The Sanskrit word “Karma” found its way into the English dictionary long ago so today even the most conservative American has a sense of what it means. Since then John Lennon sang: “Instant Karma Is Going To Get You,” and bumper stickers mock: “Don’t let your Karma Run Over My Dogma.“ But Karma is no joking matter.
The Bible explains karma succinctly: “What a man sows, that he shall also reap.” – Galatians 6:7 Newton’s third law of motion also confirms the presence of karma: “For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.” Yet despite these reputable sources, the Western world fails to comprehend the environmental debt we are accumulating as a reaction to our egregious disregard for the laws of nature.
There are now a wide range of healers, shamans, spiritual coaches, and pontificating gurus that say they believe in karma but then preach that happiness begins when we stop injecting meaning into a vacuous world! They may advocate “silent meditation,” “counting the breath,” or the pursuit of “ceaseless inquiry” but these techniques fail to eliminate karma. A plethora of methods have emerged from the beguiling contradictory rhetoric of the New Age and what they all share in common is an obvious lack of understanding about how the laws of karma work. Some gurus are so pandering they dismiss the concept of karma altogether and dumb the purpose of life down to the recklessly cosset and pathetically simple karma-magnet mantra: “Shut Up & Live.” Whether one has good intentions or is flagrantly incorrigible, the stringent laws of karma persist just like the laws of gravity.
Over the last 50 years the West has enjoyed unprecedented prosperity and America is the epitome of comfortable living as is evident by our myopic priorities. We resent the idea of dumping our garbage in our own back yard, but don’t have any problem shipping it off to someone else’s neighborhood. We want low growth neighborhoods but live in huge climate-controlled air-conditioned homes equipped with hot water on demand, 20 cubic/ft refrigerators, manicured lawns, and personal hot tubs. We make laws against cruelty to our pets and domesticated animals, but show absolutely no concern for the innocent creatures which live tortured lives in factory farms so our children can eat them at school. We want cheap energy, clean air, and abundant fresh water but then turn to the butcher for tri-tips, buffalo wings, and barbeque burgers not realizing that the meat industry is more destructive to the environment than all of the oil, gas, and coal providers put together!
Our grace period is over. Some of us will have to work harder to keep up with the Jones, but in some parts of the world karma will mean more crime, homelessness and starvation. Recycling may assuage some guilt but it does nothing to appease the karma that comes from ongoing neglect, ignorance and the narcissistic over-overindulgence we take for granted as is evident when “Earth Day” morphs into just another high carbon footprint venue for more otiose commerce. As disconsolate as all this may be, it is still insignificant in relation to the huge karmic "Blow-Back" starting to unfold in the form of economic crisis, loss of biodiversity, an endless war and the hemorrhaging of the dollar.
I appreciate the goal of those who hold peace vigils and admire the well-intended efforts of the “Localvors,” but as long as the laws of karma are violated, peace will escape us and our own food chain will remain jeopardized. How many people ever stop to consider where they would get their dinner from if the huge eighteen wheeler trucks stopped making deliveries to the local supermarket? How many well intended environmentalists even know that it requires over 2500 gallons of our dwindling fresh water supply to produce just one ¼ lb fast food lunch burger?
OK. I don’t really expect readers to accept me as an authority on how unforgiving the laws of Karma are. But perhaps they will appreciate the consortium of United Nations multinational scientists and several other reputable organizations which concur that we are rapidly heading towards a worldwide environmental holocaust if we don’t change our ways. The ecological clock is ticking and it behooves every socially conscious sentient being to understand the role they play in either escalating our karmic dept or mitigating it.
Oct 01, 2022
Gunarnava Sitaram Das for ISKCON Sacramento
Sep 25, 2022
Archbishop Eric Escala, Continuing Anglican Church