Posted Fri, 03/12/2010 iskconprisonministry.us
Bhakta Robert Harrington
Like children everywhere, when I was a young boy I often stated with great frustration, “It’s not fair.” As a child I had a very limited understanding of fairness and justice. And now as an adult I still find myself complaining about the seeming unfairness of different things. Judging simply by appearances, life seems grossly unfair. But with spiritual insight and instructions we come to understand that it is perfectly fair and there is perfect justice.
In the past when I had thoughts to do something wrong I would say to myself, “Who’s going to know? There is no witness so I will not be punished.” This reasoning leads to much suffering. The scripture tells us that Krsna is always within us witnessing every action, word and thought. Nothing is hidden. God does not interfere with our choices. But He warns us that there is law. Whether we believe in it and accept it or not, divine law is never frustrated. This is the law of karma, the law governing activities. It is perfect and inescapable. We r3eap what we sow but since the consequences of actions are not always immediate, foolish men think there is no God and no justice.
The major misconception is that the consequences of our actions (rewards or punishments) must come in this lifetime. It is not always so. Judging the fairness of events in the context of one lifetime is like trying to judge the fairness of events observed in a single day without knowing what happened in the days before. We see a man evicted from his house, his wife leaves him the same day and when he gets to work that day he is fired. We would conclude that he was a victim and life was treating him unfairly. Later, we find out he had not paid the rest in several months spending his money on alcohol and prostitutes, he had beaten his wife for the past two weeks and several days before being fired he had stolen a large sum of money from the boss’ safe. He was not a victim. He was getting what he deserved.
Many ask, “Where is the justice when a man is convicted and sentenced for a crime he did not commit?” We have to look at the bigger picture. We have been assuming and shedding physical bodies for a long, loin time. And somewhere, at sometime, that man did something that warranted the circumstances he is now facing.
Some people ask, “If there is reincarnation, why don’t we remember?” I personally feel this is an example of the mercy of Krsna. It is painful enough for me to remember the transgressions I have committed in this lifetime. I would not want the burden of remembering those from previous lifetimes. In the Bhagavad-git, Krsna states, “I am sitting in everyone’s heart. From Me come remembrance, knowledge and forgetfulness.”
Also, it would be difficult to know the suffering we have created for ourselves and others as well as the consequences we are facing. We would be overwhelmed. There is much we do not remember and this is the mercy of Krsna.
Eventually the intelligent man realizes that he does not get away with anything because he is endlessly caught in a diseased condition of material entanglement constantly creating more and more karma as a result of fruitive action. Krsna allows us to continue like this as long as we want. But if we want out, He also offers a way. By canting His names and studying Krsna consciousness we can attain the knowledge that will liberate us from this cyclic existence in this material prison.
“One who knows the transcendental nature of My appearance and activities does not, upon leaving the body, take his birth again in this material world, but attains my eternal abode, O Arjuna.: (B.G. 4.9)
Knowing that whatever circumstances I am experiencing or facing are the result of my own karma I need not lament. I experience my karma without complaining knowing that nothing happens by chance and God’s divine law is perfect and unavoidable.