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Karma and Prayer 

by Manmohan Ambardar 

At first let me remark that it is much more easy to deal with a system of thought from a pure philosophical point of view. So many of our scholars indeed take delight in viewing it in such a manner. But mystical experience is a transcending conciousness.

In his Article 'Are we indulging in self-deception?' published in Koshur Samachar, June 2005 issue, the learned author's remarks against spirituality has given rise to a controversy which can mislead the masses and do a lot of damage before the truth is revealed.

Karma (Prarabhdha) is not relentless fate pushing man to a pre-ordained destiny. It is what man has achieved in the past and he is answerable to it. He has acquired also certain tendencies and dispositions which make him act in one way rather than in another. But he can change them in the present and shape his future according to his will.

Mohd. Iqbal has rightly said: 'Khudi ko kar buland itna ki har taqdeer se pehle Khuda bande se khud poochhe bata teri raza kya hai' God in such a scheme would be the general ground for the operation of the law of Karma. God is not opposed to human effort or Purusa-kara. Both are necessary for making morality possible and yield its result. 'Readers Digest' - When the most potent of the multifarious accumulated Karma begins to bear the fruit in the next birth, it is called 'Prarabhdha'.

September 1953 provides an interesting illustration on the subject at issue.

If there is a thought that I am the doer then I become responsible to enjoy the fruits of this action, but when doership is itself renounced, the Karmaphala can in no way effect the doer and so the doer remains free from Karmaphala.

Normally every person does Karma in order to fulfill his desire. That is why before starting any Karma like Havan, Puja, Japam etc., they perform Sankalpam in which, they say, for achieving this Ishtakamvartham.

Even at the end of Havan, people insist on reading the Phalasruti because they want their desires to be fulfilled as mentioned in Pahalasruti.

In the well known verse of Geeta (IV- 12), Shri Krishna proclaims that men in this world desire fruitive activities and therefore they worship demi-gods.

Quickly of course, men get results from fruitive work in this world.

Bhagwan Sri Ramanna Maharshi has also said, "The Karma carries the seeds of their own destruction in themselves." This means destiny (Karma) can come to an end.

When the most potent of the multifarious accumulated Karma begins to bear the fruit in the next birth, it is called 'Prarabhdha'. Now the question arises if God is Self, then why he has

brought misery / evil? Christ said, "Evil needs come with". Christ was God incarnate and God is omnipotent.

Then why evil/misery come? Could not God will it not to come? Christ did not stop here. He added, "But Woe unto him through whom it cometh". Again why? If evil must come, why should the person who is instrumental in bringing it be condemned? Is it not unjust? There is a deceptive simplicity in these sayings. We must probe deeper.

In order to do so, we must also ask why Adam and Eve were free from knowledge in their Edenic state and why inacquisition caused their exile from paradise and fall into a state of toil and suffering.

It is dangerous to speak to people about predestination. They take it to mean that the law of cause and effect is overruled, whereas actually it postulates the working of the law of cause and effect. Some people say, "If what is going to happen is predestined anyway, why should I trouble to pray? But perhaps it is predestined to happen through prayer. The end is not predestined without the meaning but through it.

Right means become an end in themselves and can be more important than the end for which they are instituted. That is the teaching of Bhagwat Gita and Gandhi. Prayer is a purifying activity. Its harmonising influence may be more important than its factual efficiency - though that does not mean that the latter also can not be real. To achieve this end, Atma Vichara is the means par excellence. Many a heroic soul has felt abiding happiness of the spirit amidst intense suffering after practicing Atma Vichara.

Source: Milchar



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