Q&A based on Questions:
Q: “Is it possible to know when good and bad karma are exhausted? I am yet to find an exact answer through astrology.”
Astrology has its limitations and cannot answer this question. Astrology holds good for this world and present life. However the question belongs to “another world.” Your horoscope is a window into the prarabdha karma that you are born with in this life – NOT of the universal set, the Sanchita karma baggage. The Jeevatma does not have a horoscope because it eternal – never born and will never die. It is timeless. So is the individual Jeevatma’s karma. So how can you describe that which is timeless in 12 squares?
Only Lord Sriman Narayana, the Supreme Brahman has the ability to know how much Sanchita is left. No one else! Neither the individual Jeevatma, nor the 33 crore devatas starting from four-faced Brahma, followed by Shiva, Indira, the nava-grahas etc.! Sriman Narayana follows very strict privacy laws when it comes to karma – he will not reveal it even to you!
As far as the devatas are concerned, please be aware that that they are living their prarabdha very much like you and me!
On another note, What are you going to achieve by knowing how much sanchita karma is left? What is your goal?
Q: Present happiness is due to good deeds done by us in previous lives and so with present sufferings. It does seem logical. But is it?
A: Your understanding of karma theory is incorrect. Consider this example: In previous life you have performed a good deed that has resulted in a punya or positive karma being deposited in your bank account. Let us quantify this. Let us say each positive karma is equal to one gold coin. Now, you have done some bad deeds also in your past life. For these bad deeds you have been deposited in your account with thorns. Let us say you have 100 gold coins and 1000 thorns in your present prarabdha (karma at the beginning of life) that is your target to exhaust.
Now let us say you are going to do some activity in present life – let us say going to office in your car. Some environmental variables are at play here – you are using a car manufactured by Maruti Suzuki, known for using lower-than industry standard parts. As a result there is a mechanical failure and your car gets stranded in the middle of a busy-signal. You get delayed to go to work. Not only that, you hear all the other car-drivers/owners behind you shouting, scolding and swearing at you. It makes you unhappy and miserable as you try to get your car back on the road. The mechanical failure is not a result of 1000 thorns you have in your account (after all it is a bank account, how can the bank account cause mechanical failure?). The shouting, scolding, and swearing you had to hear from others is not a result of the 1000 thorns you have in your account. Suppose you had only 100 gold coins, does it mean the 50 car drivers stranded behind you are going to sing your praise? Never! The shouting, scolding, and swearing you heard are their karma they are committing in this life. Neither it is God’s will that they are shouting and scolding you! It is their conscious choice of free will that they are shouting at you! But you are feeling miserable! Who will you blame? The question is, do you need to blame anyone at all?
Uncertainty is one of the chief characteristics of life – of prakriti. Statistically, one in million maruti cars fail every day, and that day was your day! It is not fate. It is not pre-destined that your car should have failed on that day at that time. It is not Rahu or Ketu or Mercury or Mars that caused it! It is DEFINITELY NOT your past karma of having driven your car on the wrong side of the road causing an accident to a pedestrian in previous life that is the cause of your car getting stranded in this life! Your car failed because of a manufacturing defect that Maruti will issue a recall for in the following month to fix. It is all a game of chance. That’s it!
So how does Karma Theory work? Your car got stranded because of Maruti’s manufacturing defect. This caused a traffic congestion. Because of the congestion other car drivers shouted, scolded, and sweared at you. They each collected a thorn in their account for their action. You felt miserable and unhappy. Therefore depending on how miserable you felt, you spent say, 10 thorns from your account. Therefore, after the incident you have only 990 thorns left in your account.
On the contrary let us say, all the signals were coordinated that you reached your office 5 minutes ahead of time. Your boss observed that you had already started your work for the day, and appreciated you for your commitment. You felt happy. Therefore you spent one gold coin from your bank.
So the equation is, when you are happy you are spending your good karma, and when you are sad, you are spending your negative karma. Happiness or sadness does not result from your balance of karma.
Q: So How a man will know that he is doing a good deed right now?
What is good and what is bad, which deed results in punya and which deed results in paap, and which deeds do not accrue neither punya nor paap is described in the shastras. When Krishna tells Arjuna to “Do your duty …” he expects everyone to understand what that duty is. That duty is enshrined, based on your varna-ashrama-dharma, in the shastras. It tells Brahmins to do something, Kshatriyas to do something, Vaishyas to do something, and Shudras to do something. Those are the “duties” per varna-ashrama-dharma. Performance of one’s duty will not lead to punya or paap. Non-performance of duty attracts penalty. Therefore if you do not do your varna-ashrama-dharma you accrue paap. Which is why when a brahmin performs sandhyavandan, he does not get any punya, but non-performance of sandhyavandan attracts paap. In all three former varnas are expected to perform sandyavandan everyday. Not many people know about this - and therefore on a day to day basis people belonging to the first three varnas who do not perform sandhyavandan every day are going on accruing paap potentially leading to a lower birth form in next life!
Performance of exemplary deeds other than what has been described in shastras as duty can give you punya. For example, dana (donation), performance of certain yagnas which are not described as duty, etc. can give you punya. Some acts can be done selfishly expecting the result – for example there is the yagna called “Jyotiyoma”. The shruti says ”Jyotishyomena Swargakamo Yajeta.” – i.e the one desirous of going to Swarga-loka should perform Jyotishyoma yagna. Now Jyotishyoma is not described as a duty for any of the four varnas. It is an optional yagna. All that you need in order to perform that yagna is the desire to go to Swarga-Loka, the land of Indira (what in other religions they call heaven).
So, to answer your question, you need knowledge of the shastras to know whether you are doing good or bad deed right now. Some of them we have inherited in India by “way of life” – Satyam Vada (speak the truth), Dharmam Chara (Do Dharma), etc. For that we should really thank our rishis who make the shastric teachings a way of life. Some teachings may have been lost – but most of it – more than 70%of it at least is still intact. You should have the hunger to learn the what is right and not right according to the shastras – in order to do that, you have contact elders, sadhus and others and try to learn from them.
You may say you don’t have time because you are a very busy executive getting a 7 figure salary – but that is not the aim of life. The aim of life is to exhaust your karma so that you don’t take another birth – Imagine what all you have gone through in life since child hood – how hard you had to study in order to get a graduation and then struggle for job, and now struggling in job for promotion, salary increase, profits etc. Do you want to do all of that again and again and again, from the beginning everytime? All this knowledge is waste. Only true knowledge we can get is of shastras, what is karma, and how to exhaust our karma. Predictive astrology may have limited uses in present life – but that knowledge cannot give you moksha! It will make you think that life is pre-destined and that you have nothing in your control. If everything is pre-destined, why is the Karma assigned to you and not to “destiny”? If the Lord is the doer of everything, why is the karma not assigned to him? Isn’t he the one that must get Moksha instead of us? So that premise is faulty and needs a more deeper understanding of how the Lord gets involved in our daily activities.