CHENNAI: The concept of Karma continues to baffle one and all. The question arises that if Karma is the most decisive factor in one’s life, then where is the role for ethical practices, since one’s past Karma drives the individual in good or bad ways. It is said that in His youth, Lord Rama was given to a strong sense of pessimism while ruminating on the mortal nature of human existence with its bondage to birth, age, suffering and death. There seemed to be no way out for human beings who were born to expend their past Karma and in the course of their current lives were also adding on to fresh Karma.

In a lecture, Sri N. Veezhinathan drew attention to Sage Vasishta’s teachings to Lord Rama (Yoga Vasishta) at this juncture when the Sage elaborated on those areas of hope that were available to human beings. Though it is a truth that actions and their fruits are inseparable, and also that every Jivatma is born with the Gunas, Satva, Rajas and Tamas, one could strive to cultivate the good tendencies (Vasanas) and avoid the harmful ones. The three Gunas exist in every human being in the manner of three separate strands of threads that are intertwined.

An objective self-analysis to identify one’s habits, tendencies, etc, followed by a conscious effort to slowly rid one of the Tamas and Rajas is called for. Then one attains the Satvic nature. In the Bhagavad Gita, Lord Krishna tells Arjuna that even Satva Guna has to be transcended to attain enlightenment. Extolling the ethical values of life, the Lord speaks of the quality of humility that characterises a realised soul. Humility springs when one understands the truth of human existence as wholly dependent on God and that with God’s grace one can overcome the cycle of birth. Humility also serves to wipe off the idea of I and Mine (without any trace) from one’s consciousness.

This gives a proper sense of detachment towards what one considers as one’s possessions, people, etc., and helps to encounter joy and sorrow with equanimity. One has to be aligned in one’s thought, word and deed and never even think ill of others. Thus the evil effects of Karma could be overcome.