August 9

Every Action Has a Reaction

Question: Do we incur bad karma each time we kill a bug or insect or frog while driving down the road?

Sri Gurudev: Yes. Whatever we do, knowingly or unknowingly, brings karma. There’s no doubt about it. Even when you walk you might step on many insects.

What should we do about that? The scriptures have given certain solutions. In our own life, as far as possible, we can offer our energy— material or physical, whatever it is—for the benefit of others to annihilate these bad karmas. It’s called yagna or sacrifice. There is a difference between the conscious karma and the unconscious or unavoidable karma.

You have to pay for any karma done consciously, it is true; but you also have to do something in order to survive. You cannot escape from that. There is unavoidable karma. The only way out is to feel, “All right, having killed this many things while eating, breathing, driving, and walking, let me offer my energy for the benefit of the creation.” Pray; offer your service to others. That is yagna. Yagna means always offering back more than you receive.

People can be categorized into five groups. The thief, the debtor, the fair business person, the good person and the saint. Who is a thief. The one who always gets things from everyone, but never gives anything. The debtor gets ten dollars worth but gives only five dollars worth to others. The fair business person is the one who gets ten dollars worth of benefit from others and returns ten dollars worth. A good person gets ten dollars and gives at least twenty or thirty dollars—more than what he or she gets. And a saint doesn’t get anything; he or she just gives everything possible. So you can analyze your own life and see in which category you belong. The only way to wash out our bad karma is to be a really good person or a saint. That means through our service to the earth, to the people, to divine beings, to God. That way we can be pardoned for the karmas that we incur unconsciously.

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