“Dear God, why are You punishing me? What wrong have I done? Don’t You have a heart? Are You blind? Are You deaf? Do you derive pleasure out of the sufferings of innocent people like me? Please help me! If you help me solve my financial problems,
a. I will donate 10 % of my profits to your temple.
b. I will gift You gold ornaments, diamond necklaces and a diamond crown.
c. Since I am not very rich, I will break a coconut at the doorstep of your temple.
Government officer to a builder: “I cannot grant you the permission to construct the building as per the design that has been given by you because it goes against the conditions stipulated by the law.”
Citizen to the officer: “Please do me a special favour and grant me permission. If you could do this for me, I will have a suitcase full of money sent to your home tonight.”
It is usually situations and deals which resemble scenario no. 2, that fall under corruption but never are deeds similar to the one in scenario no. 1, considered to be wrong. Why is that? It is because ‘fixing matches’ with the blessings of a deity has become a regular practice among people. They make special vows of donating money, jewellery, and other materials in return for Divine favours. Offering donations out of gratitude for Divine Blessings received is one thing but sending money to religious institutions as part of a bargain with the presiding deities of those institutions, is another. It is quite a common practice in India for people to advise their children to make a vow to Shri Ganesha to break 108 coconuts at the nearby Ganesha temple if they passed an examination. The funny part is that the parents as well as the children who make such deals are well aware of the fact that passing an exam calls for good preparation and not Divine Intervention.
As per the concept of ‘Cause and Effect,’ each and every situation that one is in, is the ‘Effect’ of something they thought, said or did in the past; and the way they react to the situation and the action they take, will be the ‘Cause’ for some future ‘Effect’. It is a straightforward natural law. Making deals with ‘Gods’ and asking for out of turn favours, are nothing but acts of corruption. When I explained as above to a person who sought my advice, the following questions were thrown at me. “So what should I do? Shouldn’t I pray to God and ask for what I want? Should I silently suffer, tolerate the injustice and not even question it? It is unfair!”
I replied, “Injustice? Unfairness? Has it ever occurred to you that ‘unfairness’ and ‘injustice’ are purely human qualities? Nothing in nature or in the animal kingdom is unfair. Every being behaves as per its own nature following the laws of nature. Man is the only being that tries to outsmart nature even if it meant using unfair methods. Take a simple example of people taking a vow to send money to a temple or ashram of some problem of theirs was solved. What else but corruption is it? When there is a problem, people should identify it, define it, study it, find countermeasures and solve it. Performing a puja asking for Divine Intervention amounts to cheating. Of course, you may ask for what you want! However, the most important favour you should be asking your God for needs to be the ability to think clearly. Remember, when Arjuna, the brave, talented, knowledgeable and highly intelligent warrior king was despondent, he requested Krishna to take him as His pupil and teach him how to live and fight.
[SBG 2:07 With my mind in a state of confusion regarding my duty and the feeling of helplessness because of weakness, I ask You to tell me what is good for me. I am Your disciple and I have surrendered my soul to You. Please teach me.]
Arjuna did not ask Krishna to vanquish the Kauravas for him and make him victorious without fighting the war! Arjuna did not tell Krishna that he would present Him a part of his kingdom if he won the battle for him! That was because Arjuna was not CORRUPT! When Arjuna shelved his ego and completely surrendered before Krishna, the Divine Discourse called the Srimad Bhagavad Gita started. It was because of the ‘egoless’ mindset of a devout student hungry for knowledge that Arjuna maintained during the entire discourse, that helped him acquire the Divine Knowledge imparted to him by Krishna, which then, in spite of the enemy army of Kauravas being extremely strong, enabled him to obliterate them.”
People who feel they are undergoing challenging situations need to remember that there are NO SHORTCUTS to balancing their Karma and that the only method if at all, that could help them bypass difficult situations in life is TOTAL SHARANAAGATI before Krishna (18:66). It takes simple common sense to comprehend that a person who has taken to Sharanaagati and performs all their actions as a sacrifice to Krishna (SBG 5:10), would never think, say or do anything Adharmic (unrighteous) and as a result, would not attract negative reactions to their actions.
In my posts called ‘4 Questions from the 18th Chapter of the SBG’ and ‘Karmayoga and Doership’, I had quoted Shlokas from the Srimad Bhagavad Gita through which Bhagavan Krishna explains to Arjuna about action or Karma, the five factors in a person that cause action, the reaction to every action and about ways to balance Karma. Unless people understand the concept of ‘Cause and Effect’, they will forever be complaining, cursing and brooding over the problems or conditions which are unfavourable to them in their life, and will be easy victims of fake astrologers, babas and swamis.
People usually complain that ‘As far as I know, I have harmed no one, so why should I undergo all these sufferings? Why can’t I lead a happy life? Why is it that others who cheat, lie and commit crime, are doing well and are happy? I see people who harm others and are selfish but they too get away with all that! How does one explain that? This is not fair! This is unjust – tut tut!” Some others add, “Why should I tolerate this? I am bitter! I can’t take this anymore! I am upset! I am sick of all this!”
Well, before delving any deeper into the naive and childish questions above, that many people ask themselves, it would be necessary to understand why the concept of ‘Cause and Effect’ makes more sense than any other theory. The gross inequalities and huge differences in the lives of people from different parts of the world and different strata of human society can theoretically be attributed to three major possibilities:
a. There is no specific cause and everything happens just by chance
b. As taught in organised religions, there is a ‘God’ in the sky who is jealous, proud, and sometimes compassionate when people sing praises of Him, but also sends disobedient people to an eternal hellfire.
c. Karma – Cause and Effect. As per this concept, there is no one punishing or rewarding an individual but the person’s own thoughts, words and deeds create the future of the individual. After the end of a Janma of a person, their Karmic future based on their Karma collected in the Janma that ended could be one of the following:
i. They simply cease to exist or no one knows what happened to the individual Jiivaatma. [SBG 2:28 O Arjuna, nothing is known before birth and after death. The only period known is between birth and death. Therefore of what use is lamentation.]
ii. Moksha, in which the Atman or the life energy becomes one with the whole, does not have an individual mind and does not occupy a physical body which creates the impression that it has a separate identity.
iii. Rebirth as a being that one subconsciously wished to be during the previous Janma or in any one of the earlier Janmas
[ SBG 8:06 At the time of death, while leaving the body, whatever one thinks of is what they will attain by being constantly absorbed in its thought, O Arjuna.]
iv. Rebirth as a being whose Janma teaches them something extremely important that they were unaware of or did not bother to learn.
v. Rebirth as a person, who at the point of ending their previous Janma, thought of acquiring or achieving something in the next Janma.
vi. Rebirth as a person that needs to undergo the entire learning process through challenging experiences until they acquire the required knowledge. Sorry, a Janma like this one can be quite a tough and excruciating one.
vii. Rebirth, simply in order to settle a score with someone!
It is quite evident that as per the law of ‘Cause and Effect,’ every individual literally writes their own future. So why blame others or ruin the possibility of a better future through the act of creating even more negative Karma by being negative, sad, thankless, materialistic and angry?
Being upset because you don’t get what you want is ludicrous. This is because desires, wishes, dreams and ambitions of people keep changing with time. Preferences and tastes of people change. It starts right from childhood. A child that receives as a present a flashy bicycle or an expensive pencil case that he or she dreamed of, soon loses interest over that dream object and aspires for other things. It is the same case with many couples. In the beginning, they feel they can’t live without one another, but as time passes by and their different masks begin to fall off one by one, they start by crying out for some ‘personal space’ within the relationship and finally end up abandoning the person they promised to be with until the end and marrying someone else. People’s minds keep changing according to the different environments they are in. An old saying in the Tamil language compares the human mind with a monkey because of its antics and due to its unpredictable behaviour, which is very difficult to control. Something that one considers to be most valuable and precious, could become a thing of no value in another part of time in their life. What one considers to be an earth-shattering problem at a particular stage in their life could soon become a trivial thing of the past. What one longs for right now, could become totally uninteresting and be forgotten after some time.
Until one is alive and has a sound mind, there are the three greatest and priceless gifts that one should be extremely grateful for:
1. Being alive
2. Being of good physical health
3. Possessing good mental health
Those who truly understand the value of the three priceless gifts mentioned above are never affected by even the worst of challenges in life. They always treat every challenge as an enormous opportunity to experience, learn and evolve.
Attachment to physical possessions is the greatest stumbling block in the processes of Karmic as well as Spiritual evolution of a person. The only physical object that will most certainly remain with an individual until the end of their Janma, is their body because it is a part of the unit called an ‘individual’, which is made up of five factors, namely, itself (the body), the ego, the mind, the various senses, and the Super Consciousness or Aatman. Disrespect and improper care of the body, which is a temple of divinity, could result in serious illnesses, loss of some of its parts even before the end of a Janma or shortening of the Janma.
As I said in another post, when the mind changes, life changes. Cribbing, complaining, fretting and fuming over difficult situations which are temporary anyway, result in the waste of the NOW, which, as a matter of fact, can be perceived by an individual only due to their blessings of life and consciousness, which they should always be extremely thankful for.
When Yama, the lord of death, decided to teach Nachiketa the Kat-hopanishad, (read this post ‘The Chariot Analogy’ ) he commenced by stating the two paths that humans are interested in – One that leads to pleasure and the other that leads to spiritual satisfaction. Yama said that the former path leads people to death while the latter one leads people to immortality. All attachments invariably end in pain simply because nothing or no one is permanent. Should one’s situations be unfavourable or unpleasant, the primary step the person should be taking in order to come out of it would be to wholeheartedly and modestly accept their Karmic responsibility for their situation. Trying to ‘bribe God’ might sometimes seem to solve your problems temporarily because of your sheer faith in the method you have adopted, but the Karmic problem that you attempt to circumvent cannot be brushed under the carpet forever because as per the law of ‘Cause and Effect,’ it needs to be settled or balanced, some day or some Janma or the other. From the manner in which some babas, godmen and god women make a living out of exploiting the spiritual ignorance of people and offering them methods to make trade-offs with Gods in order to solve their problems, it is rather apparent that they have not given the power of the law of Cause and Effect a serious thought. Had they done it, they wouldn’t be doing what they are doing because when their payback time arrives, it can be a highly gruelling and truly chastening experience.
What cannot be defined cannot be managed, therefore introspecting instead of brooding and complaining, and finding ways to correct one’s nature; would be better options for people in trouble. Reading and understanding the Srimad Bhagavad Gita can do wonders to the way a person thinks, perceives and interprets life.
- You are Divine. You don’t need agents between you and the Supreme Divine Being. Study the Mandukya Upanishad
- There are no shortcuts to balancing Karma except TOTAL SHARANAAGATI
- Nothing is permanent – not even troubles and pains.
- Live the NOW.
- Live in the NOW.
- Be lavish in expressing your gratitude for The Three Priceless Gifts
- Follow The Five Pearls which can be called the essence of the Srimad Bhagavad Gita
SBG 2:14 O Arjuna, impermanent things like happiness and sadness, heat and cold in summer and winter, come and go. They are temporary so learn to endure them.
SBG 18:66 Giving up all your ideas of righteousness or religion, take complete refuge in Me. I will liberate you from all sinful reactions. Do not fear.
Jai Shri Krishna