I have to say upfront that the term Karma that I am going to talk about is not the meaning or definition of Karma that is used in the urban dictionary way…in memes or quotes, t-shirts, coffee mugs etc. That meaning of Karma means dealing with consequences or more like the saying: as you sow, so shall you reap. The meaning of Karma that I am going to talk about is the one that was preached by Lord Krishna or Krishna in the Hindu religion.
In India, we sometimes follow the Lunar calendar, especially when we have to figure out when a particular occasion or religious festival is. This August 15 was the date according to the Lunar calendar when we celebrated Lord Krishna’s birthday which inspired me to write this post. The World so much in unrest and disagreement right now, I thought maybe this post would help bring my two cents forth, maybe help someone who reads it some form of comfort or hope, maybe inspiration.
According to a sacred Hindu text called the Mahabharata written by an ascetic Ved Vyas a long, long time ago Krishna was born in prison, smuggled away to save his life from his vengeful uncle and brought up by a poor farmer and his wife far away from his parents. He eventually freed his parents and got his kingdom back, it is all very interesting as well as fascinating. Krishna ended up a charioteer for a brave Prince called Arjun in what is called the most horrifying and corrupt war of all times. It was said to have been the end of an era and the beginning of the world as we know it today. Prince Arjun was at war with his extended and family and as they faced each other he started questioning his ability to fight the war. Krishna at that time provided him with the inspiration and encouragement to do what needed to be done. One powerful teaching was the concept of Karma.
Karma, according to Krishna is the act of selfless duty, in other words, doing what needs to be done. But it is not done with any good or bad results in mind. It is done mindfully, in the moment, selflessly, without having the need to know whether the result is going to be good or bad. He stated that if a person is living their life rightfully and based on the knowledge they have gathered and information that they have in the moment, if they make a decision, they follow that decision and fulfill their duty without seeking results…that is Karma. The way I understand and visualize it in my head is pouring distilled water into a river. I don’t know where it went, I cannot differentiate it, I can never find it again, it is all mixed up now and it is not distilled anymore. If I had to find it, I would have to start the process of distilling water all over again but I can never start it with the water that I poured into the river. I do not know what happened to it. That is Karma, and what I understand of it.
Now I would like to state that it is not logical in many ways to think this way in today’s world, right?! And yet in some way, shape, or form we all do it, don’t we?!
I would like to say that I thank you all reading this post, I wanted to share a little part of me today and I appreciate you listening. I hope some of you will look up Krishna’s story. I hope that some of you will look up the story or Mahabharata. I hope some of you will remember this story when you see a client of Indian descent who is struggling with their spirituality or cultural identity. I hope some of you will share this meaning of Karma with others.
I will end with another little saying I found one time that I connect with and find helpful when trying to get over disappointment. Hope this helps too:
If I answer your prayer at once that means I am testing your Faith,
If I did not answer your prayer at once that means I am testing your Patience,
And if I did not answer your prayer at all that means I have a Better Plan for you.
Jyotsana Sharma is a Doctoral Candidate, Counselor, Educator, and human being in the making. Visit her website at: www.jyots21.wordpress.com or find her on twitter @jyots21s.