Karma is still the most perplexing spiritual jargon. Past life karmas , reincarnation, happiness, sorrows many and many such notion complicate it further.
When a lion hunts down a deer for brunch a karma is done by the lion and along with this karma three things happen simultaneously. The lion survives (good for lion) the deer dies (bad for deer) and the food chain gets balanced (general good for all ). Krishna is talking about this general good calling it the dharma- sansthapna in the light of man made social systems.
Hatho va prapshasi swargam
Jitwo va bhogshsye mahem
Tatho va yuddhisht kauntai
Yuddhaye krit nishchayah.
Balancing of the food chain is not about good nor bad but a necessity, not confined to the subject or the object (lion and the deer) in the above example. In every case where nishkamta is there and the non dual eyes see the general welfare behind the act then the action becomes pious on its own accord. For exatIf I write this blog for reputation it is a sakam -karm based on my desire to get readership but if I write out of my love for writing and for the sake of some impot message that must be conveyed for human welfare then I am a nishkam karm Yogi beyond any doubt.
With humans there is a choice to ‘ think’ and as thinking can pe positive or negative the actions that come out of thinking thinking are bound to oscillate between negative or positive poles like a swinging pendulum. Sakam karma hence always binds the doer with the mundane while nishkam karma is always liberating. It is related to the cosmic will that happens naturally just like the balancing of the food chain had happened in the above mentioned example of the lion and the deer.
William Shakespeare had written something beautiful in this context.
“Bloody instructions being taught return to plague the inventor. The even handed justice commands the ingredients of our poisoned chalice to our own lips” (Macbeth)
In our dual perception of right and wrong confined to good or bad all problems embark . So if you are obsessed with “Oh it must be the result of my past life karmas and so on and so forth then -“ting ting ting , passenger, for your kind attention please, the Karma-Consequence Express never runs ten twenty lives after it’s scheduled arrival” . You must know these shlokas and Shakespearean lines are not oracles or railway announcements but the fact that the ‘even handed justice’ is not so slow to deliver the consequences of our karmas after a lifetime of delay. The cosmic justice delivery system is rather instantaneous. Oh you ask How?
As you stoop down to commit let’s say a ‘bad ‘karma then in that stooping down itself you have paid the price. For example if you kill a deer it’s not that after some ten/twenty lives the animal will hunt you back. By falling to the centre from which the action of killing is done , you have paid the price to yourself. At the very moment by falling from compassion/ empathy/love (that are humane qualities) to the butucher-hood that keeps you stuck with animal instincts the price is paid. In the same way if you elevate your consciousness with a ‘good’ karma then the karta having bee. elevated to that height of consciousness from where the good karma gets birth is in itself the immediate reward.
As Macbeth is instigated to murder king Duncan by Lady Macbeth’s words then in that very moment when he decides to murder lies the result of the karma about to be performed. Even before the act is committed the character assassination that happens (with the soliloquy ” Methought I heard voice crying, sleep no more, Macbeth you have murdered sleep) the punishment is served.
The punishment might gets manifested later on as happens with Macbeth towards the end of the play but the seed had been sown at the very moment when he takes the call.
Our perception nevertheless is based on the pitty things we give a great value to. We ought to forget where our trifle thinking stands in this gigantic cosmic time scale right from the big Bang to the big crunch.. Billions of years is just equal to a blink of the cosmic eye (4.32 billion years are equivalent to one day of Brahma, in Vedanta).We think only when something can be measured by our gross beam balance then only it exists. If we think our pitty sorrows or happiness are a product of karmas we are paying too much importance to our egos . Universe doesn’t care that much for this small human life span.
If you give a blanket to a roadside dweller shivering in a winter night, then at that very moment the hormonal and cognitive changes the body-mind undergo is the reward. The changes get reflected later on which can be measured by society and people but apromotion of consciousness had happened long back with the deed.
Two best sellers of Acharya Prashant and Sadhguru with the same title “karma”are rotating around this philosophy. Explaining them would be a spoiler from our end. It’s not a review but a recommendation that both of these books are insightful and a must read for every seeker of truth.