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Monday, November 2, 2009

Not karma alone - InnerVoice

P.P. Wangchuk

Most of us, perhaps, take the law of karma as the sole cause for our condition/fate now and hereafter.
Buddhism rejects this belief.
Karma in Buddhist philosophy is but one of the five factors that shape and determine one's fate.

The other four factors known as niyamas or orders are: utu niyama, bijia niyama, dhamma niyama and sitta niyama. They relate to the physical, natural and psychic phenomena.
These niyamas are directly governed by seasonal, organic, mental and psychic phenomena.

It is not to suggest that karma is just like any other of the five factors. The Buddhist `Compendium of Philosophy' says karma is the main basic order that influences one's life. The other four orders are mere accidental phenomena that happen by chance.

The point here is to ask if karma has anything to do with your being a victim of natural phenomenon? There is no clear explanation on this, but one understands that karma does help even in unnatural circumstances.
That is why I prefer to call it the "overruling order."

That is why Buddhism makes it clear that karma has nothing to do with fatalism or the doctrine of predestination. The argument is that not all that happens in one's life is because of one's past karma. It is also made clear that one can "reverse" one's fate with good intentions and good karma in this very life.

This is of special significance to those with bad karma and would like to "reshape" their lives for the better. The understanding is that one's karma works in various ways: there are karmas that bear fruit right in the present lifetime. And then there are karmas that "pay you dividends" in the next life or even in successive lives.

But it is important to remember that on its own, karma cannot do much. For karma to produce its best results, one needs good circumstances and factors. At times, when these auxiliary causes are missing, then one's karma, like a seed without soil and water, will remain dormant and helpless.


innervoice@hindustantimes.com
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Nanak was prophet of divine humanism

M.N. Kundu

The word `nanak' means `fire' and, significantly, Guru Nanak brought celestial fire to kindle the lamp of divine light in the hearts of humanity. It was the light of divine love wherefrom sprang his doctrine of holy deed before bookish creed, spiritual illumination before illusive ego and saintly life above external indications. Hence he proclaimed, "Truth is higher than everything, but higher still is true living."

Being perfectly non-sectarian, he said, "There is no Hindu and no Muslim, these are mere divisive names for masks, behind the mask is the man." His mystic communion with God dictated the language of heart beyond narrow sectarianism.

The time of his advent witnessed unending quarrel over religious trifles and deviation from the true spirit of religion. He, therefore, advised all to dwell at the feet of the Lord in love.
When the priests at Haridwar asked him about his caste, he gave a poignant reply, "My caste is the caste of wood and fire." And he advised the Muslims also to make compassion their mosque, sincerity their prayer, and justice their Holy Koran, to be a true Muslim.

Simplicity is the keynote of his teachings. He advised us to take the name of Akal Purukha (Eternal One) repeatedly with utmost devotion and live a life of service and sacrifice with sincere humility. For him, the soul is the bride and God is the bridegroom and our brief life is intended to make a union of the two.

He wanted his disciples to grow in meditation of God or `japa' which involves eightfold `sadhana' like purity, silence, concentration, realisation, patience, faith, satsanga and living the mantra in daily life. He said, "I belong to no sect and adore but one God, I see Him in earth below and heavens above, and in all directions and all are my brethren."

In other words, Nanak was born today to show us the light so that the darkness we see all around disappears and we live happily forever.


innervoice@hindustantimes.com
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