Theory of Karma and Rebirth

Ankush Sharma

“Karma” is one of the very few words which our new generation still remembers about our ancient culture. It has survived many centuries of invasions and turmoil. It has secured its place in one of the core messages of almost all major religions of Indian origin like Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, and Sikhism, etc.
In India, it is very common to hear about Karma from people of almost every age group. But, do we all understand the meaning and related dimensions of the theory of Karma. Is it just “Tit for Tat”, which every school children have been taught since childhood or there is much more to it? So let’s explore about much talked but less explored “theory of Karma” and see why it holds its relevance even in modern mechanized times.
Karma means action, work or deed. It also refers to the spiritual principle of cause and effect where intent and actions of an individual (cause) influence the future of that individual (effect). Good intent and good deeds contribute to good karma and happier rebirths, while bad intent and bad deeds contribute to bad karma and bad rebirths. Karma is not only about rebirths, but it can also show its effects in the present life.
Karma is a combination of action and reaction, if we show goodness, we will reap goodness. This goodness should not only be reflected in our deeds but also in our thoughts. Bad intention can also attract bad reactions. Karma not only includes action but sometimes inaction as well. If we see somebody in pain or any injustice happening and we prefer to ignore it even when we are capable to do something. Our inaction, in this case, contributes to Karma and is liable to hit back. This is very much applicable to those who ignore accident victims in roads and moreover interested in filming them.
Now an important question arises if our present-day actions influence our future then Does our present life is the result of our past actions? If the answer is YES, then would it not be wrong to say that those who are poor, those who are a handicap or facing any kind of disability is only the reaction of their past actions?
In this regard also, the theory of Karma is applicable but we should not focus on the things which have happened or the past karmas. Our main concern in this regard should not be whether it’s their past Karma or not but it should be regarding our good behavior or intent towards them, which could contribute to our good Karma.
Another important question which is raised by many is that if our past Karma decides everything about our present then what is the purpose of our hard work in the present life? It would be wrong to say that Karma decides everything. Karma may influence a few aspects of life or bring certain situations but in the end, it’s our present Karma (hard work) which makes us ride over such situations. We can choose good or even bad karma in such a life situation which may have an impact on our future life events.
While talking about the theory of Karma, it would be an injustice to ignore the concept of reincarnation related to it. It is said that good deeds of previous birth bring good rebirths. But why do we get rebirths? How can we get rid of rebirths? Is it only possible when we renounce material life and become an ascetic?
In this regard, the holy book “Bhagavad Gita” has a lot to offer. It says intention with which a person does action holds great importance. Those who are motivated only by desires for fruits of action are miserable, for they are constantly anxious about the results of what they do. When a person does actions with fruit expectation in return, such emotions act as the seeds of Karmic impulses which are responsible for their rebirth. Hence an action with no desires for fruits is ultimate Karma which allows humans to consciously break this birth cycle by reaching Moksha.
Is it practical to do Karma with no expectation of fruits? Here is the process of Kundalini awakening comes into picture which could happen through various methods like meditation, pranayama breathing, mantra chanting, etc. When awakened, Kundalini is described as rising up from the Muladhara chakra, through the central Nadi (called Sushumna) inside or alongside the spine reaching the top of the head. The progress of Kundalini through the different chakras is believed to achieve different levels of awakening and mystical experience, until Kundalini finally reaches the top of the head, Sahasrara or crown chakra, producing an extremely profound transformation of consciousness.
Such consciousness helps a being to transcend his physical identity to just everything. This helps an enlightened person to identify himself to the whole creation. Hence such an enlightened being cannot even think evil to anyone in this world with which he identifies himself. Any human being in this world tries to defend his physical identity and works for its wellbeing. When this identity reaches to each and every creation, then nobody can think wrong for it. His intention will always be right and that too with no expectations of fruit. Even if he would expect something for own self, it would be for the whole creation as his “self” would include everything. Such a person will break the cycle of life and birth and attain Moksha.