Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Bad Indian Science and my idea of Karma

This is the goodnewsindia link

This is the kind of stuff I am talking about when I say bad science. Looking at the claim, you can see that it is a fake. "Unseen atmospheric and gravitational forces" - should make you think twice.

The bad thing is that got cheated in this case and got sound criticism from a Nobel Laureate. Goodnewsindia has been a good site and the fact that they have quickly published this recantment shows how good they are.

Now, if some one knows that their claims are false, how can you have the courage to lay stake to that claim in front of a million people ?

In KannaDa, the story of puNyakOTi is a very famous one. It speaks of a cow puNyakOTi's adherence to truth in the face of life threatening odds. That love of truth is what marks sanAtana dharma. Even if the truth is against one, it is expected for one to adhere to truth under all possible circumstances. Such is the love of truth in Indian culture.

But unfortunately, all these teachings and wisdom are left to rot in books. We Indians have the highest standard of ethics and morals, if we are to judge these standards by what is found in Hindu scriptures. However, the implementation is pathetic.

Some people follow Dharma in a unique way. First, they take bribes (I am not talking of cases where one is 'forced' to take a bribe. In those cases, even otherwise truthful people are forced to compromise for fear of their lives.) and use them. Then the fear of doing something immoral haunts them. So what recourse do they take ? They perform a homa (sacrifice) at home (of course, with the bribe money itself) and think that their sins have been pardoned. Of course, the reason for the homa is not mentioned to anybody. This is just like a Christian confession.

The idea behind Confession is also good. The doer of sin should muster courage to talk about it to a third party. The fear of doing that keeps the person from performing another sin. But now, people commit sins and think that they are pardoned after confessing to their favorite priest.

But the law of karma works differently. You will get payback for whatever you did. It may not be now. It may not be in the way you expect it. But it will affect you. As the Bible (?) says "as you sow, so shall you reap". This is the inviolable law of karma - which is also referred to as Ruta in the veda.

prAyashchitta (loosely translated as atonement) is meant to address the bad deed done by the person. It tries to make sure that it is not repeated in the future. But that action will still have its reaction.

With all this theory, people still commit 'sins' (what is sin - is a deep question. But one will know when one has sinned) and weep when they receive the fruits, be it in this birth or subsequent ones.

Karma cannot be proved. But it cannot be disproved either. It is one of those supernatural concepts - yet applicable in our everyday life.

I have a simple experiment. Suppose you have 'n' choices to make. Suppose all choices appear reasonable to you. What choice will you finally make ? What is it that makes the choice ? I am not talking of obvious choices like a bottle of poison v/s a bottle of orange juice. But more like a choice between apple juice and orange juice.

The actual process of choice making is indeed mysterious. After having made the choice, we move back and forth. I suppose Robert Frost's poem "The Road not taken" (wow, how this came to mind!) sums it up pretty well! Amazingly - I just read it - (you can read it here
) it does!

Even Robert Frost does not know the answer. What is it that made him choose one path over the other ? Especially in the face of incomplete knowledge. As I see it, this is your old karma acting. The latent tendencies of the mind are referred to as vAsanas and our past karma affects us this way.

Let me know if some one who reads this agrees or disagrees.

|| sarve janAH sukhino bhavantu||

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