The Sixth Law of the Kybalion: An Introduction to a New Vision of the Universe
Karma is an oriental word which has found its way into the most English dictionaries. It stands for a principle of Eastern philosophy which is variously interpreted. To the average western thinker, particularly the theologian, the term is objectionable although the equivalent is found in the New Testament. As it is told in it “as a man soweth, so shall he reap” and this is very largely the traditional interpretation of the word Karma. It is also found on the Buddha scriptures where Buddha says:”effects follow their causes”. Therefore we are dealing with cause and effect; we are not dealing with punishment per se. We are not referring to a condition after death or in life in which evil forces take over the life of consciousness of a human being. We are relating neither to demonology nor to a Hades populated by ghosts and monsters. The word is simply a term to signify that the effects are inherent in their causes.
Scientifically, Karma has not been seriously disputed, we observe every day that causes produce consequences but most people are so much interested in their own ideas about consequences than they overlook the problem of causation. Today as we look around us, we see an almost classical example of how causes produce their effects. How the way that we do things become probably the way in which we are rewarded or punished. Karma is not a punishment bestowed by Heaven, it is not a painful work give it by deity to wayward children. Karma is simply the fact that there are rules in the game of life. Rules in creation, rules that are just as flexible as the law of gravity and which cannot be violated.
The long ages of contemplation has built these rules into the theological writings of most of the nations of the world. These rules have first observed by our remote ancestors. They did not know what they meant or why they happened, but they learned through thousands of years of experiences that things that they did, had consequences. These consequences were more or less inevitable. They found in those days that the individual who broke the common rules of life suffered. He suffered not because a divine power looked down on him and punished him; he suffered simply because he broke the law of cause and effect. This law is impersonal, it is just, it cannot be arbitrated and it cannot be modified by almost any process we can think of.
Actually we live in a world in which we have to be thoughtful of what we do if we wish to enjoy the maximum benefits of existence. The purpose of knowledge is to discover what we can do that does not result in trouble. Ignorance consequently is the condition of being unaware that what we do has consequences. We are mostly willing to accept certain visible forms of consequences. We know that if we eat the wrong foods we will have dyspepsia, we know that if we become bound to drugs or narcotics or alcohol we will pay for these indiscretion. We know that we are capable of improving our living or destroying our selves according to our understanding and application of the principles of cause and effect. So the philosophy has its primary purpose, an effort to demonstrate clearly for the benefits of all concerned that we cannot make a mistake without getting into some kind of trouble.
We can say that people do not know when they make a mistake. In certain cases this is true, but in the majority of instances, the mistake is intentional. It is intentional because the individual is more interested in getting something that he wants or avoiding something he should face than he is thinking about the law of cause and effect. He thinks that evasion is possible which it is not, he thinks that he can overlook the rules in Nature, and the Nature will overlook these mistakes. It will not happen this way because practically every mistake that can be made has consequences which are unfavorable.
We cannot be perfect in everything; we will all be subject to the mistakes for a long time to come, but one of the common things that we might be able to do is to build a pattern of the more common, simple and obvious mistakes and how to avoid them. We should be teaching children certain rules to avoid mistakes on the consequential theory, that these rules must be followed or trouble will follow.
So Karma becomes in our personal living as a force to take the place of Purgatory’s of ancient theologies. Instead of the individual going to some mysterious place after death where he will be boiled in oil, he can escape this very morbid and melancholy fact by realizing that the effect of causes are worked out on the same plane where the causation occurs. If we make a mistake on physical level we will pay for it physically; if we do something noble and glorious on the physical level we will be rewarded accordingly. Karma has to do more with rewards as it does with punishments. If our mistakes are never overlooked, our virtues are not forgotten either. Everything we do right has certain enduring consequences for our betterment, improvement and security. Thus, Karma has nothing to do with what we want or what we do not want. It has to do with what we have done, why and how.
© 2017 Ayoub LEKEHAL