Basic Principle of the Law of Karma

It is clear that we cannot encompass the entire complexity of the universe and the various forces at work within a definition of a law of Karma that fixates solely on an ethical or moral code of recompense or retribution. And yet it is also quite clear that there are certain laws operative in the universe that show that there is Intelligence at work. Each type of energy has its own pattern of action. In the physical world, we see that scientists have formulated physical energy laws under the principle “for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.” If we examine emotional energy, mental energy, ethical or moral energy, we find that there are corollary results that indicate that while the type of energy at work is different, and therefore the exact manner of its working varies, there is nevertheless a system of output of energy leading to a characteristic result.

Sri Aurobindo asks us to begin our understanding of the law of Karma by creating a formulation that is its most simple and universal principle, and to then utilize this basic principle as a foundational step for our deeper review and understanding of the action of Karma:

“And for a beginning it is best to phrase the law of Karma as generally and vaguely as may be and put it simply thus without any particular colour or content that according to the energy put forth shall be its return, not with any mathematical precision of conscious will and its mechanical consequences, but subject to the complicated working of any world forces.”

He goes on to clarify further: “The whole law of the cosmic action or even the one law governing all the others cannot well be the measure of a physical, mechanical and chemical energy, nor the law of a life force, nor a moral law or law of mind or of idea forces; for it is evident that none of these things by its single self covers or accounts for all the fundamental powers.”

Sri Aurobindo,Rebirth and Karma, Section II, Chapter 13, The Foundation, pp. 114-115,

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