Reply To: Karma and Contagious Diseases

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Ashish Dalela

Karma is something that cannot be changed.

Karma can be changed by devotion to the Lord. This is a special privilege. When this life is finished, and if we have become perfect devotees, then karma for the future lives will be destroyed. Also, karma gives suffering and enjoyment, but suffering and enjoyment can be useful or useless. Useless suffering means just going on suffering without a positive outcome. Useful suffering means getting purified of material desires. Like that, useless enjoyment is that which ends after some time, and then you have to endeavor again to obtain a new type of enjoyment or the same enjoyment again. Useful enjoyment is that which reveals the innate ability to enjoy. We don’t need external enjoyment. The enjoyment is also created internally. But that ability to enjoy internally is hidden from us right now. But if we enjoy by chanting the names of God, that is also enjoyment, and that enjoyment reveals the innate ability to produce enjoyment. So, that kind of enjoyment or sense-gratification is useful. So, enjoyment and suffering are not bad. There are useful and useless enjoyment and suffering. By serving the Lord, we might have some suffering, and that is useful suffering. And by serving the Lord, there is some enjoyment, and that is useful enjoyment. And by both useful suffering and enjoyment, karma is put to an end.

My understanding is the “guna” to a large extent will determine future Karmas. How does one regulate “guna” how does one know how to act/respond in a particular situation.

To regulate guna one must be free of guna. Just like to drive a car, you must be different from the car. The car cannot drive itself. Like that to control the body and mind, we have to realize that we are separate from the body and mind. Separate means, I am a soul and not this body. And this soul cannot be burnt by fire, drenched by water, dried by air, or cut by weapons. That is fearlessness. So, if we become detached, then we become fearless, and by these two things, we overcome tamo-guna and rajo-guna and we are placed in sattva-guna. That is a happy state. When we perform devotional activities under that sattva-guna then we realize God and who we are. “I am not the body” is a negative realization, and “I am a servant of the Lord” is a positive realization. To have that realization, we must know God, otherwise, we cannot be servants of some unknown entity. So, the first step is detachment, and from that comes fearlessness, then comes happiness, and then comes permanent happiness by the realization of the eternal nature of the soul and God.

At times, when you have a great opportunity to excel in something, but I see the “guna” is weak and your response to that opportunity may baffle someone.

You are only relying on your power. If we rely on God’s power, then He gives inspiration in the heart, and by that inspiration, we are energized automatically to do great things.

Everything can be done in a great way. Just like you can sweep the floor perfectly. That perfection is greatness. It is not changing the world. It is making every small thing that we are doing perfectly. When we start doing small things perfectly, then we can do big things perfectly. So, greatness is available everywhere and always. It is not that we sometimes have opportunities for greatness. It is 100% available 100% of the time. These material ideas about great or not are not greatness.

We are insignificant entities in the universe. What great can you do? So, greatness means perfection. Anybody can be great. The mundane idea of great is big. The correct idea of great is perfection. This is called mahattattva or the essence of greatness. Cleanliness is one of the essences of greatness. So, clean the floor perfectly, and that is greatness. Like that, truthfulness is another essence of greatness. Speak the truth and spread the knowledge of God, that is another greatness. Materialistic civilization teaches that greatness is bigness. So big car, big building, big bank balance, this is understood as “greatness”. But how big can you get by size? It is always insignificant. But if you can do perfection in every activity, then the whole essence of perfection is present in every small thing you have done. So, this is the correct type of greatness.

Once we learn the art of perfection, then if we get an opportunity to do big things, we can also do that. That big is not more perfect, and the small is not less perfect. They are equally perfect. But if we know how to be perfect in small things, then we can also become perfect in big things.