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Monday, May 2, 2011

Prarabdha Karma - the inevitable is bound to happen !!

It is perplexing that we confuse ourselves and start questioning the wisdom of our ancestors – calling it mere belief not backed up by facts or logic.  But most of us would too readily accept Western thoughts appreciating them to be sound principles.  It is the mindset, the perception that Western World is true and most authentic, though even scientific researches keep changing often.

There philosophically exists,  the concept of ‘cause and effect’ that an action or event will produce a certain response to the action in the form of another event. Consistency or regularity of occurrence is what makes more believable.. ie., the same result should occur when the same event occurs many a number of times. That gives it more authenticity ! but there could be a conundrum.

When two objects collide, both objects experience forces and going by the above theory both should react in the same manner.  However, factually, one might gain momentum whilst the other would lose.  This is science.  When two objects collide,  both objects experience forces that are equal in magnitude and opposite in direction. Such forces often cause one object to speed up (gain momentum) and the other object to slow down (lose momentum).  Reduced in fine writing it is the Third law of Newton.   The mutual forces of action and reaction between two bodies are equal, opposite and collinear. This means that whenever a first body exerts a force F on a second body, the second body exerts a force −F on the first body. F and −F are equal in magnitude and opposite in direction. This law is sometimes referred to as the action-reaction law, with F called the "action" and −F the "reaction". The action and the reaction are simultaneous.

Now something on belief (in the traditional Hindu way).  Sure you would have heard of “Prarabdha Karma”  .  For the uninformed, it could be explained as collection of  past karmas, which are ready to be experienced through the present body (incarnation].  Karma, means deed or act which according to Hinduism governs all consciousness.  Karma is not fate, for man acts with free will creating his own destiny. According to the  Hindu tenets, if we sow goodness, we will reap goodness; if we sow evil, we will reap evil.  Karma is a concept in Hinduism which explains causality through a system where beneficial effects are derived from past beneficial actions and harmful effects from past harmful actions, creating a system of actions and reactions throughout a soul's reincarnated lives forming a cycle of rebirth.

The causality is said to be applicable not only to the material world but also to our thoughts, words, actions and actions that others do under our instructions. To those who do not believe in rebirth, this becomes more questionable as to how an action of the past would haunt us now.  If everything is equal, how is it that some are born great, some acquire greatness and some have greatness thrust upon them – and most of us continue to struggle even for ordinary things…

There are three kinds of Prarabdha karma: Ichha (personally desired), Anichha (without desire) and Parechha (due to others' desire).  Perhaps this analogy would explain the concept better -  the bowman of yore – an arrow has been shot and has already left the hands of the bowman.  Now he cannot recall it (in some e-mails, there is this facility of recalling !).  he would shoot more arrows taking them from his quiver.  The bundles in the quiver as also the one which he is about to shoot -  are the ones on which he has control but the one that has already left is no longer controlled by him.   He has to experience the effect of the past action – in this case, the arrow that has been shot.      Here is a small story for the  believers…………….. that Prarabdha Karma is inevitable.

On a good auspicious day in the early morning it so happened that Yama [the one in charge of killing] visits Vaigundam – the abode of the Saviour – Lord Maha Vishnu. 

At the entrance to his right he finds Garuda the vehicle of the Lord who acknowledges him and to the left he sees a small sparrow. Looking at the sparrow Yama make a surprise gesture and walks inside. The Sparrow who saw Yama making a surprise gesture thinks that his time is up; Yama is going to take him away to Yamaloka and it starts trembling.  Seeing this Garuda tells the sparrow not to worry  and he would help it. Garuda who could fly at the speed of wind asks the sparrow to sit on his back and take it to far off  Gandhamadana Parvatha.

He then tells the sparrow not to worry and gets back to the entrance of Vaigundam. Having finished his appointed work,  Yama comes out and finds the sparrow missing.
Garuda  was  very proud of  how he had defied the probable dictate of Yama,  slyly asks Yama on what he was looking for.  Yama enquires about the sparrow. Garuda  retorts  that his plan has been defied and that he can no longer end the life of the little sparrow when he had decided otherwise.  Perplexed, Yama asks on where the sparrow had been taken to, to which Garuda replies that to  Gandhamadana Parvatha within split seconds, which nobody else could do.

Yama is amazed on the intricate designs of Lord Sriman Narayana and the way things are schemed to work.  He then narrates the story in detail.  When he entered the Vaigundam, he was wondering how the small sparrow which was supposed to be eaten and killed by an eagle in another world of Gandhamadana parvatam was there and whether the pre-written fate would fail to occur.  He for a second had thought that this could not happen at all.  But it was Prarabdha karma of the little sparrow to be there at that place at the appointed time. 

Prarabdha is the karma phalas (fruits/reward) allotted at the time of birth by the Supreme Lord. The events are to be fullfilled within the life span of the individual though  not in sequel,  i.e., the events may not have systematic time period. Hence some say that the Prarabdha karma if it is to yield bad results it can be altered to some other time.  Here for the sparrow, it was thousands of mile away a few seconds earlier; but fate ensured that Garuda was the tool in making it happen, though Garuda did it with right intentions of saving and to some extent with arrogance of proving his might. 

As most of you know, in Mahabaratha, during the Rajasuya yajna, Duryodhana was selected by Yudhishthira  to look after the needs of all guests.  He thought of emptying the treasury of Pandavas – but actually it was the design of Lord Krishna to utilize the prarabdha karma of Duryodhana – that due his past life actions, all that Duryodhana gives would get doubled.

Now, if  one were to ask how and why the action of Garuda – who is always at the service of Sriman Narayana could  fail – the explanation is that Garuda had a promise that he will not carry any one on his shoulders other than Sriman Narayana himself, and in his zest to prove his strength, had flouted the vow that he had made on the occasion of collecting Amrutha Kalasa charitham.

For believers there is a great message……….

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

PS:  reproduction of contents read in a Forum for Srivaishnavaites.  Found it interesting and thought it fit to share, ofcourse with some additions – of my thoughts incorporated into it.

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