Monday 8 August 2011

The Mystery of Karma

Title: The Mystery of Karma : An Exposition of the Law of Karma
Author: V K Saraf
No of Pages: 440
Paper Back Price: Rs. 310 /-
I.S.B.N: 978-81-7276-401-2
Albert Einstein once remarked in his inimitable style that the most incomprehensible fact about Nature is that it is comprehensible. Later the same sentiment was echoed by mathematician-physicist Roger Penrose. Obviously these luminaries had in mind the universal physical laws that can be clearly identified, formulated and their effect mathematically computed. Most hard scientists and engineers and rationalists of the world think that all systems of Nature are deterministic systems that can be described by precisely computable mathematical equations. However, this is not true.
The Law of Karma is often looked upon as a straightforward system emanating from the principle of cause and effect that endlessly metes out rewards and punishments for good acts and bad. The book vividly brings out that while every motivated action must have its proportionate recompense of the like nature it is not a simple eye for an eye dispensation. This is because an action begets movement of energy on not just the physical plane but the vital, mental and spiritual planes as well where the Law of Karma gets modified to suit the nature of each plane and each individual. Its composite return therefore is not easily fathomable. It persuasively argues that the whole purpose of the Law of Karma is to assist and facilitate the embodied soul in its spiritual ascent where eventually Karma itself loses significance.
When we speak of the Law of Karma, we mean the law as applied to all beings of the universe, living as well as non-living. For non-living beings, this law is known as the Law of Causality in science. For living beings, this law takes a mysterious form as we do not understand yet the nature of our beings in its entirety. We exist in several planes or sheaths such as material, energetic, mental, intellectual and spiritual. So the Law of Karma appears mysterious to us. Therefore, the author has titled this book as “Mystery of Karma”.
Human energy is manifold and so is the concomitant energy of Nature but each strand or channel of the former corresponds with that of the latter. Things get complicated when we realize that each of these channels of energy has its own individual laws and methods of functioning. Therefore, it would be simplistic to say that in the Law of Karma though the process of cause and effect operates, action and reaction are precisely equal and opposite. However, it does mean that every good produces good and every evil produces evil. As a corollary, one becomes virtuous by virtuous actions and evil by evil actions. In other words, according as one behaves so does one become, or to be more precise, the return of energy set in motion by a deed of man is proportional to and of the same kind as the energy initially put forth but its precise form and quantum depends upon the complex manner in which several universal forces impact upon it. This is indeed the foundation of the Law of Karma.
Shri Saraf’s book contains an elaborate analysis of these rarely discussed aspects of this ubiquitous Law, that should appeal to a scientific mind. It is not, however, confined to an academic, rather abstract discussion of the mystifying subject but competently deals with practically all the questions that are usually asked by people about the multifarious effects of the Law’s operation. Some of the very revealing findings that the book contains which would fascinate an inquisitive reader are: the soul chooses at the moment of shedding a body the kind of life it would have in the next life and it is mostly not related to its good or bad deeds in the life about to end but depends upon the thoughts or desires that dominate his mind at that crucial time; a new born inherits physical traits from his biological parents but brings with him his own mental equipment which is a cumulative acquisition from all previous lives; the desires that the soul wishes to satisfy in the ensuing life determine the place and circumstances of his next birth; he acquires relatives, friends and associates, even enemies by virtue of the causal links that he had established by directing thoughts at those persons in the past lives; the span as well as quality of life is determined by the kind of Karmas that a newborn has brought with him as Sanchita and Prarabdha which must be exhausted; a man must experience his own Karmas, none can share them; good Karmas are those that are performed selflessly with the intention of benefiting others, contrary is the case in respect of bad Karmas; good Karmas produce pleasantness which is to be measured in terms of happiness of mind and not material comforts; to obtain salvation, all Karmas – good and bad – must be exhausted. This captivating well-researched volume abounds in such highly interesting findings.
In arriving at the several decisive conclusions which adorn the book Shri Saraf has relied mostly on the pronouncements of spiritual leaders who could be said to have intuitive experience of what they had revealed and these include the generally respected ancient scriptures. This should make the findings authentic and worthy of acceptance. I have no doubt in my mind about the universal validity of the Law of Karma. It is applicable to both living as well as non-living beings of the universe. For non-living physical systems, this law takes the form of the Law of Causality on which the entire edifice of science is constructed. For living beings, science has a long way to go to understand the complete nature of their existence, namely, gross or material, pranic or energetic, psychological, intellectual, and finally spiritual. As we start understanding more and more about our own nature, we will expand the frontiers of science and will one day be able to explain the Law of Karma scientifically. Until then, we must take recourse to the Shastras, the Spiritual Science, that encode the transcendental experience of the seer scientists called Rishis! Mr. Saraf has precisely done this.
In this book, Shri Saraf has chosen a dialogue method of presentation of this otherwise intricate subject which has made it lucid as well as interesting that would surely engage the attention of even the young and uninitiated readers to whom it is basically addressed. This book should be widely read, both by the young and the old, as it unfolds one of the most important mysteries of our existence – the Law of Karma.

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