Karma

Karma is a cosmic law and is applicable to all grades of existence in the phenomenal world— the physical as well as the supra-physical worlds of life force, emotions, and mind.

The rigidity with which the law of karma works depends on the grade of existence.

At the physical level the law of karma is very deterministic and does not give room for freedom.

On the other hand, at the mental level of human beings, where a higher level of consciousness operates, it seems that there is some room for freedom….

In any case, the doctrine of karma does not absolve its agent from the moral responsibility with regard to his or her actions.

Although it fully recognizes the effects of the past on the present, it does not deny us the possibility of choosing a particular course of action.

This aspect of karma is explained by Dr. S Radhakrishnan, who wrote: ‘The cards in the game of life are given to us. We do not select them. They are traced to our past Karma, but we can call as we please, lead what suit we will, and as we play, we gain or lose. And there is freedom.’

The same idea was conveyed by Swami Abhedananda: ‘A believer in the law of karma is a free agent and is responsible for all the good and bad results of his own actions that attend to his life. He knows that he creates his own destiny, and moulds his character by his thoughts and deeds.’

It is important to note that the freedom that the law of karma offers is not granted to everyone automatically; the access to freedom requires one to act with a certain level of awareness, which all human beings do not have.

— Prof. Arun Chatterjee in PRABUDDHA BHARATA, November 2012

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