Among the various dilemmas that our generation has been plagued with, I find myself in the middle of a particular one time and again. Immersed in the multifarious battles involving career, health, love and such, the existence/absence of god has been like an old itch every once in a while. Through my little experiences with big and small challenges in the last twenty-five years I have felt more comfortable believing in Karma instead of the amorphous and sometimes deceiving concept of god. After all, we are the age of reason and hence the logic of –‘what you give is what you get back ‘appeals to me instantly than divine interventions beyond the human method. Also, there is the lure of poetic justice- that there in life would be some redemption for all the bad that happens to us.
Recently, with the demise of my grandmother, I was pulled back into thinking about karma again and to understand it beyond the simplicity I had settled for initially. After all, there is nothing else that makes us question life than death itself.
So here I was, re-living the moments I spent with Dadi and listening to various recollections of her life in fragments from people in attendance through the week. A life battling extra-ordinary hardships through her youth and eventually having the comforts of the world in her old age. It must have been Good Karma, everyone concurred. In the corner of the room, I only smiled in reflection at the power of karma, or the circle that comes full, and how!
But then, as I Googled it, of course it was not as simple as it sounds. There is good chance that we may never reap the benefits for all the apparent good karma we think we might be accumulating. In my years out in the ‘big bad world’ I have questioned often- should I avenge myself by giving it back to my wrong-doers or should I wait for deliverance of justice? Should I rather recede from an argument when ugly words are exchanged or should I simply cease the heat of the moment and fire? Am I wrong in thinking negatively about people or bitching even while they do the same behind my back? With the former I am at the risk of living in self-pity for some precious days of my short life with the latter I risk to disturb the balance of deeds that may well be carried forward into another life. Worst still, I would be able to do little about correcting it in any other form than human life. Phew!! That is a tall order.
In the world of instant gratification where we are slaves to caffeine fix, canned foods, fast meals, cosmetic surgeries, and serial relationship frenzy, does the slow and ambiguous process of Karma stand a chance? What if I am not even there to see it? Or worst still with time would it still matter when the wounds have healed?
‘Forgive and forget’ is what my parents have always advised. Most of the time with great discomfort I have followed. While at other times I have questioned if it is only because that is the only way to live in the now and has little to do with promises in the future.