The Law of Karma

Karma is the Law of Cause and Effect as applied to the life of the soul—the law whereby it reaps the results of its own sowing, or suffers the reaction from its own action. Karma is a term in general use among the Hindus, and the Western believers in Reincarnation, the meaning of which is susceptible of various shades of definition and interpretation.

To the majority of Reincarnationists, however, it has a larger meaning, and is used in the sense of the Law of Justice, or the Law of Reward and Punishment, operating along the lines of personal experience, personal life, and personal character.Many authorities hold that the original idea of Karma was that of a great natural law operating along exact lines, as do the laws of mathematics and chemistry, bringing forth the exact effect from every cause, and being, above all, questions of good or evil, reward or punishment, morality or immorality, etc., and acting as a great natural force above all such questions of human conduct.

Karma is like the Law of Gravitation, which operates without regard to persons, morals or questions of good and evil, just as does any other great natural law. In this view the only "right" or "wrong" would be the effect of an action—that is, whether it was conducive to one's welfare and that of the race, or the reverse.In this view, if a child places its hand on a hot stove, the action is "wrong," because it brings pain and unhappiness, although the act is neither moral or immoral. And another action is "right" because it brings happiness, well-being and satisfaction, present and future, although the act was neither moral nor immoral. In this view there can be neither reward nor punishment, in the common acceptation of the term, although in another sense there is a reward for such "right" doing, and a punishment for such "wrong" doing, as the child with the burnt hand may testify to.older schools of Reincarnation accepted Karma as determining the Re-Birth, along the lines of Desire and Attraction, holding that the souls' character would attract it to re-birth along the lines of its strongest desires, and in such environment as would give it the greatest opportunity to work out those desires into action, taking the pains and pleasures of experience arising from such action, and thus moulding a new, or fuller character, which would create new Karma, which would determine the future birth, etc., and so on, and on. Those holding to this view believed that in this way the soul would learn its lesson, with many a crack over the knuckles, and with the pain of many an experience that would tend to turn it into the road most conducive to spiritual happiness and well-being; and lead it away from the road of material desires and pleasures, because the repeated experiences had shown that no true spiritual well-being was to be obtained therefrom.

In other words, the soul, in its spiritual childhood, was just like a little child in the physical world, learning by experience that some things worked for its "good" and others for "bad." This view naturally carried with it the idea that true ethics would show that whatever tended toward the advancement of the soul was "good," and whatever retarded its advancement was "bad," in spite of any arbitrary standard of right or wrong erected by man during the ages, and which standard has constantly changed from time to time, is changing now, and always will change.


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