Newton’s law on karma?

Back in school, I had always enjoyed studying Mathematics and Science, especially Physics and Chemistry. I found that Mathematics and Science, were pretty simple subjects to learn and grasp. The trick was, to simply understand the relevant concept, formula, theory or law. Everything else then falls into space. The other thing that I liked was that these concepts, fomulas, theories or laws had been proven as true and can be proven again with ease. They made a lot of sense, which again made remembering them that much easier.

Some time during either a Science or Physics lesson, my classmates and I were introduced to a story about a man in England, in the 17th century, who was hit by a falling apple while sitting under an apple tree. What made this story interesting and remarkable was the fact that, being inspired by the apple that hit him on his head, he went on to come up with laws regarding gravity[1]. This man, known as Sir Isaac Newton, contributed immensely to the scientific community, including one of my favourite laws in physics, one of three laws, collectively known in physics as the Laws of Motion[2]. Just to digress a bit, we Malaysians are pretty sure that a Malaysian was inspired in a similar manner and came up with laws regarding gravity, way before Sir Isaac Newton. The only problem was, he never got to tell others about it, as he happened to sit under a durian tree.

Law III: To every action there is always opposed an equal reaction: or the mutual actions of two bodies upon each other are always equal, and directed to contrary parts. – Source: Wikipedia[3]

Of the three Laws of Motion, I like the Third Law of Motion, also known as Newton’s Third Law. In short, it states that “For every action, there is always an equal and opposite reaction”. Interestingly, there has always been a concept in the region of South Asia or what is today the Indian sub-continent, which sounds almost similar, if not, the same as that of Newton’s Third Law. It is even more interesting to note that this concept has been around, long before the 17th century. It simply is an ancient concept, as old as the faiths that have it at their heart. This concept can be described as the Law of Karma[4] or to many, simply as Karma.

The law of karma teaches us that all of our thoughts, words and actions begin a chain of cause and effect, and that we will personally experience the effects of everything we cause.” – Source: spiritual-encyclopedia.com[5]

Depending on one’s religious dispensation and believes, Karma can be perceived and understood in a variety of ways. The common theme is that, if one does something good, one can expect to receive something good in return. Conversely, if one does a bad deed, one can be assured of being in the receiving end of another bad deed. A simpler way of stating this would be, “You reap, what you sow” or “What goes around, comes around”. Now that sounds very similar, if not the same, as “For every action, there is always an equal and opposite reaction”, which just so happens to be Newtons’ Third Law.

Both, Newton’s Third Law and the concept of Karma highlights something fundamentally important, yet neglected in the hustle and bustle of our life. The fact is, anything and everything in this world exists in balance and must remain so. If that balance is disturbed, the disturbance will be addressed, somehow, until balance is again restored. This is simply the nature of how things are and will be, explained by the concept of Karma and proven by Newton’s Third Law. The challenge of course is to live our life with the idea of balance in mind. It is so easy to forget it, what with so many distractions and things calling out for our attention everyday, or is it?

In reality, keeping things in balance, is as simple as remembering what we don’t like and ensuring that we don’t do the same to others. Nobody likes being cut off by another vehicle, when waiting in queue for the traffic lights to turn green. Nobody likes another vehicle swerving into their lanes at high speeds on the highway with no prior indication on the intention to do so. Nobody likes having an empty parking spot being taken up just as they were about to reverse and park their vehicle at that spot after having waited and indicated their intention to do so. Nobody likes having to wait for the next train because they couldn’t board one, as people crowded and stood by the exits when there was enough space to place an elephant inside the train. Nobody likes being yelled at or being embarrassed in public.

The fact is, keeping everything in balance can be easily done, as easy as doing things that we would like people to do for us, to others. Who doesn’t like being greeted warmly when walking in to work in the morning? Who wouldn’t like having the lift door being kept open for them, as they rush in towards the lift? Who doesn’t like being given way to walk through a narrow doorway in a busy place? Who wouldn’t like being offered a seat when there is one, in a crowded bus? Who doesn’t like being told thank you when having done something nice, without being asked to do so? All these gestures are easy to do and cost us nothing.

A simple act of kindness, will go a long way in not just keeping everything in balance but also makes our day that much brighter. To top it off, we have also made someone else’s day, that much brighter as well. There is no need to spend lots of time or money to do a good deed, especially when one lacks such resources. Just simple acts, that cost us very little or close to nothing, is more than sufficient in keeping the balance just fine. Once one starts with these, keeping things in balance will become a habit, so natural that one won’t even realise it. After all, ancient concepts and scientific theories are good reasons to do so. The simple fact that every action has an equal and opposite reaction, is good enough a reason to do something nice, sooner rather than later.

P.S.: The feature image is sourced from Pexels.

God and I – Part 2

Note: This is part 2 of an earlier post titled “God and I – Part 1“.

Throughout my childhood and then adolescence, my faith and how I prayed to God started off as ritualistic routines. At home, I would diligently pray when I woke up in the morning and then again in the evening. I went to the temples regularly and prayed there, just as I was taught as a child. I sang the songs that I had learned, silently. I tried to learn new songs when I could. I  would try to meditate at home and at the temple. Without fail, each time I went to the temples, I would wish for any number of things ranging from wanting to ace my exams to being able to live a very comfortable life.

As I continued with these practices throughout my teenage years and later as an adult, I begun to realise and learned some important facts about my faith. I gained some understanding on what I was doing faithfully. I, started to speak with God. Between the turbulent days of navigating life as a teenager and then beginning a new chapter in life as an adult, I found myself turning to God for help and support, sincerely. In battling with all the conflicting opinions of self, parents, friends and well-wishers, I found myself asking God for guidance. Whenever there was a doubt or confusion in my mind of which there were many, I found myself wanting to go to the temple, to speak with God.

So I would, go to the temple when I could and as often as I could manage. I would sit down and talk to God. Talk as I would speak with another person, silently. I would still ask for any number of things but more importantly, I actually spoke to God. Depending on what I spoke about, God played different roles, from that of a father, a Guru (a teacher), a friend, a mother and more.

At times, I spoke for what seemed like mere minutes but at times i spoke for what felt like hours. I poured out my feelings, emotions, problems and conflicts that were jostling in my mind. I spoke about the challenges that I was facing. I told God about how difficult life was, not realising that my life wasn’t really that difficult in comparison to what others were going through. The granite stone idol sitting in the temple was not just an idol or a mere representation of God to me. God’s presence was real. I felt as if I was speaking with someone who was physically sitting there.

God spoke back. At least, that is what I felt. After speaking with God, I begun to feel a sense of warmth and calmness settling on me. My mind and body seems to be awash in a beautiful white light. My worries did not disappear, immediately. My problems were not obliterated into oblivion, at once. My burdens were not reduced, instantly. My conflicts were not resolved, straightaway.

Yet, the feelings of helplessness, confusion and dismay were no longer shrouding my mind. The worries, problems, burdens and conflicts, slowly but surely dissipated. They did not go away entirely but they did evaporate slowly, just as surely as how dew forms daily, early in the morning only to evaporate later under the bright and glorious morning sun. Sense of hope, confidence and believe returned and took roots in my mind. I knew that I, was in control of my life, with guidance from God.

I now understood that all the rituals learned during my childhood and then practised diligently, were a just a beginning. The rituals alone would not be sufficient to carry me throughout my journey in life and inch closer to God. They were a way to help me calm and tune myself, condition my body and mind, allowing me to understand my faith better.

I know very well that there is much for me to learn about my faith as I continue in my journey through life but one fact is simply clear. God was, is and will always be there, guiding me in life, as long as I allow God to do so. This fact has carried me thus far in life and I faithfully believe, will carry me on further in life until I find my way back to God. So, continues the journey of life with God and I.

P.S.: The featured image of this post is sourced from Pexels.

God and I – Part 1

When we are born, our religious affiliation is labelled according to that of our parents, at birth. If both parents are from the same religion, then on official papers, we would have been affiliated with our religion smoothly. If both parents are from different religions, then our fate on official papers with regards to our religious affiliation, would depend partly on the laws of the land. In short, our religious affiliation is set upon us at birth and we pretty much have no say on this matter. Simply said, we are born into our religion.

A Hindu, is what I was born as. Having parents who were religious themselves, ensured that I was exposed as much as it was possible to the religion, as a child. I attended religious classes at a temple on Sunday mornings, from as far as I can remember. These classes were held for a duration of between two to three hours. We were taught religious songs that were originally sung by saints who graced this world many centuries ago. We were told stories of the lives of these saints. We were regaled with the various tales that showcased God in all his glory. The teachers took great pain to simplify and explain what the songs and stories meant. At home, my parents would make sure that I prayed daily, singing the songs that I had learned during my classes. Between the religious classes and the guidance from my parents, the concept of God took roots in me.

As a child, I was also exposed to other religions. My old neighbours and family friends were devout Christians. On occasions, they would bring me along to join in their weekly prayer meetings. In fact, I can still remember parts of some of the hymns even today. They come back to me in bits and pieces when I attend services at the church during either a wedding or a funeral. Then there were the neighbours who were Buddhists. As a child, I would go with them, along with my parents, to the nearby Buddhist temple on Wesak Day. There, we would join in the long queues of devotees to offer our prayers to Lord Buddha.

Being a Malaysian, I was also exposed to Islam. In school, I was partly exposed to Islam during the recitation of the “doa” (prayers), during school assemblies. Then there was the exposure from the daily Azan (the Muslim call to prayer) as well as the chanting and prayers that were broadcasted via the speakers from nearby mosques. There were also the broadcasts on the television and radios during the different times of the day when Muslims would pray. Then there were the various programmes on the television and radios that talked about Islam. During my days in the university, I had the opportunity to follow my friends to the Sikh temple on some occasions. Of course, besides offering my prayers, this also came with the added benefit of a delicious and warm meal.

The sum of all this exposure was that the concept of God was reinforced in me. It gave me the advantage of awareness and understanding that, there were more than one concept of God and various paths about how we are to live faithfully, in this world. God has one and many names. God seemed to have taken forms and is formless. God was present everywhere yet nowhere to our naked eye. God spoke in many ways but could not be heard by our ears. God’s presence can be felt in everything and everywhere on Earth yet we struggle to feel the presence of God within us. God seemed to be an amazingly complex omnipresent contradiction or was it just the way I had understood God?

Note: To be continued further in the next installation titled, “God and I – Part 2“.

P.S.: The featured image of this post is sourced from Pexels.