Life, when examined deeply, will appear to be an endless chain of “causes & effects”. Every effect becomes the cause for further downstream effects. After considerable time passes (decades, centuries, millennia) – the cluster of effects are so large in number with random inter-relationships – one cannot make out which is the cause and which is the effect. It then becomes “chicken-egg” or “seed-tree” puzzle as to which came first. The original puzzle that preceded all puzzles of human mind is the cycle of “Karma-Janma”. Karma is dynamic thought & action – while Janma is physical birth … which came first? This can be left to any one’s own imagination and self conviction – as no convincing is possible by others.
What I am going to attempt now is to get some clarity on the definition & theory of Karma itself – which often is very nebulous, when one tries to get some insights into it. Sri Malladi Venkata Krishnamurthy – a Sanskrit scholar has drawn extensively from “Niralambopanishad” to give us some clarity on Karma-Janma – I am grateful to him.
1. What is Karma…?
Kriyate Anena Iti Karma! This means everything that gets done is Karma. The word Karma originates from the root word “Kru” meaning dynamic thought & action. Karma means an action committed by mind or body! The completed work is called “Karma”, while the work in progress is called “Kriya”. Hence the seed of Karma lies in the Kriya.
Niralambopanishad defines Karma as – “Any action by mind or body with full involvement of all 5-senses and awareness of –“I am doing” – is Karma. There is never a moment in human life – that one is not involved or engaged in doing some type of Karma or the other. Hence there is no life without Karma.