2020-06-21 at 4:16 am #9044
The Covid Pan(or Plan)demic & the world’s reaction to it, including the practices persons are told to follow (wearing of masks primarily), has raised a question in my mind about karma & “contagious” diseases.
My understanding is that the karmic judicial system is rigid—one gets what one deserves, not more, not less. One’s current & future choices don’t change their due karma but do create new karma. And one’s (material) choices & actions never alter another’s due karma. (Karma is only dissolved or altered by spiritual intervention.)
If it is someone’s karmic due to suffer a certain amount of bodily distress or disease, isn’t it true that no second party can cause that person’s distress but can only be the instrument of it (for ex., by their being the carrier of a contagious virus)? For ex., some say that if a person isn’t wearing a face mask they are putting others at risk. I agree that such a person could potentially be an instrument of another’s karma by not wearing a mask. But even if they were wearing a mask, if the other party is destined to suffer, then they will do so in one form or another regardless. Simply some other player or force will be the agent.
In other words, if indeed it is determined that not wearing a mask is an irresponsible or negligent act, wouldn’t that “wrong” choice only have consequences for the choice-maker & not for others? I agree that we each must care for our & our dependents’ health & safety responsibly; we may get negative karmic reactions if we’re negligent in this matter. But it seems unreasonable to propose that another person’s karma is at stake due to my choices. Only I will get a karmic reaction, not them, if I allow myself to be an agent for their suffering.
Thus the ideas of “contagious” disease & determined karma seem to me to indicate that face masks may be worn for one’s own protection (from disease & from the karmic reaction for being negligent) but not for the protection of others, for they’ll get their due karma (good or bad) regardless of how others behave.
Perhaps I’m wrong, but it seems that a thorough understanding of karma is necessary if the world at all wishes to know how to address problems such as a viral pandemic on a practical level.
2020-06-21 at 5:52 am #9045
I hope you are keeping safe.
Yes, you are correct. Our suffering is independent of what others do or not do. If we are ill, we can make sure that we don’t make others ill. But we cannot prevent others from getting ill.
These contagions are called adidaivika form of suffering. This is a broad category that includes floods, earthquakes, pestilence, and plagues. When adidaivika form of suffering arises, then many people suffer at the same time. But everyone’s suffering is determined by their own karma.
2020-06-22 at 2:01 am #9047
Yes, thank you, I have been very well. I hope the same for you & your family.
And thank you for the reply. This pandemic event has revealed to me just how much persons professing to be Gaudiya Vaishnavas do not actually believe in or properly understand the system of karma. After decades of sadhana we thought we were ready for gopi-bhava when in actuality we haven’t even realized the ABCs of Bhagavad-gita. 🙁
2020-06-26 at 5:16 am #9048
For the last few hundred years, Western society has implemented two types of separations: (1) the separation of church and state, and (2) the separation of mind and body. As a result, you get three domains of study (or ‘ontologies’ if you will) — the body studied by natural sciences, the mind studied by mind sciences, and society studied by social sciences. With this separation, religion falls within ‘mind sciences’. It is impossible to talk about ‘religious experience’ in social science or natural science. But it is possible in ‘mind sciences’; ESP, paranormal, etc. are valid subjects in psychology, for example.
The result of this separation is that religious experience has no impact on the study of society and the body. People carry on social-economic-political discourse independent of religion, because society is separate from the mind, due to separation of church and state. Likewise, they talk about religion independent of the natural sciences, because the mind is separate from the body, owing to the Cartesian mind-body divide and its use by the Church.
In Vedic philosophy, there are indeed three domains. The sat is the domain of sambandha or relations and encompasses social science. The chit is the domain of the body and mind, but it is abhidheya or cognition and conation — perceiving and acting — and it constitutes natural science. The ananda is the domain of purpose, emotions, desires, and it constitutes the prayojana and most of religion along with psychology falls into this.
However, these three domains are also causally connected to each other. Sometimes, purpose leads to a relation, which then leads to knowledge and activity. Sometimes, relation creates a duty, causes knowledge and activity, and then produces a purpose. And sometimes, the activity and knowledge creates a purpose, which then creates or modifies a relationship. The main point is that there are three different domains, but they are also causally connected.
Aside from this causal connection, in which the causes precede the effects, in case of the soul, the three aspects also exist simultaneously, and therefore become compelmentary aspects. So, we can never have an experience without the combination of these three aspects.
This complicates our understanding, because there are (1) three things, (2) they cause each other, and (3) they exist simultaneously as complementary aspects. This is problematic because if there are three things, then they must be independent. If we say that they are causing each other, only one could be the cause of another, and each of the three could not cause each other. Finally, if they are causes and effects, then they must precede and follow each other, and cannot exist simultaneously. All these ideas about separation, causality, precedence, hamper our understanding of the soul. And they are deeply ingrained in Western society.
Even spiritualists or devotees don’t know about the soul. They have some vague ideas about the ‘mind’ separate from the body and the society. Examples of such independence among the devotees are — (a) how you clothe the body has no impact on your spirituality, and (b) your following of social norms like equality, justice, etc. has no effect on your spirituality. These are simply byproducts of Western separations, but these are also false.
The truth is subtle. We accept the separation of society, body, and mind, and as a result we say that it is possible to have devotion in any society and in any body, because devotion is different from the social condition and the bodily existence. People interpret this according to their preexisting separation doctrines. The other facts, namely, that these are aspects of the same reality, and that they are mutually the cause of each other, are ignored.
So, we need three ideas: (1) separation, (2) mutual causality, and (3) complementary co-existence. This is the the theory of the soul. The problem is that because the word ‘soul’ has been coopted during translations, the preexisting notions of the soul have polluted our thinking. What you are referring to is due to the acceptance of (1) and the rejection of (2) and (3).
I don’t think anyone is prepared to have such conversations today.
- This reply was modified 2 weeks, 6 days ago by Ashish Dalela.
2020-06-26 at 12:59 pm #9116
If someone’s karma is to ignore health and ignore the dangers of stress to the body then they will have health problems. These health problems that one might have could come in various ways and severity. Karma isn’t a cause and affect as in if I wear a mask half the time I have a 50 percent chance of getting something, biology doesn’t work like that either. Biologically speaking I can still get the COVID 19 regardless of my actions or inaction according to the biology information we have in the virus.
2020-06-26 at 3:32 pm #9155
If someone’s karma is to ignore health and ignore the dangers of stress to the body then they will have health problems
I can understand from where you are coming at this, but I’m afraid it’s not entirely correct. There are two kinds of destinies, which are called guna and karma. Karma is what will happen you, and Guna is how you will respond to it. Karma is our nurture, and Guna is our nature.
It is not our karma to ignore health. It is our guna. These natures are material, and are triggered by time. The soul has the free will to reject these automatically created reactions.
Karma isn’t a cause and affect as in if I wear a mask half the time I have a 50 percent chance of getting something
Karma is an effect, but even if you wear mask 100% of the time, you will still get sick.
Biologically speaking I can still get the COVID 19 regardless of my actions or inaction according to the biology information we have in the virus
There are 6 trillion cells, 60 trillion bacteria, and 600 trillion viruses in our body. They are timebombs which can be activated at any time. That activation is karma.
From what you have written, it seems that you equate karma with a destiny. It is not. It is only what will happen to you, not how you will respond to it.
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