Om Namah Shivaya

Venkatesaya - 'Be' with Swami Venkatesananda

Daily Readings, Yoga, and Satsangs with Swami Venkatesananda

Karma

What governs this unpredictability of life? We tend, as the medical scientists and astrologers do, to take the credit for all the fulfilment of our purposes and quietly sweep the failures under the carpet. But if we honestly look at life, the failures are at least as many as the successes. Then one wonders, “What is the truth concerning life? Why are some prophecies or hopes fulfilled and others not, some prayers heard and others not?” It is perhaps then that we begin to look at life, not merely think about life.

If you think about life you become a philosopher. If you look at life you become a yogi – this is the difference. These two are completely different. It is pretty easy to think about life because we don’t see, we don’t know what it is all about. We speculate: “It may be this, it may be that.” But it’s extremely interesting and absorbing to be able to look at life, not think about it. I may be able to look at life and you may be able to look at life and discover the truth, but it is valid only to the discoverer; it doesn’t work for anyone else.

Life is like the ground which receives seeds all the time; these seeds germinate and saplings spring out of the earth. You see the tree, the sapling or the shoot. But the shoot is not an isolated event – it is connected to the tree. Once it is recognised that life is an on-going process, the question of time becomes totally irrelevant. It is a deed done, maturing now. Therefore every moment you and I have the same freedom of action which was exercised some time ago, to plant the seed. The same freedom of action is here now. When that seed grows into a plant and yields its own fruit, you are free to do what you like with it: plant it again, chew it all up, burn it.

This, in brief, is the doctrine of karma. It is not only “As you sow, so shall you reap,” it is really “As you sow, so shall it grow.” The rest is unpredictable. Whether you are going to reap it, enjoy it, suffer it or destroy it, we don’t know.