The Law of Karma seems straight forward enough. It is simple cause and effect. For every action, there is an equal but opposite reaction. It’s just elementary, Newtonian physics. We live in a cause and effect world—a world of Karma. However, when we enter the domain of justice, things become quite obscure.
It is interesting to look up the word “justice” in dictionaries. The definitions are rather circular, using words like “righteous,” “moral,” “just,” “divine law,” “moral law,” etc. Merriam Webster suggests moral be described as: “perceptual or psychological rather than tangible or practical in nature or effect.”
I recall a man on the news proclaiming moral justice when a hurricane struck a gay community in south Florida. I recall a woman being mocked on the news when she even suggested that nature delivers moral Karma through acts or events of nature in the physical world. We are all quite aware of ‘justice’ being delivered by the courts in outrageous ‘legal’ ways, from the Salem witch trials to the nightly news.
Is justice really nothing more than, as Miriam Webster suggests, a psychological or perceptual, subjective judgement call? Do facts and reason come in at a distant second place to emotional gut reactions that vary wildly from one generation, one era, one cultural group, one country, and one state to the next? Dare we call that justice?
Can we really say there is Divine justice when we see small children suffer, aircrafts crash with over a hundred on board, and cities demolished by the random assault of a tornado? Can what actually IS be so radically divergent from what we base our lives upon and what we adamantly cling to with our convictions and perspectives?
Is there a direct correlation, a connection, between the physical cause and effect world and the delivery of moral justice? If so, can we even begin to fathom such a principle, and decide for ourselves when justice was served and why?
I dare not presume that I can sway the course of human behavior with my opinion on this matter. Yet, I do believe we can all gain by taking a step back and reflecting on this subject with an ever-broadening vision. As we do so, the mechanics of creation seamlessly merge the complexities of life, both physical and moral, into a very simple, yet profound, principle. Everything is seen to be infinitely integrated, correlated, and coherent. All the pieces of the puzzle do, ultimately, come together.
There is, as theologians and modern physicist alike have claimed, one thing that is the source of everything. All things emerge from and return to that. I liken the principle to water from the ocean becoming rain on the mountain top, and returning via a long tumbling journey down a mountain stream to that ocean. All follow the path of karmic events as we do our best to navigate the waters of life. As our vision broadens, we become ever increasingly free from the clutches that Karma has upon the very nature of our thoughts and emotions.
As we come to understand the nature of life more and more fully, our relationship with life becomes wiser: our behavior becomes less arrogant and more innocent; our convictions become more humble; our perspectives become less adamantly adhered to; our gut instincts become more reflective and tempered; and our will, actions, and reactions become more and more aligned with the nature of life. The nature of life is the nature of Mother Nature, is the nature of Oneness, the nature of God. We simply do our best to navigate the waters of the unfathomable flow of life.
Emancipation means freedom from the clutches of narrowness of vision—living in the world of Karma, but not being lost to it— awakening to that which lies just beyond the horizon of the world of Karma. In that place, beyond the horizon, beyond the narrowness of human conviction, beyond the world of cause and effect, all things unify. People sing its praises in church on Sundays. All people long for it. It dwells within us all, yet is hidden behind the curtain of Karma. We need only to see past that curtain.
Through the toils and tribulations of life, we struggle with relativity until the clouds of Karma often can part, and we see beyond relativity—we gain emancipation. Yet, even the emancipated deal with relativity and injustice when they function in this world of Karma, this world of relative justice and injustice.
Even when a divine incarnation enters into this world of imperfection, they are dealing with imperfection. Even when a divine being, Lord Rama as an example, entered the world of relativity, his interactions were in this world of imperfection. In spite of our idealized notions, there is no True Justice in the field of relativity. That is what relativity means. It’s all relative.
My first thoughts after sitting with this are of Lord Krishna and Arjuna.
Thank you for this explanation. I tells me to keep meditating. Thank you
For me, some blogs just need to be absorbed, and this is one of them. . . . Words may be more available in a few months . . .
It is my understanding that karma is manipulated by the gods. There is a moment in each of our lives, when we are very young, where they present us with different scenarios and observe how we react to them. Based on our reactions, they make a determination as to how our karma will play out. They are able to interfere with the pure physics of karma, and adjust it to a certain extent to serve their purposes. With this understanding, karma is not simply cause and effect. It is subject to the whims and designs of the gods. I suppose it can be argued that there is no escaping the divine plan, and that ultimately even the interference is a perfect part of it. I, for one, would prefer to have no interference. I suppose from their perspective the interference is necessary. Is there such a thing as divine law/universal law/natural law? If so, wouldn’t the interference be in violation of it? Or are they exploiting a technicality, where although the karma is manipulated, it is still considered a pure delivery of it?
We could say there are two forms of justice… that of humans, and that of nature. But they essentially never really see eye to eye. We can only do our best until ultimately we awaken… Meditate, reflect, ponder, and do your best… as Adi Shankara said, the path to enlightenment is the path of discernment. Proper meditation can be viewed as the highest form of discernment… transcending thoughts and emotions.