“How do I see karma? In the Hindu framework I have set out above, it reflects the confluence of reincarnation and the law of cause and effect.
As we paddle as best we can on our personal rivers of life, we exercise our free will to pay our personal cosmic debts, to access any opportunities to learn whatever we need to learn for our personal development, and to prepare for the next life. We thus effectively create, as a consequence of bumbling through life as best as possible, the cliffs through which our river of life will flow during our next sojourn on Earth, and the rocky impediments and chasms we will find on the way. How we deal with these and the cross-currents created by other personal destinies related to us will determine our future lives. No gods, saints, or spirits are therefore necessary as determinants. However, they may be able to intrude, to help, if they choose to; presumably they too have free will.
Since each of us is an integral part of a number of collectives, there will result a complex network of personal destinies. The expected web, and possibly nested mesh, of personal destinies would presumably be reflected ultimately in tribal and possibly national destinies. These might influence species development, although a major contributor might also be genetic mutations, which are truly accidents of nature.
What place is there for the major religions? Divested of the detritus of dogma deliberately designed to distinguish each sect or faith from the others, and then to enable a claim of an unwarranted theological superiority, and thereby an exclusive path to heaven, two core beliefs are shared by these religions, except Buddhism. First is a claim of a creator god. The second is that, since humans are the products of this creation, we are bonded to one another.
What a wonderful concept. It is a great pity that it seems to apply only within the boundaries of each religious sect. The others are outsiders, heretics, heathens, etc. and are therefore not going to be ‘saved.’ Thus, in the name of their god, each priesthood is likely to display or even preach prejudice towards those not under its control or influence. There will, of course, be great exceptions – priests within each religion who are truly ecumenical (accepting related sects within their religion as non-competitive), or who are freethinkers in their tolerance, even accepting other religions as comparable paths to the one God of mankind. I have enjoyed conversing with some of these enlightened exceptions.”
(The above extracts from my book ‘Musings at Death’s Door’ will challenge those of a superior mien who just know that they are on the right track to Heaven; perhaps on the sole track, were their priests to be believed. I have been on the receiving end of ‘We know best’ recruiting campaigns.
I find it fascinating to see how the Old Testament is treated by some of the people I know as the be-all and end-all of guidance to the Pearly Gates. Are there not multiple paths in the jungle of existence that one could follow to the exit?
These extracts also raise the issue of personal destinies being in a ‘nested’ relationship with all other destinies, comparable to the nested fields of force in physics. In the event, the implication is not only that we humans are bonded to one another, but that the totality of all that is represents a significant mesh of inter-dependent relationships.)