When we see cause-effect relationship within this life itself, doesn’t that make karma irrelevant?

by Chaitanya CharanApril 25, 2012

From: Amit Gupta

Thanks for nice initiative

Laws of karma says that you reap benefits of your past work good or bad. But in this world we see people who work hard in this life and are successful. And it is 99.9 % of the cases that if you work hard you can climb up materially in life. Thats only reason why people work so hard. There are some who dont succeed so much because resources are limited and not everyone can be equal. Also, cause of people not succeeding materially is immediate. e.g. Someone did not study thats why he didnt get good grade. So, isn’t karma irrelevant.


Transcription: (By Anurag Pandey P)


Good question and your very point of seeing the connection between cause and effect indicates the validity of Law of Karma. Our day to day observation shows us that there is a cause effect correlation in the world. Causes produce effects and if we examine effects they have been originating in some causes. This cause and effect correlation we see with our own eyes in this life.


Now there are significant number of exceptional situation when the cause and effect correlation is not seen and it is the explanation of these which is important. That is where our knowledge will expand.


At the turn of 20th century, Newtonian physics has practically explained everything which was there in the realm of physics except for the two small problems. One was the problem of integrating gravity into the framework of reality, what exactly was gravity that not understood, and second was the problem of black body radiation.


For all practical purposes the inability to explain this phenomenon did not make much difference. So, Newtonian physics was being used to develop technology. However the attempt to explain these two phenomenon led to the development of two of the most significant branches of physics. From the black body radiation phenomenon emerged quantum physics and for explaining gravity, and putting it into holistic structure, came the concept of space and time and whole theory of relativity from Einstein.


In general in the history of Science or rather in the history of human knowledge acquisition of knowledge of humanity expands when we look at the peripheries of our current knowledge. If we look at the center whatever framework we have, it seems to explain things satisfactorily. So, there are significant number of exceptions where a person studies but doesn’t get good marks. A person studies very little but whatever he studies comes in the exam and he gets good marks.


One way to explain it away is just ‘by chance’ and chance is not a very satisfactory explanation. Because firstly it contradicts the observation of cause and effect correlation that we see in life and secondly it just leaves us helpless. It doesn’t empowers us.It doesn’t broaden our understanding or increases our confidence. 


If we want to understand how this cause and effect principal is universal then the Vedic wisdom tradition tells us that we need to extend this cause and effect connection before this birth and beyond this birth. In that way we can explain all the incidents which are happening in our life and in the world.


The law of karma is essentially the law of cause and effect. The evidence of cause and effect doesn’t disprove the law of karma. It rather acts as an empirical viable subset for the broader law of karma and the law of karma help us explain even those phenomenon which don’t fall within this subset.


It is undeniable that there are many situations where despite once best effort one doesn’t get good results. And they are likely to be much more than 1% which you are saying. Even in our own life we can see many a times despite our efforts success don’t come in our life and other times even with the minimal efforts things work out right and successes do come.


Hence, it is  not that there are two laws, one cause and effect which we see in this life and the second called as law of karma. No, the cause and effect which we see in this life is subset of the broader principle of law of karma which extends before this life and beyond this life.


Thank You

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Chaitanya Charan

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