Q: Gurudev, people sin in one life, why does God punish them in the next lives. Wouldn’t it be better to know the reason while you’re being punished.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: There are many different types of karma. Some things if you do today, it gives you result immediately.
Suppose there is fire, and you keep your hand in it, will it burn today or tomorrow? It will burn now. But if you sow a mango seed, for it to grow and give fruit, how many years it will take? Six years. Six years later you get the fruit. And if you sow a jackfruit tree, it takes 10 years to give fruit.
A gentleman puts an iron ore factory, it takes so many years to start giving profit. The real profit is enjoyed by his children. The one who struggled and toiled all his life to make the factory run does not enjoy the fruits. When the profit starts coming it is the next generation who enjoys it.
In the Bhagavat Gita it is said, 'Gahana karmano gatih', the ways of karma are unfathomable. There are many different karmas, individual karma, collective karma; there is a karma for time. For every place there is a karma.
A tsunami comes and so many people in one area die. Why only that area? It is the karma of that place .
So the more you go deep in karma, it is amazing.
In Hinduism, in the Upanishads, one of the six darshanas is Karma Mimamsa. It talks all about karma.
That book is so big that you hardly find any scholars. Around 35-40 years ago there was only this one gentleman in Benares who had studied the Mimansa. Today we don’t have any scholars in this at all.
Similarly Buddhism has done quite a bit of study on this. And Jains have done lot of research on karma. But the best is to do service (seva).
When you serve others, when you bring relief to people who are in need of solace, that brings you very good karma. That is why charity should be part of everybody’s life.
Meditation washes out the bad karma and charity brings in good karma. And both should go simultaneously. Go inward to find the knowledge, the stillness, the peace, and the outward expression of that is your love.
Two things very important in life, knowledge and love.
When you die, two questions will be posed to you, how much knowledge have you gained and how much love you gave?