Karma

From The SpiritWiki

Karma, from the Sanskrit verb action, work, or deed that you perform with your hands, simply refers to the fact that actions have consequences.

Notes

"The concept of karma entered Hinduism through ancient non-Vedic sects such as Saivism and Bhagavatism and the old Samkhya school. Saivism recognized karma as one of the three impurities[1] responsible for the bondage of individual souls."[2]

Later on it came to be used as an antidote to the fatalism of some early vedic thought where it came to be an iconic and ideological representation of humanity's free will and ability to choose. "According to them fate was a product of one's own actions and what might look like the intervention of chance in case of some individuals was actually a result of their previous actions done either in their present lives or in their previous ones."[3]

In the Vedas, karma may refer to the divine karma or the actions of God as the source of all creation, preservation, and destruction.

In the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad, karma indicates the personal consequences of good or bad actions."Accordingly as one behaves so does he become. The doer of good becomes good, the doer of evil becomes evil. One becomes virtuous by virtuous actions. Others become bad by bad actions." As such, karma is an admonishent to be aware of the short and long term consequences of your actions, and to recognize and take responsibility for them.

Yagnavalkya said: 'Take my hand, my friend. We two alone shall know of this; let this question of ours not be (discussed) in public.' Then these two went out and argued, and what they said was karman (work), what they praised was karman, viz. that a man becomes good by good work, and bad by bad work. After that Garatkarava Artabhaga held his peace.[4]

In general usage, karma refers to the positive or negative consequences of actions.

Its ideological function is identified clearly here: "Today if there is one concept that is deeply ingrained in the consciousness of Hindus, and for that matter a vast number of Indians, and influences their thinking and actions so deeply, it is undoubtedly the concept of Karma. They may not think of it constantly while they perform their daily chores, but it is there, deep in their subconscious minds, like a self-regulating mechanism, influencing their lives and actions....Whether they are literate or illiterate, they honor it and respect it. It makes them feel responsible for their lives and accept their lot rather poignantly."[5]

Ojibway notions of Karma

"We believe in the circle of life. We believe that all return to its source; that both good and bad return to the place where they began. We believe that if we start a deed, after the fullness of time it will return to us, the source of the journey. If care is not used when the circle is begun, then the hurts along the way will be received in the end. Such is the belief of the true Ojibway."[6]

Footnotes

  1. The three impurities are anava or egoism, karma or binding actions and maya or illusion
  2. V, Jayaram. “The Concept Of Karma In Hinduism.” Hinduwebsite.com. Accessed October 1, 2021. https://hinduwebsite.com/conceptofkarma.asp
  3. V, Jayaram. “The Concept Of Karma In Hinduism.” Hinduwebsite.com. Accessed October 1, 2021. https://hinduwebsite.com/conceptofkarma.asp
  4. https://www.hinduwebsite.com/sacredscripts/hinduism/upanishads/brihad.asp
  5. V, Jayaram. “The Concept Of Karma In Hinduism.” Hinduwebsite.com. Accessed October 1, 2021. https://hinduwebsite.com/conceptofkarma.asp
  6. Ignatia Broker, Night Flying Woman: An Ojibway Narrative (Minnesota: Minnesota Historial Society Press, 1983: p. 56)