Introduction To the Lines of Karma

Perhaps the most intriguing questions for most of us are those that relate to the operation of the law of Karma. We want Karma to conform to our mental notions of right and wrong, or to fit within a pattern that satisfies our desires. We expect to find some kind of “legal system” that operates the law of Karma and to find thereby that our moral, ethical, religious or mental notions are supported and justified by the action of Karma.

The law of Karma however is not a law framed by the mind of man, but a law of the Spirit that has manifested the complexity and subtlety of the entire creation. Sri Aurobindo describes the framework of Karma: “The law of Karma can be no rigid and mechanical canon or rough practical rule of thumb, but rather its guiding principle should be as supple a harmonist as the Spirit itself whose will of self-knowledge it embodies and should adapt itself to the need of self-development of the variable individual souls who are feeling their way along its lines towards the right balance, synthesis, harmonics of their action. The karmic idea cannot be–for spirit and not mind is its cause–a cosmic reflection of our limited average human intelligence, but rather the law of a greater spiritual wisdom, a means which behind all its dumb occult appearances embodies an understanding lead and a subtle management towards our total perfection.”

We should therefore examine the law of Karma with a wide understanding and an open mind in order to discover its true significance and not simply overlay our mental notions on this spiritual principle.

Sri Aurobindo,Rebirth and Karma, Section I, Chapter 12, Karma and Justice, pg. 101,