: Karma, Universal Law and Man made law.
Jun 18, 1998 04:15 PM
by Sophia TenBroeck
When we speak of the laws made by countries and observed by tribes, they
indeed show great variations as to their moral or ethical content. It
is a democratic consensus, or one that has come into effect by
tradition. These are man made, and represent the accepted norms of that
country at a particular time. Democratically we now have debates about
capital punishment and other laws, it is a common denominator and
reflects what the generality of people will tolerate. There are
therefore those do not accept the laws and are law breakers and the law
of the land tries to catch and punish them according to the prevailing
legal enactments. There are those whose morality and ethics are so far
superior to the laws of the land that they would not steal from their
neighbour even if the law were removed, or the police and judiciary
ceased to function.
On the other hand speaking of Karma we are not speaking of these man
made laws. But of the Law inherently prevailing in nature and the
beings that make her up, in their inter-relationships.
There then follows the situation developed by
Kym who said, on June 13, 98 : --
"I agree this is very likely - but then how do I know that the person
who, say, "robbed" me of my pay-check while I was walking down the
street isn't simply aiding me in regaining balance because, say, I, in a
former time, over-charged this person monetarily causing hardship for
her and her family? If I called the police, had her arrested, she ended
up imprisoned - would yet another "rebalance" have to occur? Karma seems
to imply that we should "turn the other cheek" since we don't know if
such an action, despite its seeming unfairness or wrongness, is actually
a necessary event brought on by us in a previous existence.
How does one choose their "battles" while keeping in mind 'karma?' Kym"
HPB also highlights this concern in the KEY, where she says :
"THEO. Karma, the universal law of retributive justice.
ENQ. Is it an intelligent law ?
THEO. For the Materialist, who calls the law of periodicity which
regulates the marshalling of the several
bodies, and all the other laws in nature, blind forces and mechanical
laws, no doubt Karma would be a law
of chance and no more. For us, no adjective or qualification could
describe that which is impersonal
and no entity, but a universal operative law. If you question me about
the causative intelligence in it, I
must answer you I do not know. But if you ask me to define its effects
and tell you what these are in our
belief, I may say that the experience of thousands of ages have shown us
that they are absolute and unerring
equity, wisdom, and intelligence. For Karma in its effects is an
unfailing redresser of human injustice,
and of all the failures of nature ; a stern adjuster of wrongs ; a
retributive law which rewards and punishes
with equal impartiality. It is, in the strictest sense, "no respecter
of persons," though, on the other hand
it can neither be propitiated, nor turned aside by prayer. This is a
belief common to Hindus and Bud-
dhists, who both believe in Karma.
ENQ. In this Christian dogmas contradict both, and I doubt whether any
Christian will accept the teaching.
THEO. No ; and Inman gave the reason for it many years ago. As he puts
it, while "the Christians will accept any nonsense, if promulgated by
the Church as a matter of faith....the Buddhists hold that nothing
which is contradicted by sound reason can be a true doctrine of Buddha."
They do not believe in any
pardon for their sins, except after an adequate and just punishment for
each evil deed or thought in a future incarnation, and a proportionate
compensation to the parties injured.
ENQ. Where is it so stated ?
THEO. In most of their sacred works. In the "Wheel of the Law" (p. 57)
you may find the following Theosophical tenet :-- "Buddhists believe
that every act, word or thought has its consequence, which will appear
sooner of later in the present or in the future state. Evil acts will
produce evil consequences, good
acts will produce good consequences : prosperity in this world, or
birth in heaven (Devachan)....in the
ENQ. Christian believe the same thing, don't they ?
THEO. Oh, no ; they believe in the pardon and the remission of all
sins. They are promised that if they only believe in the blood of
Christ (an innocent victim !), in the blood offered by Him for the
expiation of the sins of the whole of mankind, it will atone for every
mortal sin. And we believe neither in vicarious atonement, nor in the
possibility of the remission of the smallest sin by any god, not even by
a "personal Absolute" or "Infinite," if such a thing could have any
existence. What we believe in, is strict and impartial justice. Our
idea of the unknown Universal Deity, represented by Karma, is that it is
a Power which cannot fail, and can, therefore, have neither wrath nor
mercy, only absolute Equity, which leaves every cause, great or small,
to work out its inevitable effects. The saying of Jesus : "With what
measure you mete it shall be measured to you again" (Matth. vii., 2),
neither by expression nor implication points to any hope of future mercy
or salvation by proxy. This is why, recognising as we do in our
philosophy the justice of this statement, WE CANNOT RECOMMEND TOO
STRONGLY MERCY, CHARITY, AND FORGIVENESS OF MUTUAL OFFENCES. Resist
not evil, and render good for evil, are Buddhist precepts, and were
first preached in view of the implacability of Karmic law. For man to
take the law into his own hands is anyhow a sacrilegious presumption.
HUMAN LAW MAY USE RESTRICTIVE NOT PUNITIVE MEASURES ; but a man who,
believing in Karma, still revenges and refuses to forgive every injury,
thereby rendering good for evil, is a criminal and only hurts himself.
As Karma is sure to punish the man who wronged him, by seeking to
inflict an additional punishment on his enemy, he, who instead of
leaving that punishment to the great Law adds to it his own mite, only
begets thereby a cause for the future reward of his own enemy and a
future punishment for himself. The unfailing Regulator affects in each
incarnation the quality of its successor ; and the sum of the merit or
demerit in preceding ones determines it."
May this be a clarification in some measure, Sophia
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