Sankalpa of the Lord

Published - March 16, 2023 05:34 am IST

Often a question arises about how karma operates. Do karmas give results directly? The answer is in the negative. Lord Narayana gives us results for karma, said Valayapet Ramachariar in a discourse.

If karmas directly result in some consequences, then we must see those consequences soon after a karma is competed. So, if a yaga is done for a purpose, we must get the result at once. But this does not happen. In fact, we do not know when we will get a result for a karma. And when we face certain things in life, we cannot pinpoint which exact karma has brought us this effect in this birth. Karma does not work like a switch. If you turn on a switch, a light bulb gets power at once, and illuminates the room. Karma does not give such instant results. So how exactly does karma work? Mimamsakas said that when we did something like say daana or a yaga, something called apoorva resulted. This apoorva remained, giving the required results for karmas when it was appropriate.

Visishtadvaita philosophy has a different explanation. In the siddhanta of Ramanuja, namely Visishtadvaita, karmas cannot give direct or instant results. When we do good deeds, Lord Narayana is happy, and we get His anugraha. When we do wrong, we anger Him and we face His nigraha sankalpa. So the results for karma come from the Lord’s anugraha sankalpa or nigraha sankalpa. When we suffer in life, we ask why the Lord watches silently, without relieving us of suffering. How can this be when He is merciful, we ask. There is no doubt that the Lord is merciful. But if He does not give us results according to our actions, then where is fairness and justice? Will He not be accused of partiality? He is flawless, with no blemishes like partiality. Hence He gives us results for our karmas.

0 / 0
Sign in to unlock member-only benefits!
  • Access 10 free stories every month
  • Save stories to read later
  • Access to comment on every story
  • Sign-up/manage your newsletter subscriptions with a single click
  • Get notified by email for early access to discounts & offers on our products
Sign in


Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide by our community guidelines for posting your comments.

We have migrated to a new commenting platform. If you are already a registered user of The Hindu and logged in, you may continue to engage with our articles. If you do not have an account please register and login to post comments. Users can access their older comments by logging into their accounts on Vuukle.