Doctrine of Karma – Law of Retribution

Emerson says, “Every act rewards itself first in our own soul, then in circumstance. People call the circumstance retribution.”


रागद्वेषवियुक्तैस्तु विषयानिन्द्रियैश्चरन्‌ आत्मवश्यैर्विधेयात्मा प्रसादमधिगच्छति — A wise man moves about the objects of senses free from love and hatred keeping the tranquil state of mind absolutely controlled by his true Self. — Bhagavad Gita, Ch. 2, 64.

Swami Abhedananda, Doctrine of Karma As every act brings its own reward by the law of compensation, so every crime brings its own punishment by the law of retribution, whether it is found in this life or in the next.

The soul perceives the causal retribution, but the people call the change of external circumstances as retribution which comes after some time. This law manifests itself in the soul long before the external changes appear. Emerson says, “Every act rewards itself first in our own soul, then in circumstance. People call the circumstance retribution.”

St. Bernard said, “Nothing can work me damage, except myself; the harm that I sustain I carry about with me and never am a real sufferer but by my own fault.” It is for this reason that the Hindus although do not believe in the hell-fire doctrine, struggle hard to live virtuous lives simply fearing the eternal law of karma. The Buddhists who do not believe in a personal God, and deny existence of the permanent entity of the soul, have founded their ethics and religion upon this universal law of karma, or of cause and sequence.

The doctrine of karma can explain the mysterious problem of good and evil and reconcile man to the terrible and apparent injustice of life. Those who believe in this noble doctrine, are never disturbed in their minds at the sight of the inequalities of birth and fortune, or of intellect and capacities around them. The knowledge of this universal truth prevents them from cursing life. The law of karma, eternal as it is, predestines nothing and no one, but, on the contrary, making every one free agent for action, shows the way out of the world of misery, through good thoughts and good deeds. We really create by our actions the causes of good and evil and receive reward or punishment as the reactions of our thoughts and deeds by the law of compensation.

(..To be continued, 4th of a seven part series).

Author: Jyoti

Old-time Wikipedian, audio recording artist, graphic designer, professional programmer, and a blogger.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s