Last week I wrote about controversial philosophies which you can find easily in Hinduism. I described the Karma philosophy, explained that people take their bath in the Ganges during the Kumbh Mela in order to reach heaven or to reach liberation. Today I would like to write about another contradiction about the Karma philosophy which can easily confuse you.
I already explained that heaven or hell in Hinduism is a place where you either get punished for your Karma debt or get rewarded for having a positive Karma bank balance. If you have done your penance for all your bad Karma and have spent your time in hell as a punishment or if you had extra good Karma and spent it while staying in heaven, you should be reborn with a Karma bank balance of zero, just like a new account.
I believe however that you all have heard about people telling of lessons from past lives, of Karma of a previous life that they still have to work on and blaming events of this life on their Karma of previous lives. This is of course also a concept that originates in India, in Hinduism.
There is the idea that you do bad Karma in this life and get reborn as a creature of lower consciousness, a dog for example, as a punishment for your bad deeds. If you did lots of good Karma, you are supposed to be rewarded by being reborn in a good life. Rich people who are very lucky in life are thought to have good Karma from a previous life while people who are born into poor families or have serious health problems, especially from birth, are thought to have bad Karma left from before. Lower caste people are generally thought to not have good Karma from before while higher-caste people are said to have lots of good Karma from previous lives.
In this philosophy, there is no heaven or hell in between, everything happens on earth, in life. You carry your Karma along into your next life. When you have reached the point when you don’t do good or bad Karma anymore, you reach liberation.
So you see, these two philosophies absolutely don’t fit together! You can either believe that you come to this life on earth without any Karma or with all Karma of your previous lives. It doesn’t work together but Hinduism is flexible enough to let its followers choose what they like.
If you thought that Sadhus, who are completely detached from everything material, are very pious people who do good for others, you are wrong. They don’t want to help others, they don’t want to do good and get good Karma. They want to reach liberation, so they don’t try to make either good or bad Karma.
Opposite to this philosophy another attitude emerged, the attitude of a lot of people especially here in Vrindavan: they want to do live in love and devotion. They do good and thus create good Karma so that they are again and again reborn. They don’t want to reach liberation, they want to come back to this earth again so that they can live even longer in love and devotion.
Don’t you see that this all is just a matter of how you turn words in one way or the other? Don’t you see that you can simply choose what is comfortable for you? Once you realize this, don’t you think that religion is just altogether a big hoax?