Quest of Truth: Karmaphal

There are some commonalities amongst all religions; and, one of them is the belief in Karmaphal - that 'every person has to face consequences of one's actions either in this life or in the afterlife'. Good deeds are rewarded and bad ones result in punishment either here or hereafter. This is not to say that 'good' and 'bad' deeds are similarly defined in all religions, or the amount and mode of rewards and punishments for particular deeds are same in all religions. 

Hindus believe that everybody's good and bad deeds are recorded by Dharmraj, who decides immediately after one's death whether a person is to go to Swarg or to Nark. After completing the period of rewards/punishments there, everyone is reborn in one species or the other. However, If one leads a life of total detachment, one's soul does not carry the baggage of deeds with him and his Atma (soul) merges with Parmatma (God); where there is eternal bliss. According to Islam after one's death one has to wait in the grave till Qayamat, when Allah decides whether one should go to Jannat or Dozakh, where one has to live eternally. In Christianity also the belief is similar and one has to wait till  the day of judgement. Buddhists also believe in inevitability of Karmaphal

If one deeply and rationally analyses these beliefs, one comes across umpteen number of inexplicable anomalies and riddles.

  • The first and the foremost among them is the question why God does not reward or punish for one's deeds during one's life on earth. If he did so, it would have been a great incentive for everybody to be good  and this earth would have been a veritable Heaven. By keeping the consequences of one's action for afterlife, the God has indirectly become a privy to indulgence of humanbeings in bad deeds.
  • Secondly, no religion specifies that consequences of which actions will be faced during the present life and of which in the afterlife; instead, they keep the matter muddled. The reason for this muddle seems to be the fact that most of the bad-doers are seen prospering, happy, and lucky; while many good-doers are seen poor, unhealthy and unlucky.  This anomaly is attempted to be explained by  introducing the concept of the baggage of actions of previous life and that of some actions being rewarded/punished in the heaven/ hell instead of the present life.
  • Thirdly, while Hindus believe that one gets rebirth only after completely enduring the consequenses of one's actions in heaven/hell, surprisingly they also believe that the species in which one will be born in next life depends on one's actions in this life?
  • Fourthly, any concept of total detachment from one's actions as claimed in Hinduism seems impossible.
  • Fifthly, Islam believes that someone committing suicide even for killing innocent persons in the name of Mazahab will be lifted straight to heaven (despite his bad past), while ordinarily this should be considered the most cowardly and inhuman act?
We have seen above that some details in various beliefs differ clearly, yet the adherents of each religion claim infallability of their belief; and thus create confusion about the 'Truth'. Rational thought leads us to only one conclusion that the theory of Karmaphal is a figment of imagination; and so is the concept of rewards/punishments in heaven/ hell. Powerful, intelligent, and careful bad-doers often do not suffer for their deeds - instead, they and their progeny enjoy the fruits of their labors for long; and not-infrequently, good-doers and their progeny lead miserable lives.

Rana Pratap and his followers had to run away from Chittor and their descendents are still leading a nomad's life while Jaipur palace is flourishing; and so has been the future of Rani Lakshmibai Vs. Sindhias. Marauder Mahmud Ghazni gleefully plundered and destroyed Shiva's temple while his non-violent Bhaktas kept on prostrating seeking His protection. Not only the dishonest Netas of India are enjoying all the pleasures of life, but are also successfully ensuring great future for their progenies and syochophants. The truth is that rarely anybody in this world has become fabulously rich without Intelligently committing fraud, loot, or at least tax theft. And once some wise person becomes rich, usually a powerful mechanism for his protection from law and God gets activated automatically.  

And then God helps them who help themselves.    


More by :  Mahesh Chandra Dewedy

Top | Spirituality

Views: 3583      Comments: 6

Comment I agree that there is no clear definition of good and bad. They are relative and context dependant. The Law of Karma does not declare "good" or "bad". It simply states that what you do goes around and comes back to you. Eventually you face its consequences.

17-Feb-2012 11:24 AM

Comment Dear Dr. Gopal singh,
Bhagawati Charan Varma in Chitralekha had rightly come to the conclusion that 'Good' and 'Bad' are not definite- they are relative to time and place. A rational analysis of history or any individual's past will also prove that.Hence, how can there be reward or punihsment for any action whose quality is undefinable?
Mahesh Chandra Dewedy

Mahesh Chandra Dewedy
17-Feb-2012 08:14 AM

Comment "In the Nature the consequences of actions are immediate and not delayed":

It is true that law of cause and effect is continuous and effects are immediate on an event by event basis. However, for complex things to evolve this cause and effect chain may take plenty of time. In fact Nature is most patient in evolving things. It takes billions of years for the cosmic dust to gravitate into the formation of a star.

Briefly, the point is that in complex or compound effects the causes have to be in action for a longer period such as postulated in the Law of Karrma.

As far as what is the use of a long term result for a human with short life, that is a value judgment and depends on whether life itself is a short and finite event or a continuum in the space time domain as are other objects. This will lead to even a bigger debate and I am not sure we want to get into that.

I agree that you are not trying to send a message, but simply stating things as you find them rational. However, all rational statements eventually lead to future synthesis of actionable judgments.

16-Feb-2012 10:56 AM

Comment Dr Gopal Singh and Dr. Bsant Kumar Tariyal,

Thanks for your thoughtful comments.I have read your comments with great interest. I feel some clarifications are needed:

Dr. Gopal Singh- What is the use of long term trend for an individual? Life is short and Humans need immediate Karm-Phal.
In the Nature the consequense of an action is immediate and is not delayed.

Dr. Basant K. Tariyal:
So far as my understanding of Muslims is, they also believe in Karm-Phal, although their definition of Good and Bad karm may be flawed in some respects. Zakat is a good act in Islam, but conversion to Islam is better.
My article is just to state the truth and not meant for any message. 'Quest of Truth' is to seek the truth. In the final chapter I intend to write about message.

Mahesh Chandra Dwivedy

Mahesh Chandra Dewedy
15-Feb-2012 23:11 PM

Comment Respected Dewedy Ji:

Your reasoning is well structured and logic is sound particularly as you take religious beliefs and dismantle their apparent inadequacies. However, at the end your conclusion is drawn based upon how fallible the religious beliefs are.

Let us put the religions aside and look at the Law of Karma from pure logical perspective. We know from our experience that the Nature as we understand appears to be very systematic (even the quantum theory has rules). The very fact that we have developed scientific & logical thinking is a testament to Nature being systematic (whether we understand all her rules or not). It is logical then to assume that the same framework applies to our actions and behavior, since we are all part of Nature, and there may be a Law of Karma governing them. The law may be complex and not fully understood but still very plausible.

Let me give an example. Take the case of the stock market. It has short term daily and minute by minute fluctuation and also a long term trend. While short term changes are guided by a myriad of events and appear chaotic the longer term trend is very predictable and based upon the over- all growth of the country’s economy.

We cannot apply immediate (short term) cause and effect relationship to Law of Karma. But longer term trends appear to be understandable. If we discard it all together then the World would be totally chaotic which is contrary to the observations of Nature as stated above.

We need to give the Karma-Phal Theory some room to exist and not discard it altogether.

15-Feb-2012 11:42 AM

Comment This is a good start for a bebate. But Mahesh ji is mixing faith with logic, and these are usually incompatible.
Also, his statement that all relegions believe in Karmphal is erronious. Both Islam and and Christianity believe that there is no KarmPhal. On the judgement day, for he Muslims they will be raised from the dead and will face Allah With Muhammed beside him Muhammad will interced on behalf of all the Muslims and all of them will be sent to heaven, all others will be sent to Hell.
Christianity similarly preaches that on the judgement day all who have accepted Christ as a saviour will go to heaven and the rest will be sent to Hell. Thus the Abrahmic faiths explicitely do not believe in Karmphal,. It is only the Dharmic traditions specifically Hindus, Budhists and Jains believe in KarmPhal.
Finally to think that the wealth can only be earned by immoral ways, and [people who have thus gained wealth and power, are happy is debatable..
Also if thee message is for the masses to indulge in all sorts of trickery lying and cheating to achieve wealth and power, then the message is a sure way to destroy the civilization as we know it.

Dr. Basant K Tariyal
15-Feb-2012 09:04 AM

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