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    Why do Bad things happen to Good people? The Cost of being really Spiritual.


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    Note: This discussion is only for people who believe in GOD and Mukthi and self realization etc.

    This is one of the most difficult questions in all of theology/religion.If you google with this sentence you will find a number of answers in the view of Christianity and Judaism.

    Often we read stories of saints who suffered a lot before attaining salvation. Then we start wondering why?

    What is the cause? We see the effect and we try to find the cause.

    There are many questions in life which we ask and try to find an answer. Humanity has made tremendous progress because of such inquisitiveness. What is called renaissance. Science has provided many answers. But even Science has not been able to provide all the answers.

    For example. Why do we Yawn? It may come a surprise to you that there is no answer. There are theories. But none of them have been found wholly satisfactory.

    In religion/theology it is only theories.

    Coming back to our original question.

    The stock answer is that GOD was testing him. But that answer does not satisfy many. The relationship between GOD and his devotee is very intimate. Like between Mother and Son or similar relationship. In such relationships one does not test the other. In fact when either a mother/father starts testing her/his children or a husband/wife starts testing the wife/husband the results are often unpredictable and unsatisfactory. It is generally accepted that LOVE should never be put to test.

    So the theory that GOD tests the devotee by putting him to hardship is not a satisfactory one. GOD loves his Devotee and will never put him to hardships.

    If it so what is the cause of the hardships?

    The Karma theory of Hinduism explains why.

    1. The results of Karma has to be reaped by all. There is no escape from it.

    2. Prarabdha is that portion of the part of Karma which is responsible for the present body. It is ripe for reaping. It cannot be avoided or changed. It is only exhausted by being experienced. You pay your past debts. This is a term which was used often by our elders. My Prarabdham they would say.

    Normally Prarabdha karma is accumulated over several births and also felt over several births.

    This Pradhabtha Karma theory does provide an explanation for Bad things happening to Good people. It happens becaue of Prarabtha Karma which is only exhausted by being experienced. You pay your past debts.

    In the case Devotees who seek salvation, they have to burn away all the accumulated Prarabdha karmas accumulated over several births in this Birth. So the effects are much more severe and they have to undergo more hardships than the general people.

    That bring me to the second point.

    The Cost of being really Spiritual.

    I am not talking about table top Philosophers who talk about Spirituality. But about real seekers who seek Mukthi/self realization/Salvation etc. They do this in various ways. There are many paths to the Ultimate Reality. All the paths are valid.

    Spirituality is the anti-thesis of materialism. A person who is seeking salvation does not bother about material values like money, power, fame etc. But it does not come automatically to every one. For most people it comes only gradually. Attachments fall off and detachment becomes a way of life. Many times it takes a number of births before this can be achieved.

    As I said earlier, the people who seek salvation will undergo much more hardships than the average man because they have to fulfill the effects of all the accumulated Prarabta karma.

    Then how does the world look at this people. The moment you leave materialism, you become a non-conformist. One does not conform to the values of the society because he does not chase money, power and fame.

    The society calls them eccentric, fools or crazy/mad depending upon on how you are viewed otherwise.

    In Hinduism a Sannyasi is one who has given up his earlier birth. Sannyasa rites include Athma Pindam. Sannyasa is a step where one severe his relationship with family, friends and society.

    But no one in the Society likes this. No wife would like her husband to become a sannyasi. No father/mother would like their children to become Sannyasis. Often they are accused of not fulfilling their duties as a a son/husband. This is part and parcel of a sannyasi's life. If one waits to fulfill all his duties before taking sannyasa, he would never do it. Of course some people who could not do it at all due to the above reasons take sannyasa at the time of Death. But then they may have to take another Birth before attaining salvation.

    I am posting this because people should realize that it is easy to talk and write about Spirituality. But it is very difficult to practice. The cost is very high. You would be called mad, fool and abused for not fulfilling the expectations of your family and society in general. And you will be put to many hardships.

    My Guru took quite some time before initiating me. He also told me that I have to face hardships. Many Gurus may not tell this fact.

    But then what one is aiming is the Ultimate Reality. The hardships, the abuses and infamy etc. are worth it. That is the cost one has to pay for seeking the Ultimate.
    யாதும் ஊரே யாவரும் கேளிர்.

    நச்சினார்க்கினியன்.
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    Dear Sri Nacchinarkiniyan Ji,

    I believe in Karma theory. But this theory about bad karma being spent when you are about to realize Moksha (or whatever it's equivalent) always have baffled me.

    Prarabdha has both 'good' and 'bad' karma. So, if one has to wipe the slate clean, doesn't then one need to both the good and the bad? Yet it seems that besides the high cost of doing this, as you pointed out, the seekers only experience bad. What happens to the 'good' to the body? Because they have renounced everything, the good automatically gets removed?

    Would appreciate an explanation.

    Regards,
    KRS
    Last edited by KRS; 31-03-2011 at 05:48 AM.
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  4. #3
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    Sri. KRS,

    My post was meant basically for Upasakas/Bhakthas who some times start wondering whether something is wrong with their Upasana/Bhakthi. They also wonder whether GOD is angry with them. The real seekers after Spirituality. I offered an explanation why some times there are set backs.

    They are constantly being reminded that spirtual practices are no good and only harm will come out of such practices. This explanation is not for convincing the non-believers because they can never be convinced. And it is not the duty of the Spirtitual seekers to convince the non-believers.

    Now you asked about sat karma. The good Prarabhdha Karma also comes into effect. It has also to be experienced. But then even in the life of saints we do not often hear about the good things. Only now when real history is being recorded do we know about that. Like in the case of Ramprasad Sen. Our Puranic stories and legends focussed more on the hardships faced by the saints to make them Martyrs.

    My personal experience is that Good things also happen to the seekers. The Kriyamana karma is that Karma which is now being made for the future. It is also called Agami or Vartamana. This also has to be exhausted.

    Ultimately it is the accumulation of the Good Prarabdha karma and Kriyamana karma which leads one to mukthi/salvation/self-realization. It is what takes you to the right path in the first place.
    யாதும் ஊரே யாவரும் கேளிர்.

    நச்சினார்க்கினியன்.
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    Dear Sri Nacchinarkiniyan Ji,

    I understand.

    My inquiry was towards the pain that my Guru, the Maharishi Ramana experienced at the fag end of his life. As you know, there were different theories about Sanchtha and Prarabdha karma about His bodily pain. To complicate the things further, He was at hand when His mother and the sacred cow Lakshmi passed away. In both cases, He said that they would not have any further rebirths.

    Yet, He had the cancer. Some speculate that He spent His prarabdha and yet others speculate that He took over His mother's and Lakshmi's prarabdha.

    He was a Jeevan Muktha. So what is true?

    By the way, this question does not arise on the basis of non belief. It arises out of my own ignorance.

    Regards,
    KRS
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    I do not claim to be a spiritual seeker, nor am I talking about spiritual seekers only. This is about all, including the non-believers.

    Bad things, all trials and tribulations short of death, happen to people based on their "karma". The karma can be modified, even nullified by present karma, i.e., actions during this very life-time thus far and in future. But only those karmas which benefit others and do least harm to others, are capable of nullifying or reducing the effects of accumulated evil results in store. Generally human beings do not follow this maxim; they are attracted by a host of causes to karmas which may be outright evil, or at best, partially good. IMO the Biblical maxim of "All things, therefore, whatever ye may will that men may be doing to you, so also do to them, for this is the law and the prophets." is the best guide.

    There is yet another category of bad things - death or serious accidents in which a large number of people are affected in just one go. I do not know whether this can be convincingly explained by the Law of Karma.

    Last but not least, it may not be correct to presume that all the "spiritual seekers" are noble souls. There can be many who go in for it for diverse reasons and it will be difficult for human intelligence to identify the genuine ones from the not-so-genuine.
    एकं सद्विप्रा नैव जानन्ति ।
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  10. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by KRS View Post
    Dear Sri Nacchinarkiniyan Ji,

    I understand.

    My inquiry was towards the pain that my Guru, the Maharishi Ramana experienced at the fag end of his life. As you know, there were different theories about Sanchtha and Prarabdha karma about His bodily pain. To complicate the things further, He was at hand when His mother and the sacred cow Lakshmi passed away. In both cases, He said that they would not have any further rebirths.

    Yet, He had the cancer. Some speculate that He spent His prarabdha and yet others speculate that He took over His mother's and Lakshmi's prarabdha.

    He was a Jeevan Muktha. So what is true?

    By the way, this question does not arise on the basis of non belief. It arises out of my own ignorance.

    Regards,
    KRS
    Sri. KRS,

    Once anyone is born as a human being, the Laws of Karma comes into effect. It applies to Jeevan Mukhtas also. In fact it applies even to Avataras who are born as human beings. The Avataras do not have Prarabdha karma but they do have to experience the effect of this Janma's karma.

    Great saints like Ramana Maharishi and Sri Ramakrishna have suffered. It is quite possible that Ramana Maharishi took on the karmas of others. Saints have done that. When Sri Ramakrishna was ill, one of his followers who had great powers came to take on his illness. Sri Ramakrishna did not allow the follower to touch him and told him off.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sangom View Post
    There is yet another category of bad things - death or serious accidents in which a large number of people are affected in just one go. I do not know whether this can be convincingly explained by the Law of Karma.

    Last but not least, it may not be correct to presume that all the "spiritual seekers" are noble souls. There can be many who go in for it for diverse reasons and it will be difficult for human intelligence to identify the genuine ones from the not-so-genuine.
    Sri. Sangom,

    We are not discussing the Laws of Karma here. That would be a diversion from the original purpose of the thread.

    Again this thread is for finding the answer to the question in the minds of genuine spiritual seekers and also make people realize the cost of being really Spiritual. It tries to provide an answer to the question of the Bhakthas as to why saints like Ramana Maharishi and Sri Ramakrishna suffered.

    This question would not arise in the minds of people who are not genuine spiritual seekers.

    The real spiritual seeker does not really care what the society thinks of him. This is what we discussed in the thread "Why do we seek approval from Society for breaking it's rules?"

    The real spiritual seeker is a non-conformist and out of tune with the Society. Even great saints who are revered by us did not adhere to the rules of the society.

    Diapproval by the society is one of the costs that the real spiritual seeker has to pay.

    Again this is not a discussion about the genuineness or otherwise of Spiritual seekers. I think we have already had an acrimonious discussion about that.
    Last edited by Nacchinarkiniyan; 31-03-2011 at 03:07 PM.
    யாதும் ஊரே யாவரும் கேளிர்.

    நச்சினார்க்கினியன்.
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  12. #7
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    i have seen good people suffer and bad people prosper. i have given up trying to find meaning or explanation.

    it just happens. IT BE.

    once upon a time, thanks to my grandmother, i used to believe that these were leelais or fun stuff for the gods. that we are tested for our fortitude, faith or loyalty. if one grows up with such belief, newton's third law is firmly entrenched in your mind as the infallible Truth.

    such that, when one someone harm, we expect harm to befall on the other person. instead to our dismay this guy not only gets away with doing harm, but prospers due to it. where is the justice?

    i am not talking about small incidents. i am talking about crime of the highest magnitude, followed by no punishment.

    in the 20th century, if one group need to find an ANSWER to this query, i think it must be the jews. 50% or about 3 million of them were wiped out methodically by the nazis, for no reason, other than that they were jews.

    the world has experienced cruelties in the past, but the 1930s were ages of enlightenment, when science provided hope to life the masses out of teeming permanent poverty and despair. can jealousy and envy alone contribute to such an horrendous crime against humanity.

    what about pol pot? he killed 40% of cambodians, his own blood, just for. for nothing. maybe he felt like it? and he lived long, and died comfortably in his bed.

    i started to reflect on this query on a personal basis, but found myself drifting soon to the macro world. hence this note.

    there is no answer to this query. that is my answer now.

    here is a link to a humanistic judaic based answer to the same question which impressed me.

    When Bad Things Happen to Good People - My Jewish Learning
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  14. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nacchinarkiniyan View Post
    ....Once anyone is born as a human being, the Laws of Karma comes into effect. It applies to Jeevan Mukhtas also. In fact it applies even to Avataras who are born as human beings. The Avataras do not have Prarabdha karma but they do have to experience the effect of this Janma's karma.
    I am not sure how far the above is consistent with the Smartha tradition, however, I can say with confidence that the above view is not one SV tradition supports. I would like to place in record the SV view, not my view.

    [1] Karma is for Jeevas, and it is in effect until the Jeeva gets moksham, i.e. release. Whether the jeeva takes a human birth or non-human birth, the effect of karma will be felt. The very fact of being born indicates the effect of karma.

    [2] In as much as karma does not have beginning (anAti) it does not come into effect, it has always been present in the case of badda jeevas, only exceptions are Nithyasoories and Iswara -- they were always free of karma and will never be affected/afflicted by it.

    [3] Avatara of Sriman Narayana are NOT a result of karma, but his own free will. In other words, the avatharas are not affected by karma, what we see as effects of karma, like Rama weeping, etc., are just drama, nATaka.

    [4] To achieve moksha one must be free of all karma, good (puNya) and bad (pApA). While bad karma is like iron handcuffs, good karma is like golden handcuffs, both prevent the jeeva from the full enjoyment of union with Sriman Narayana.

    [5] The only way for the karma, both good and bad, to be wiped clean is through Bhakti Yoga, passing through the three stages called bhakti, para-bhakti, and parama-bhakti. The prerequisite for the first stage of Bhakti is sincere practice of varna dharma.

    [6] By ritual and total surrender to Sriman Narayana, called Prapatti, one can have Sriman Narayana take the place of Bhakti Yoga and get rid of all karma and realize moksham.

    The above are not my views, but that of SV. I present these here to balance the views presented.

    Cheers!
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  16. #9
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    Sri. Nara,

    I wonder why you always present the view of Sri Vaishnavas. My views are my views.
    Not that of Smarthas. In fact my view of the Smartha tradition may not be accepted by many here. I remember writing about it long time back.

    http://www.tamilbrahmins.com/philoso...-insights.html

    Post#2, 3 & 4

    The other Sampradhayas will have their own view.
    Last edited by Nacchinarkiniyan; 31-03-2011 at 08:43 PM.
    யாதும் ஊரே யாவரும் கேளிர்.

    நச்சினார்க்கினியன்.
  17. All views expressed by the Members and Moderators here are that of the individuals only and do not reflect the official policy or view of the TamilBrahmins.com Website.
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  18. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nacchinarkiniyan View Post
    Sri. Nara,

    I wonder why you always present the view of Sri Vaishnavas. My views are my views.
    Not that of Smarthas.
    Shri Nacchinarkiniyan:

    I am not sure whether you are expecting an answer, but let me give one anyway, just in case.

    From the comment you have offered to Shri Sangom, I think my own view -- a rationalist one -- is unwelcome in this thread -- as the OP you have the right to guard the focus of this thread as you see fit.

    Now, I offered the SV view because, (i) I thought the view you presented as response to Shri KRS had what seemed like the tenor of authoritativeness that I felt was untenable, (ii) offering authentic religious view, albeit from one sect, would not violate any rules, and (iii) I am only familiar with the SV view.

    Cheers!
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