Karma & Newton’s Third Law of Motion

Dear Editor,
The topic of karma is very complex and intriguing, besotted with a theory that is very revered in Hinduism. The theory of karma is very often misconstrued by many. But as of recently, the theory and its concepts have been permeating the various religions and cultures, to the extent that its concepts and beliefs are practiced in most cultures.
Karma in Hinduism means a deed or an act. And whenever there is a deed or an act a negative or a positive effect is produced, or simply put it; whenever there is a cause, there is always an effect. It is stated in Sanskrit, which is considered the world’s oldest language, that has been spoken approximately since 5000 BC and I quote in Sanskrit “Kritam karma kartaram nugachhati” which translates in English as, everyone has to reap the fruits of his or her own actions, whether negative or positive.
In Hinduism, it is disseminated that there are three types of karma. They are: 1) Parabdha, 2) Sanchit and 3) Kriyamaan.
It is believed that Parabdha refers to acts or deeds that were sowed in the last life, the result of which, we will receive in this life. Sanchit, on the other hand, is believed to be the acts or deeds we are committing in our current lives, the results of which we will receive in this life. And for Kriyamaan, the last of the three karmas, it is believed that what we do in our current lives, we will receive the result in the next life. But per Hinduism, for one to achieve good karma, one must adhere to the four fruits of Hinduism; that being: 1) Dharma, 2) Artha, 3) Kaam, and 4) Moksha.
Dharma, as per ancient texts written by saints and sages, can be achieved by adhering to the truth, having sympathy, compassion and pity, distinguishing between wrong and right, control over mind, exercising non-violence, respecting the relationship between a husband and a wife, treating everyone alike, studying the scriptures and a host of other qualities that would contribute to achieving this sacred goal.
Artha is to acquire some money for comforts, security, and fulfilling one’s duties and responsibilities, while Kaam refers to the fulfilment of one’s desires for joy and bliss. On the other hand, Moksha refers to the liberation of the soul from the bondage of the flesh; that is, our physical bodies.
Karma, according to Hinduism, plays an integral part in the lives of Hindus. It is believed that the concept of karma has an impact on the life and death cycle in Hinduism; a cycle that is called Samsara, which is commonly known as reincarnation or the transmigration of the souls.
The concept of karma as per Hinduism can result in the positives or the negatives, depending on one’s actions. For example, it is believed that a person whose actions are in accordance with the dharmic duties as propagated in Hinduism, subsequent to their passing, will take birth in a beautiful and healthy human body. On the other hand, a person whose actions are contrary to the norms of Hindu dharma, that person will take birth in one of the species lower than that of our human beings.
The attributes of karma are also synonymous to other religions. As for example, Christianity promulgates that their followers should adhere to the ten Commandments, while Islam also propagates that their followers should adhere to the five pillars; that being: Iman or faith, Salah or prayers, Zakat or financial obligations, Swam or fasting and, Hajj or pilgrimage.
The concept of karma, on the other hand, is also likened to that of the modern-day Newton’s Third Law of Motion that states, “For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction”. This concept is being played out in our daily lives, whether knowingly or unknowingly. Let us take the scenario of a person being tried for murder, which is very common in today’s society. During the trial, it is discovered that the person had a history of abuse in childhood, is neglected by his or her family and a host of other issues that would manifest in this type of behaviour as exhibited by the accused. The law of karma comes into play.
Another scenario that is commonly played out in today’s society, which is very endemic, is domestic abuse. Domestic abuse within the family, whether physical or mental, transcends and materialises in various ways that affect everyone within the family and extended family. And it is for this reason, society is taking a serious view by institution laws that would try to thwart domestic abuse occurrences.
The first and foremost effect to a prolonged domestic abuse is inevitable; a divorce. In domestic abuse, these battered women suffer mental and physical problems. In reality, the emotional and psychological abuses received by women from batterers may be more costly to treat than that of physical injuries.
It is indicated that one-third of the children who witnessed the battering of their mothers demonstrated significant behavioural and emotional problems, which include psychosomatic disorders, anxiety and fear, sleep disruption and school problems. It is further indicated that boys who witness their father’s abuse of their mother are more likely to inflict severe violence as adults and are more prone to batter their female partners as adult. Data also suggests that girls who witness their mothers being abused may tolerate abuse as adults more than girls who do not. The law of karma comes into play.
The philosophy of the law of karma and Newton’s Third Law of Motion are ever evident in our lives. The law of karma is undoubtedly synonymous to Newton’s Third Law of Motion, which promulgates that the energy we exhibit, whether negative or positive, is ultimately returned to us as good or bad Karma, or should I say, whenever there is a cause, there is always an effect. Simply put, karma like Newton’s Third Law of Motion has no menu. One is served what one sows. In reality, the law of karma and Newton’s Third Law of Motion describe the same underlying principle which can probably teach us how to live a more dignified life in society.

Mani Jadunauth