karmic reaction but that does not mean we can nonchalantly entertain them within us. The thoughts grow because of the attention we give to them. More attention means more momentum to them. If thoughts get too much momentum it would be very difficult to control them.
Consider we are riding a horse. The horse sees a fruit off the road and starts moving in that direction. The horse has not completely gone off the road so there is no danger. However, if we don’t curb the horse and let it go, it will gain more and more momentum and then pulling it back will be much more difficult. Initially if the horse’s head has gone in that direction bring it back. If the horse started running in that direction pull it back. However, if the horse has gained speed, it would be very difficult to control. Similarly, initially if a thought pops up, then it is not much of a problem. Neglect it and move on. However, if we entertain the thought, it will start growing and more the thought grows it becomes like a horse which has gained momentum. Beyond a certain point the thought may irresistibly force us into action.