Om Sweet Om

Om Sweet Om


Karma: Beyond “bad things happening to good people”

posted by sheetal

Karma is a concept that has always fascinated me.  It’s complex, thought-provoking, and essential to Hinduism.   Yet it is a term that has been “dumbed” down over the years as it has entered everyday jargon.  And more recently, “karma, baby” tends to be casually thrown out as a reason or explanation when something “bad” happens to a person.  But the concept of karma is far more complex than that, and does not only apply to cases where “bad things” happen to good people.

At the Hindu American Foundation (HAF), we’ve described karma as:

  1. The principle of cause and effect
  2. The idea that an individual’s every action produces an appropriate outcome for him/her

Integral to this is the understanding that outcomes may span over lifetimes.  Thus, karma also presupposes a belief in an undying, everlasting soul, or atman, that carries on when one’s physical body dies.  A person’s actions – good or bad – are attached to the soul and are carried forward as the soul survives the death of the current physical body to be reborn in a new physical body.  Thus, the fruits of today’s thoughts, actions, and intentions may not be felt today, tomorrow, or even in the next five years.  They may take lifetimes to manifest.  But as of yet, no Swami, guru, or Hindu scholar has been able to provide me with an exact formula for karma.

Gadadhara Pandit Dasa – the Hindu Chaplain at Columbia and a friend of mine – took at a stab at explaining karma in his latest piece in the Huffington Post.  I think his piece is a great introduction to the concept: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/gadadhara-pandit-dasa/karma-what-goes-around-comes-around_b_1081057.html?ref=religion



Previous Posts

Is Asana Religious?
Last week, I received an inquiry from a Christian theologian interested in showing that “the postures of Yoga” (asana) are directly tied to Hinduism and thus, cannot be easily incorporated into daily life by Christians.  While the origin of yoga is undoubtedly tied to the Hindu sacred texts, th

posted 2:48:02pm Jul. 17, 2014 | read full post »

India's Holy Men by Joey L.
I just ran across these stunning images of Holy Men by photographer Joey L. The initial set of images are of Indian sadhus living in the holy city of Varanasi...and they are absolutely breathtaking. http://www.joeyl.com/personal-galleries/holy-men-2/

posted 11:54:40am Mar. 03, 2014 | read full post »

The Idea of a Constructed Hindu Identity
The following piece was written by my friend Raman Khanna, who is also a member of the Hindu American Foundation's Executive Council. “Hinduism was invented recently.” “The word Hindu is problematic.” “It’s not accurate to speak of Hinduism, only Hinduisms.” More than a decade has

posted 5:21:42pm Jan. 23, 2014 | read full post »

Coalition Against Reality: Deconstructing an Attack on the Hindu American Foundation
Principled opposition is expected when litigating issues in the public square, and the Hindu American Foundation (HAF) , for which I serve as the Senior Director, has at times faced stiff opposition from the right and left of the ideological spectrum in response to various positions, reports, and st

posted 5:38:10pm Jan. 06, 2014 | read full post »

Advice on kindness
My yoga teacher sent me the below link to George Saunders' convocation speech at Syracuse University for the class of 2013. It's worth a read: http://6thfloor.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/07/31/george-saunderss-advice-to-graduates/?src=me&ref=general&_r=0

posted 10:24:26am Aug. 08, 2013 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.