More karma

Jonathan Bricklin brickmar at EARTHCOM.NET
Sat Oct 18 18:06:38 CDT 1997

On October 17, Nanda Kumar wrote:

>Jonathan, instead of asking questions, let me first briefly try to explain
>what I understand of Karma so it'll be easier for you to explain to me.

Nandar, let me ask some questions that arise from your explanation before
responding.  The brief answers I give at the end can be elaborated once I
get your responses.

>[...]The Bhagavat Gita expounds that, one should act without
expecting the fruits of one's work.

Do you think that is meant to apply to good acts as well as bad?  If not,
why not?

>[...] the scriptures expound that one's
action in the past will decide his future (every action has an equal and
opposite reaction).

Can you give me one hypothetical example of how this might work?

> Krishna in BG says if one realizes himself his
>prarabhdha karma will be dissolved.

Krishna also says, in the BG:

"whatever states of being there may be, be they harmonious, passionate,
slothful--know thou that they are all from Me alone." 7.12

Would this not apply to whatever is conceived as the "start" of the
"started action" (parabdha-karman) as well as its end?

>But the Upanishads expound that
>even if one realizes himself he will have to live in his body till he
>dissolves his prarabhdha karma by right action.

>What I infer from this is that Karma (right action)

How did karma come to be equated with right action?

>helps in purifying the
>mind and soul, makes one ripe for jnana and hence quite practical.

When you say "quite practical" you seem to be suggesting an expectation of
fruit for your action.  If so, how do you you reconcile this with the BG
edict not to do so that you mentioned above?

>So where exactly is the concept of convinience with respect to karma?

The convenience with respect to karma is that it is one way to keep the
concept of Tat tvam asi from becoming a prescription for fatalism.

And again how does it override the concept of Tat tvam asi?

I never said that "seeing karma as a convenient fiction overrides Tat tvam
asi."  I said that the import of Tat tvam asi does not get lost by seeing
karma as a convenient fiction.  That statement did not even imply that that
the import of Tat tvam asi _does_ get lost by not seeing karma as a subset
of fate.  So let me just say now that I think it does.

Jonathan Bricklin

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