The law of karma is central to Hindu philosophy. According to the law of karma a man’s situation in any point in his life is the consequence of his past acts. In other words karma can be summed up as “Good actions beget good results and evil actions beget evil results. Similarly, in Christian thought is the concept of sin or evil. According to Christian thought, a person will receive his punishment for his evil deeds on the “day of judgment”. Every major religion in the world has similar ideas where one’s evil ways will always return to the perpetrator himself and ones good deeds will always result in good providence.
Is the law of karma or the theory of sin and punishment real or is just a myth? When one looks at karma or sin superficially one is led to believe that these theories are brilliant ploys of our bright ancestors for keeping mankind on the right path. The law of karma definitely does explain unexpected troubles that come our way. We can conveniently say that we must have done something bad in this life or in our past lives and hence we are bound to undergo the suffering. Similarly we expect evil people to be punished for their evil acts. But we do see instances of evil people in our midst who are happy and successful and there are good people who undergo undue hardships.
However a deeper analysis into either karma or sin will show that there is an underlying principle of truth behind it. Karma and sin can be explained as below.
We human beings come into this world with pre-programmed behaviors. This in-built program of ours is the result of the generations of evolution of mankind from time immemorial. In these programmed behaviors of ours are the wisdom, common sense and values of our ancestors. We can either look at them as our genetic programming or the repository of conscious, sub conscious and unconscious behavior transferred to us through the ages. These learning’s and wisdom of our ancestors and forefathers are handed down to us as our programmed behavior. For e.g. in these programs will be rules like kindness -> joy, compassion –> joy, anger ->pain, hatred -> pain, violence -> pain and so on. These rules are reinforced as we grow from a child to an adult. A person’s individual values are not just the result of environment and parents alone and we do not learn all the intricacies of human behavior in one lifetime, from a child to an adult. There is a lot which comes to us in our pre-programmed unconscious self as the wisdom from our ancestors.
When we violate the law of karma or commit a sin we are actually changing some of these in-built rules. When we try to change one of the rules from violence -> pain to violence-joy then we run against the grain of human understanding and human wisdom. Not only do we mutate our own rules when we commit such a violation but such a change will also result in a jarring effect on others. People around us will subconsciously or unconsciously recognize that a violation of one of basic rules has happened. Hence when we go against the time-tested wisdom or the in-built wisdom of our ancestors the result will be incorrect and we will reap the evil that we caused. In fact our voice of conscience is nothing but these inner programs telling us that we are violating a basic rule of human wisdom.
Hence karma or the principle of sin are not just idle inventions of our ancestors but are real and true. They are eternal truths discovered by our forefathers which have with stood the tests of logic, reason and time.