We have a reader question by Sachin
In Mahabharata Krishna explains that the people born with disabilities (i.e Dhritarashtra) and the people dies badly in spite of their good deeds(i.e Karna, Bhishma), are the people who committed sins in their past lives. Is this really true ? In our daily lives, If we see such people, can we say that they must have done some bad deeds in their past lives ? Is this necessarily true ?
Firstly, we don’t know what is truth. Truth is a subjective thing and can never be pinpointed with absolute certainty. Just like Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle talks about particle wave theory, the Truth and the Subject of truth can never be determined with absolute accuracy.
So we will never know what is truth. We can only offer a perspective to “Truth”. A point of view.
People with Disabilities And Bad deeds
Let’s first define what is a disability and what is a bad deed.
Disability is the consequence of an impairment that may be physical, cognitive, mental, sensory, emotional, developmental, or some combination of these. A disability may be present from birth, or occur during a person’s lifetime.
In short, disability is a malfunction. It can be physical malfunction, emotional malfunction, mental or behavioural malfunction.
The fact that you don’t have a broken limb doesn’t mean you aren’t disable. You could be mentally disable. It is possible that you are behaviourally disable. Disability can exist in different forms and shapes.
Let’s take a few examples to illustrate this
- A person who goes to drink alcohol every weekend is a disabled person. He needs some kind of intoxicating drink in order to add mental stimuli to his life. He is not in control, some kind of passive drink is controlling him.
- A person who laments on the loss of money and property is a disabled person. It is his mental malfunction which causes the lamentation, since he never lost anything in the first place. He came to this world with empty hands and he will leave empty handed. But since he fails to realize this fundamental truth, he is disabled.
- A person who is lustful, perverted and obsessed with physical desires is a disabled person. His mind and physical desires has reached a threshold, so much so that he considers other people as a way to satiate his lustful desires.
In that sense, we are all disabled, aren’t we? We are all disabled in some way.
You can have lots of money but that doesn’t necessarily mean you aren’t disabled in some way. You can have a respectable job or a good education but that doesn’t mean you don’t have a malfunction. You are no different from that street beggar who lost his limb in an accident and has to live on the mercy of other people for survival. He is living on the mercy of other people, you are living on the mercy of your own desires or whatever your weakness/malfunction is. You are thinking that you are living a better life compared to that street beggar. But this thought is merely an illusion, it is not necessary that your quality of life is better than his.
What is a bad deed?
Simply put, a bad beed is something which violates Dharma.
What is Dharma? Dharma originates from the word “Dhri” which means to keep, preserve a code of conduct which is established or firm, steadfast decree, statute, law, practice, custom, duty, right, justice, virtue, morality, ethics and so on.
Violation of Dharma generates bad karma. Bad karma will cause disability. Let’s take some basic examples.
- If you are a student, your Dharma is to study and uplift yourself. If you keep watching television and wander about, you are violating Dharma. This will generate bad karma. Eventually, you will be foolish or ignorant and will automatically inherit some kind of intellectual disability.
- If you are a householder, your Dharma is to protect and provide for your family. If you participate in unnecessary gambling, do not provide for your family, do things that bring down the reputation and respect of your people, torment your wife and children, you are violating Dharma. This will generate bad karma. Eventually, you will be irresponsible, ignorant and a liability to the society and will inherit some king of social malfunction.
- If you are a business man, your Dharma is to ensure that the society benefits from Trade and that you provide some kind of value that change’s people’s lives, solves an existing problem. If you don’t care about that and go about accumulating money by looting other people through business, you are violating Dharma. This will generate bad karma and eventually there will be some kind of disability.
- The moment you eat meat, you are violating Dharma. That is not your food. You are not supposed to kill animals for filling your stomach. You can eat vegetables and other staple food for survival.
- The moment you speak ill of others, you are violating Dharma. You are not supposed to insult other people, regardless of caste, colour, creed, social status.
One can go on and on with such examples.
If you evaluate your way of living, you will find that you are violating Dharma every single day. So what are you doing? You are accruing bad karma and enjoying the present life, living inside an illusion, thinking that whatever you are doing to maintain your mode of enjoyment is justified (even at the cost of tormenting others in some way). But what will happen to that bad karma that has been earned? That karma will return to you in your next birth.
To put things in perspective, let take some more examples
- It is possible that this man had poached lots of animals in one of his lives. So he was brutally killed by a Tiger in this present life.
- It is possible that this man had been corrupt in some of his previous life. So he was imprisoned in his present life.
- It is possible that this man had been cruel to his wife in some of his previous life. So his wife left him in this life and he had to live on his own without affection and care a man needs.
The Soul never dies. The body does.
Krishna tells Arjuna in the battlefield
तुम किसकी मृत्यु का शोक कर रहे हो पार्थ? मृत्यु तो सरीर की होती है, आत्मा तो अमर है, अजेय है! जो जनम ही नही लेता, उसकी मृत्यु कैसे हो सकती है?
Of whose death are you concerned about? The body dies, the soul continues to live until eternity.
Every cause must produce an effect
This is a fundamental rule of the universe. Cause produces effect. Everything is causally related.
- So if you are drinking alcohol and abusing other people, you are the cause. Where is the effect? That effect will come, it has to come. If not in this life, it will surely come in another life in some form.
- If you are taking bribes and accumulating money earned through unfair means, you are contributing to a cause. Where is the effect? That effect will come. If not in this life, it will surely come in another life.
- If you are serving the needy and living a very difficult life to make ends meet, you are contributing to a cause and generating good karma. Where is the effect? That effect will come. You will surely reap that good karma in some other life, if not in this life.
People with disabilities are merely a function of the Karma that they have accrued in their past and present lives. It is a temporary resultant. It will change, as the subject continues to accrue more Karma (good or bad).
If you are currently in Debt, you must have accrued bad karma. How can you nullify this effect? Effect is nullified by cause. So what can you do to earn good karma? You must donate to the needy and earn it back. This will nullify the bad karma that has been earned and things will come to normal terms.
If you are struggling to find work, you must have accrued bad karma. How can you nullify this effect? You must volunteer to work for people and organisations who need your help and expertise. This will earn you good karma and things will come to normal terms in some time.
If you are struggling with personal life or a relationship, you must have accrued bad karma. To nullify this disability, you must learn how to love other people who need your affection and care. This will earn you good karma and some part of it will return to you in due time.
If you have a physical disability (overweight, lost sight, hearing disability, digestion problem), it is possible that your bad karma had caused a threshold, so much so that the effect is permanent and cannot be undone in this present life. But there is a way to get around it. You must generate good karma to that extent that it nullifies your “bad debt”. Donate your other organs to charitable institutions and in your next birth, you will reap the returns of your investment.
The cause effect conundrum is what dictates our present and future lives. One can get beyond this cycle of birth and death through self awareness (“Vijnan”).