Number three – karma. Almost everybody has heard of the word “karma”. Most people don’t understand it very well. There could be a whole lecture on this subject but I’ll just briefly discuss it.
In the material world there are material laws that govern us. They are called “the laws of material nature.” On this planet one such law is gravity. You can say, “I don’t believe in gravity.” Okay, you can have that philosophy. But please climb up to the top of a building and jump off. Immediately you will discover gravity.
There are many such laws and one of those is the law of karma. We are controlled by the law of karma. Whether I know the law or I don’t know the law, it doesn’t matter. The word “karma” means “action”. You could say that the law of karma is the law of action.
The soul is active by nature. Everywhere you find the soul’s presence, you find activity. Even in immovable things like a tree. Because there is a spirit soul in a tree body so much is going on inside the tree. Nutrition is being drawn from the ground, sap is rising, leaves are growing, many things, because there is a person inside. Dead trees don’t do any of those things. The soul is always active.
According to the law of karma if the activity I have performed affects the life of another living entity in a negative way, I cause them some pain, suffering, hardship, death. Notice I say “living entity”, not just humans. You see, animals, plants etc. If I cause them some difficulties in life I am responsible for that. So I will be punished. Therefore coming back to me will be pain, suffering, hardship, death. That is called “bad action – bad results – bad karma.”
However if the activity I have performed helps another person’s material situation in a positive way. If I am kind, I help another person, I feed a hungry animal, I do charity work, welfare work. That is a good thing and I will be rewarded for that in the future. Good things will come to me. “Good action – good results –good karma.”
We go through our whole life creating karma, some good and some bad. We come to the end of our life with our karmic picture and that goes with me into my next life. Even if I have all good karma and good luck I will still have to take another material birth to get all the rewards. This keeps me on the wheel of birth and death.
karma, material attachments and material desires keep us in this world. There is a lot of misinformation presented about reincarnation. Some people say, “It is not true, we don’t accept that.” Someone else may say, “Yes, it is true but only for a certain number of lifetimes.” I have heard many numbers: 15, 25, 100, meaning after 25 lifetimes automatically it is over and you are off the wheel. But if you have been following what we have been discussing, after 25 lifetimes you still have your material desires, material attachments and karma. So what is going to get you off? That is not true.
Some people say, “Yes, it is true but only among humans.” That we always reincarnate into another human body. Not true again. What about the hang glider who became a bird? You see, it’s not true, we can go back into lower animal forms, plant forms, all the forms.