On the Law of Karma and Karmic Relationships

Fortunately, God is not an accountant, otherwise, this universe would have had no hope. Nor is He a judge who is busy judging us from afar with a carrot and stick.  For Him, to His supreme consciousness, there are no others since all is Himself and there is nothing else but He. The vast material universe is His outermost body and He resides within it, in each of its elements in the subtlest of forms. We too are His portions who carry His wonderful Presence in our own depths. It is given to us by becoming conscious of our depths and thereby become conscious of Him, one with Him and work upon creation with Him as co-sharers and partners of His divinity.  The path towards this highest consummation possible for man is through works, karma, as we call it. But karma itself is not something mechanical and outward but the whole internal mechanism starting from our inmost state of consciousness,  our inner motives and intents, the action of guns or modalities of nature through which the will operates and finally the instruments developed so far to execute the work. The energies thereby released go back to the Divine through this entire machinery.  We think it is to this person or that person but it is ultimately moving towards that secret Goal from where ultimately all impulsion and power and knowledge comes.

Now here comes the real purpose of the law of karma. Its sole purpose is to perfect ourselves and through us the world around us. The more we are attuned to the higher and highest state the more we engage and collaborate in fulfilling this purpose.  On the other hand, the more we deviate from this truth, the more we add up to the chaos and confusion.  The karmic law, therefore, is not a law of transaction between individuals as it is a transaction between Soul and Nature with god as the eternal Witness whose role is not merely to watch the play indifferently or to judge and reward and punish us but to keep realigning each one of us and the world in general so that the secret Will that has gone into the creation and operates in it is fulfilled. That Will is the will to be Divine in each of its units, it is the will for Ananda, the will for harmony and unity and peace, the will to conquer darkness and thereby grow strong, the will to manifest the entirety of the Divine Perfection. The results of actions, the consequences etc are so designed so as to realign us back to the Goal. If we stray far, very far, then the sudden jolt of realignment comes to us as pain. But as we grow nearer to the Will and align with IT then there is automatically a growth of Peace and Joy and Harmony and Wisdom within us and in all who are touched by the same Will through us. Through all experiences, the seemingly pleasant and the seemingly painful we are growing towards Him who is the Source of endless peace and Beatitude and Love and Harmony and Sweetness and Power and Knowledge and Bliss. In this process, there are cosmic agencies that help or hinder but they too end up fulfilling God’s plan.

Fate is Truth working out in Ignorance.
O King, thy fate is a transaction done
At every hour between Nature and thy soul
With God for its foreseeing arbiter.
Fate is a balance drawn in Destiny’s book.
Man can accept his fate, he can refuse.
Even if the One maintains the unseen decree
He writes thy refusal in thy credit page:
For doom is not a close, a mystic seal.
Arisen from the tragic crash of life,
Arisen from the body’s torture and death,
The spirit rises mightier by defeat;
Its godlike wings grow wider with each fall.
Its splendid failures sum to victory.
O man, the events that meet thee on thy road,
Though they smite thy body and soul with joy and grief,
Are not thy fate,—they touch thee awhile and pass;
Even death can cut not short thy spirit’s walk:
Thy goal, the road thou choosest are thy fate.
On the altar throwing thy thoughts, thy heart, thy works,
Thy fate is a long sacrifice to the gods
Till they have opened to thee thy secret self
And made thee one with the indwelling God.
O soul, intruder in Nature’s ignorance,
Armed traveller to the unseen supernal heights,
Thy spirit’s fate is a battle and ceaseless march
Against invisible opponent Powers,
A passage from Matter into timeless self. [Savitri]

But it is given to us to choose whether we want to pass longer through the hands of the darkness lingering through the purifying fire of suffering or else through the hands of light and the gods who help us pass through the evolutionary journey in lesser time and through least pain. Or else we have a still better choice, the best of all wherein we give ourselves to the Divine, offer all our action to the Divine and live and act for the sake of the Divine and the fulfilment of His Will in us and in all. Accordingly, the outer events unfold. The law of karma then turns out to be a law of evolution and not so much about the balance of justice or worse still an exact mathematical account balance in the book of God. Justice is no doubt a part of the divine working in creation but it is a law of balance against an excess of evil. So too there is something which can be called as a reward but it is not related to the good done to this or that person but a law of nature whereby we receive back from creation what we have issued forth into it, though not necessarily from the same people. It comes back in its own way and in its own time and the soul accepts it. It comes when it is needed for our growth to the next level rather than as a crude system of reward and punishment.

To turn this unconscious process into a conscious one is what is called yoga. It means to do things for the Divine even though apparently they are being done for this or that person. Sri Aurobindo guides us beautifully:

Whoever the recipient, whatever the gift, it is the Supreme, the Eternal in things, who receives and accepts it, even if it be rejected or ignored by the immediate recipient. For the Supreme who transcends the universe, is yet here too, however veiled, in us and in the world and in its happenings; he is there as the omniscient Witness and Receiver of all our works and their secret Master. All our actions, all our efforts, even our sins and stumblings and sufferings and struggles are obscurely or consciously, known to us and seen or else unknown and in a disguise, governed in their last result by the One. All is turned towards him in his numberless forms and offered through them to the single Omnipresence. In whatever form and with whatever spirit we approach him, in that form and with that spirit he receives the sacrifice.

And the fruit also of the sacrifice of works varies according to the work, according to the intention in the work and according to the spirit that is behind the intention. But all other sacrifices are partial, egoistic, mixed, temporal, incomplete,— even those offered to the highest Powers and Principles keep this character: the result too is partial, limited, temporal, mixed in its reactions, effective only for a minor or intermediate purpose. The one entirely acceptable sacrifice is a last and highest and uttermost self-giving,—it is that surrender made face to face, with devotion and knowledge, freely and without any reserve to One who is at once our immanent Self, the environing constituent All, the Supreme Reality beyond this or any manifestation and, secretly, all these together, concealed everywhere, the immanent Transcendence. For to the soul that wholly gives itself to him, God also gives himself altogether. Only the one who offers his whole nature, finds the Self. Only the one who can give everything enjoys the Divine All everywhere. Only a supreme self-abandonment attains to the Supreme. Only the sublimation by sacrifice of all that we are can enable us to embody the Highest and live here in the immanent consciousness of the transcendent Spirit.

***

This, in short, is the demand made on us, that we should turn our whole life into a conscious sacrifice. Every moment and every movement of our being is to be resolved into a continuous and a devoted self-giving to the Eternal. All our actions, not less the smallest and most ordinary and trifling than the greatest and most uncommon and noble, must be performed as consecrated acts. Our individualised nature must live in the single consciousness of an inner and outer movement dedicated to Something that is beyond us and greater than our ego. No matter what the gift or to whom it is presented by us, there must be a consciousness in the act that we are presenting it to the one divine Being in all beings. Our commonest or most grossly material actions must assume this sublimated character; when we eat, we should be conscious that we are giving our food to that Presence in us; it must be a sacred offering in a temple and the sense of a mere physical need or self-gratification must pass away from us. In any great labour, in any high discipline, in any difficult or noble enterprise, whether undertaken for ourselves, for others or for the race, it will no longer be possible to stop short at the idea of the race, of ourselves or others. The thing we are doing must be consciously offered as a sacrifice of works, not to these, but either through them or directly to the One Godhead; the Divine Inhabitant who was hidden by these figures must be no longer hidden but ever-present to our soul, our mind, our sense. The workings and results of our acts must be put in the hands of that One in the feeling that that Presence is the Infinite and Most High by whom alone our labour and our aspiration are possible. For in his being all takes place; for him, all labour and aspiration are taken from us by Nature and offered on his altar. Even in those things in which Nature is herself very plainly the worker and we only the witnesses of her working and its containers and supporters, there should be the same constant memory and insistent consciousness of a work and of its divine Master. Our very inspiration and respiration, our very heart-beats can and must be made conscious in us as the living rhythm of the universal sacrifice.“ [CWSA 23-24: 110-111] 

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