The Universal Law of Karma
Updated: May 18, 2019
How this Sacred Science Really Works
Some years ago while staying at the ashram of the Indian saint, Ramana Maharshi, nestled at the foot of the forest covered mountain of Arunachala, I read the great sage’s sacred words, etched above a doorway: “Whatever is destined not to happen will not happen, try as you may. Whatever is destined to happen will happen, do what you may to prevent it. This is certain. The best course, therefore, is to remain silent.”
His words are a key to karma and destiny. As someone who would try and make things happen, forcing outcomes and who struggled with surrender, these words were like magic. I have never forgotten them and I think reading this wisdom, while steeped in the stillness that the great saint’s presence has imprinted on the area he lived, helped the words to land deeply in my soul.
On a personal level, the words mean a lot to me as I can directly see how karma impacted the course of my life very early on. As a baby I was given up for adoption, and it’s always seemed to me that my life at that point was like a river with multiple tributaries branching out in different directions, depending on the lottery of which parents took me home with them. And really, it’s a bit like that for all of us. We are born into certain circumstances, cultures, places on earth, wealth or poverty, with specific genetics, talents and drawbacks. We don’t have any control over these circumstances… or do we?
Nothing raises more questions, or is more misunderstood than the notion of karma. Karma is a Vedic Science, with roots in India, and is a central teaching of many spiritual traditions including Buddhism, Hinduism, Sikkhism, Taoism and Jainism.
The wheel of karma is the idea that everything in our life takes place due to past actions and that present actions affect future lifetimes. Karma is linked to rebirth. Each and every action we take in life ripples out from us like a stone hitting the water. The ripples have untold effects on others, and will flow back to us at some point in the future. The fruit of our previous actions are like echoes, and they cannot be escaped. Karma is intricately linked to causality. Once you become conscious and access the higher stages of awakening and enlightenment,becoming no longer identified with the “self”, then you can step off the karmic wheel of life, that endless cycle of rebirth, and your personal karma goes. This is the aim of spiritual practice.
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