Some biblical students are of the opinion that the reincarnation of Elijah was an exception and not a law of Nature; however, the general concept, or law was not repudiated by the Nazarene Master. In some passages of the gospels he discusses it freely with his disciples:
"'whom do man say that the Son of Man is?' And they said, 'some say John the Baptist, others say Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.' He said to them, 'But whom do you say I am?' Simon Peter replied: 'You are the Christ, the son of the Living God.' And Jesus answered to him, 'Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jona! For Flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my father who is in heaven. And I tell you, you are Peter. And on this rock I will build my church; and the powers of death shall not prevail against it . . . '" (Matt 16:13--20)
Though Jesus taught reincarnation, he did not put much emphasis on it; we believe he intended to stress the possibility of man attaining Christhood in a single life time, and thus attain salvation, freed from the necessity of reimbodiment. In the above verse he reveals to Simon his past identity as Peter. There is a double meaning involved in the expression "on this rock." "Peter" means "rock," but the rock that "death shall not prevail" is the law of reincarnation that Jesus was referring to, and this was supposed to become one of the tenets, the foundation in his Church.
Another verse, this time from Exodus, shows the relationship between reincarnation and karma:
" . . . Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression, and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children's children, unto the third and to the fourth generation." (Exodus 34:7)
If interpreted literally, this verse presents Jehovah as lacking real mercy; for why should an innocent offspring pay for the sins of its progenitor? The karmic retribution meted out to the children, and the children's children of the above verse refers to the karmic compensation that the reincarnating "Ego" has to pay in subsequent embodiments.
Karma is the Law of Cause and Effect; it is sometimes described as the "law of consequence," the "law of equilibrium." In the scriptures it is the law "As ye sow, so shall ye reap," inculcated by Jesus and Paul to the masses. Jesus declares:
"With what measure you mete it shall be measured to you again." (Matt 7:2)
Jesus is actually implying that we should be responsible for the burden of our sins.
We are also told in Galatians that,
" . . . every man shall bear his own burden." (Gal 6:5)
Every man has to face the consequences of his own deeds, in thought, words, and action. The dogma that one simply has to have faith or believe in Jesus to save oneself from sin is contradicted by the Master's own words. The true teachings of Jesus appeals to us to mature in a spiritual manner and not to be dependent upon another.
In the Book of Jubilees, a work considered apocryphal, it is mentioned how the higher law deals with man:
"With the instrument with which a man killeth his neighbour with the same shall he be killed; after the manner that he wounded him, in like manner shall they deal with him."
Karma is the expression of divine justice and mercy. It is one of the constants of the omniverse that applies and is readily seen working in the world of physics--aside from being a contributing factor of a person's evolution. The law is impersonal, impartial, and does not punish as some people believe--instead it teaches, educates. It makes an individual realize the errors of his deeds and the beneficence of his positive works. It shows an individual the relationship between actions and their consequences. Negative actions being the result of negative effects, positive actions in positive effects. Karma is the tool of God's balancing-out the disturbances in the harmony of the Tao. The Law declares in seemingly harsh terms:
"Vengeance is mine, I will repay . . ." (Romans 12:19)
Each individual in his daily thoughts, speech, and actions creates karma. No being lives without making karma, for no being lives without putting forces into motion in his daily life. To simply breathe is in one sense karmic--for every breath has its influence, its consequential result in the physical body. Karma is a person's self-created fate. A Christian of esotericism has a firm conviction in the existence of the law, for he perceives its workings manifesting daily in his life. To such an individual the dogma "remission of sins" as taught by orthodox Christianity is incompatible with the law of Karma and is seen as a principle invented by the Church to control the minds of the masses. The only prevention of reaping negative results is to avoid putting negative causes into motion. "Ahimsa," or harmlessness, should be a constant expression of the devout--"to turn the other cheek."
Karma binds one to the wheel of birth and rebirth--even the positive causes are no exception, unless one is unattached to one's actions; "vairagya" or detachment is a requisite virtue often advised by Gurus to their chelas to acquire. Being detached from one's actions is the whole theory and practice of Karma Yoga, as taught by the avatara Sri Krishna in the Bhagavad Gita. Karma may best be understood through Eastern teachings.
There are basically three types of Karma. Hindu philosophy classify them as follows:
Sattvika Karman, where the results of one's actions are not desired, where one is unattached to them.
Rajasa Karman, where acts are performed sensuously for the desire of their fruits and rewards.
Tamasa Karman, where forces are put into motion out of ignorance, confusion, and delusion, without any real care and concern for the consequences of one's deeds.
Copyright © 2006 Luxamore