Thursday, 22 October 2015

William Q Judge's Aphorisms on Karma and Hindu Scripture (Part 1)

From another well-know Judge article, these 31 aphorisms first appeared in the March 1893 issue of The Path. In the May and June 1893 issues of The Theosophist, a learned Hindu pandit, E. Desikacharya, somewhat critically responded by stating that these are fairly common traditional notions about Karma, providing an impressive series of quotations. Below are the aphorisms together with the passages from Hindu scripture:

(1) There is no Karma unless there is a being to make it or feel its effects.
"If they (the afflictions) are the root (of Karma) fructification (or result) is rank, years, and enjoyment" Patanjali, Yoga Sutras (II. 1:3).

"All the creatures in the world would have been exterminated if there were no Karma. If also Karma bore no fruits, creatures would have never multiplied ......... Without Karma, the course of life itself would be impossible." (Mahabharata (Vanaparva, sec. XXXII)

"There must be a body for the Karma to operate on, and Karma to operate on a body" (Vatsyayana's Commentary on the Nyaya Sutras, III. 2, 64).

(2) Karma is the adjustment of effects flowing from causes, during which the being upon whom and through whom that adjustment is effected experiences pain or pleasure.
"These (Karmas) have joy or suffering as their fruits, according as the cause is virtue or vice." Patanjali, Yoga Sutras (II, 14)

(3) Karma is an undeviating and unerring tendency in the Universe to restore equilibrium, and it operates incessantly.
"The consequence of the Karma that is once done can never be obviated." (Mahabharata. Vanaparva CCIX)

(4) The apparent stoppage of this restoration to equilibrium is due to the necessary adjustment of disturbance at some other spot, place, or focus which is visible only to the Yogi, to the Sage, or the perfect Seer: there is therefore no stoppage, but only a hiding from view.
"The Karma done must be suffered, whether good or bad." (Suta Samhita)

"Indeed, all creatures live according to the Karma of a former life, even the Creator and the Ordainer of the Universe, like a crane that liyeth on the water (untaught by anyone)". (Mahabharata. Vanaparva, Sec. XXXII):

(5) Karma operates on all things and beings from the minutest conceivable atom to Brahma. Proceeding in the three worlds of men, gods, and the elemental beings, no spot in the manifested universe is exempt from its sway.
"Karma affects the whole Universe from Brahman to the grass," Mahabharata

See also Manu Smriti (XII, 9-51)

(6) Karma is not subject to time, and therefore he who knows what is the ultimate division of time in this Universe knows Karma.
"As it (Karma) is not controlled by Time and Space, it should not be judged by Time and Space." (Vyasadeva, Commentary on Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras - II, 1:1)

(7) For all other men Karma is in its essential nature unknown and unknowable.
" It is very difficult, to know which is Karma and which is not Karma". (Bhagavadgita, IV, 17)

"He who knows it is a wise man" (Bhagavadgita, V. 19). )

(8) But its action may be known by calculation from cause to effect; and this calculation is possible because the effect is wrapped up in and is not succedent to the cause.
See Manu (Chap. XII, 39-51)

"We have to conjecture about the nature of our previous Karma, by our present birth" (Vyasadeva, Commentary on Patanjali II,13)

"Its action can only be conjectured," (Bhojadeva, Commentary on Patanjali)

(9) The Karma of this earth is the combination of the acts and thoughts of all beings of every grade which were concerned in the preceding Manvantara or evolutionary stream from which ours flows.
Since every cause must have an effect and since the present Karma is the result of past Karma, and Karma is thus said by Sankaracharya to be with no beginning, it is reasonable to suppose that the Karma of the present Manvantara is the result of the past.

(10) And as those beings include Lords of Power and Holy Men, as well as weak and wicked ones, the period of the earth's duration is greater than that of any entity or race upon it.
(see Patanjali's Yoga Sutra II, 1, Vyasadevas Commentary)

(11) Because the Karma of this earth and its races began in a past too far back for human minds to reach, an enquiry into its beginning is useless and profitless.
"The objection would be valid if the world was had a beginning; but, as it is without beginning, merit and inequaity are like seed and sprout, caused as well as causes, and there is therefore no logical objection to their operation." (Sankara, Commentary on Bhagavadgita, II. 1. 35)
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Part 2