2.27 Is illness the result of one’s past karmas as is believed in some tradition or the wrath of God falling upon a sinner?
The popular idea of karma as a system or tribunal of cosmic justice dispensing reward and punishment is a crude rendering of something that is more subtle and deep. The law of karma is not a law of retribution but evolution through a kind of subtle learning process that the soul in us undertakes as it moves through the different fields of forces and energies in its earthly sojourn. It is not some arbitrary God deciding for us but the soul itself that chooses to go through certain experiences necessary for its growth towards perfection.
In the evolutionary journey, we are influenced and moved by many kinds of cosmic forces and energies, both helpful and harmful. Indeed, sometimes the same force can be helpful as well as harmful depending upon the stage of our evolutionary growth. What happens to us at each moment can be summed up, in a way, as a result of these forces that are at play. The past grooves of Nature provide a kind of predilection in us and we tend to open ourselves to one or the other kind of forces depending upon the kind of response our natural constitution and its elements has made to them. The soul takes upon itself the essence of these experiences and decides its future course in such a way as to either exhaust or make these parts of Nature learn and grow by completing the curve along which they have begun to move. The consequences we face in life, the results that ‘fate’ presents before us, are nothing more than what the cosmic forces have prepared and the soul has chosen to undergo.
Interestingly, our destiny is written in double terms. There may of course be an ‘outer’ event or circumstance, say an illness or financial gain, which our ignorant mind values as pleasant and unpleasant based upon its own evaluation and conditioning, but there is an inner repercussion as well – this is the true consequence.
To take an example, one may be outwardly having an illness yet inwardly may not only be entirely free from any suffering or even aware of the secret necessity to go through it. On the contrary, there are instances where everything is fine, outwardly so to say, and yet one is in a state of inner anxiety and agony. It is a question of one’s inner state.
Nevertheless, one should not cherish suffering, thinking that it is meant for one’s growth or is a karmic necessity. In fact, as we have seen, it is not due to any bad karma but the result, as indeed everything else is, of a complex play of forces in whose ambiguous net our lives are caught as pawns on a chessboard. But within us is the soul that need not accept an ‘adverse destiny’. If we are awake to its full glory and power, it can reverse the wheel of destiny, erase the past formations that prompt us in certain directions, undo the karmic knots, free our past personalities that linger in our self from the spell of an adversary force and thereby change the fixed front of fate.
28. Is it is okay to ask God to remove one’s suffering and cure one’s illness?
Why not? Disease is a falsehood imposed upon us by the adverse forces because our body and mind are still open and respond to these dark influences. It is not that the Divine wants us to be ill or it is his Will that we suffer! Such a Divine would be more a perversity than a purity! And indeed it is a form of perversity to love suffering and cherish it in oneself. We must throw out and reject an illness, whether by our will or by help from the Divine Grace, indeed preferably both, just as we should reject a wrong movement. Only this must not be done out of fear since fear is a perverse form of will and paradoxically attracts what we strongly fear. Fear itself is a wrong movement, a dark force that is an ally of falsehood and death. We should pray to be cured not out of anxiety or fear but simply because the physical instrument must be fit and worthy of the divine dweller and user. Yet something within us can and should always be above suffering.