[Advaita-l] Understanding the law of karma

Mahesh Ursekar mahesh.ursekar at gmail.com
Sat Jul 22 12:16:08 CDT 2006


I have some questions on the law of karma. I would appreciate some help in
this regard:

There are three types of karma as described in the link below:

Q1 (basic): Is it true that kriyamana karma can only be exhausted in a
future lifetime? Or can it also bear fruit in the lifetime in which it was

Q2: The law of karma effectively says that "every effect has a
cause". In that case, free will would need to be treated as a causeless
cause since we are saying that it happens out of personal choice independent
of a cause! But if one were to adhere to the law then a simple choice (i.e.
free will) of, say, choosing to take the train to work instead of the car,
could be traced back back to some cause (possibly your vasanas predominant
at that time) and this in turn would ultimately trace back to some karmic
action. So, in effect, this law renders free will as an impossibility! (The
12-link Buddhist chain is quite nice to see the working of the law)

Q3: This law is often used to explain why "some people suffer more, others
less". The way I see it is that this is not a completely accurate statement.
The more correct one would be "the difference in suffering is *not* due to
what you have done but due *to the way that the karma is distributed* by
this law"! If the law functioned so that it would distribute prarabdha karma
in lifetimes in such a way that all people "more or less suffered the same",
we would not see such disparity in suffering!

Any thoughts/guidance would be appreciated.

Thanks, Mahesh

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