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a doubt on karma

From: Chandrashekaran Venkataraman (vchandra_at_ambernetworks.com)
Date: Thu May 25 2000 - 10:43:59 PDT

Dear members,
    I have a basic doubt about the karma concept.
    A living thing suffers due to its karma (owing to its sins in the past
lifes). Suppose this suffering that it undergoes is due to another living
thing, say a human inflicts physical harm to another human. The former is
commiting sin and accumulating his own karma since he is doing a wrong deed.
So when one's karma is getting depleted owing to his traumas, the other's
karma is increasing. The effect of karma on a jIvA is solely decided by
Iswara.  Then does Iswara play any role in making the second jIvA inflict
pain on the first jIvA ?  
    In this context there is an interesting story of a brAhmaNa. A brAhmaNa
is chanting bhagavan nAmAs under a tree. A butcher comes that way chasing a
cow. He loses sight of the cow and seeing the brAhmaNa enquires if he saw a
cow running this way. The brAhmaNa shows both his hands in the direction in
which he saw the cow running without realising the consequences. The butcher
catches the cow and goes back to his shop. In the next life the jIvA which
was the brAhmaNa in the previous life takes birth and lives as a saint (a
famous name, I forgot). He is living in a village where a dispute ensues
between a couple. The wife after a long quarrel kills the husband. The saint
is called in for the verdict. Due to some verdict reasons she cuts both the
hands of the saint. Thereupon he realises what happened in his previous
life. In the previous life the wife was the cow and the husband was the
butcher. 
   In this case obviously the woman who killed her husband and cut the hands
of the saint incurred her share of karma. But isn't this somewhat cyclic ?

   I request the learned members to please clarify the idea of karma in the
above context.

   Thank you so much.

    adiyEn,
    chandrasekaran.

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