One of my questions in life has been, if all that I get good or bad is due to my own Karma (punya and paapa), then what role has God to play in it?
What is the brahmaraata the writ of Brahma that no one can avoid? What is the Sivaagnya without which even an ant will not bite?
What is the point of astrological remedies if your entire life has been scoped out and what is the point of astrology if everything can be changed?
One of the names of Vishnu is Vidhaata. The meaning of Vidhaata is given as “The one who gives us the KarmaPhala“.
(Swami Tapasyananda of Sri Ramakrishna Matham, has given an English translation of the commentary of Vishnu Sahasranama given by Sankaracharya. It is rather interesting and mostly acceptable from my perspective.)
I decided to ask Kundaji, my Veda Guru about it.
She agreed with this translation. She said God decides when and if to grant us the results of our karma.
This was a new philosophy to me.. so I listened with interest and a few things clicked into place, in my head.
So when we repent for something wrong we did and try to atone for our mistakes and ask God for forgiveness : The papa is destroyed, and we don’t have to face the bad consequences.
Siva can destroy our Sanchita Papa or all the accumulated bad karma of all the lives before this one.
Typically ordinary people don’t seek a punya nasanam. We want the results of all our good deeds. Guruji says that even that is upto God who decides when to grant us what good results our punya or good karma has earned for us.
Suppose you do so much good that it cannot be enjoyed in this birth it will be carried forth to the future births.
Sankaracharya sees more births as a totally painful and monotonous cycle. “Punarapi jananam, punarapi maranam, punarapi janani jatare sayanam… iha samsaare, khalu dustaare, krupayaa pare paahi muraare, bhaja govindam, bhaja govindam….” (Sankaracharya)
It is again only God who can clear the decks of your good karma also, so that you don’t have to repeat this endless cycle of time on earth and be free from it. Sankaracharya said that gnyaana (knowledge) can destroy your sanchita karma. Ramanujacharya said that surrender to Vishnu can do the same…(this is called bhakthi maarga.) (Most people take comfort from the idea of the rebirth, and moksha is the last thing on their mind).
When Brahma writes your destiny on your forehead before your birth, brahmaraata, which astrologers read off your palm and off your horoscope, what he is giving alloting to you is your praarabdha karma, EMI to be paid for paapa and your salary income earned for your punya. Here “you” refers to your jivaatma, the one that hops in and out of bodies at birth and death and accumulates karma which adds to its growing total or sanchita karma. This aatma clearly has or thinks it has some free will – else it could not have accumulated any karma. And Vidhaata, (one of the names of Brahma), has an active role to play in each individual’s life initially. Later on, it is Vishnu as Vidhaata who saves you when in distress and blesses you with good stuff… if you you deserve it and ask for help.
This then is the toughie. Krishna wants us to know what is karma, akarma and vikarma and then to do our karma.
He wants us to do our karma, either realising that Krishna is the doer, OR that all our karma is for Krishna OR to forego our karmaphala.
We don’t get to goof-off. We get to work and right at the time where we would say, “Krishna, I have done my best and studied for this exam, please help me pass”, we have to say instead, “Krishna, I have done my best.. the results of my effort I offer to you”
I sincerely wonder there is a single action of mine which I can ‘manaspoorthigaa’ or whole-heartedly offer to Krishna. All my actions are purposeful and have a desired goal.
But then who ever said I was a saint?