Theory Of Karma- A Hope Or A Law Or…?

The law of karma, in the first place, is not a law. That word gives it an aroma as if it is something scientific, like the law of gravitation. It is merely a hope, not a law at all. It has been hoped for centuries that if you do good you will attain to good results. It is a human hope in existence which is absolutely neutral.

If you look at nature, there are laws — the whole of science is nothing but discovery of those laws — but science has not come even close to detecting anything like the law of karma. Yes, it is certain that any action is going to bring certain reactions, but the law of karma is hoping for much more. If you simply say any action is bound to produce some reactions, it is possible to have scientific support for it. But man is hoping for much more. He is asking that a good action inevitably brings a good consequence with it, and the same with a bad action.

Now, there are many things implied in this. First, What is good? Each society defines good according to itself. What is good to a Jew is not good to a Jaina; what is good to a Christian is not good to a Confucian. Not only that, what is good in one culture is bad in another culture. A law has to be universal. For example, if you heat water to one hundred degrees centigrade, it will evaporate — in Tibet, in Russia, in America, even in Oregon. In Oregon it will be a little puzzled, but all the same at one hundred degrees water will evaporate. Certainly the law of karma is neither a scientific law nor part of any legal system.

Then what kind of law is it? It is a hope. A man wandering in immense darkness, groping his way, clings to anything that gives a little hope, a little light — because what you observe in life itself is something totally different from the law of karma. A man who is a well-known criminal may succeed and become the president, the prime minister; or vice versa: he was not a criminal before, but when he becomes the president or prime minister of a country he becomes a criminal… So in life this strange situation happens: bad people reach good positions, become respectable or honored, not only in their time but throughout history. It is full of their names. In history, Gautam Buddha, Mahavira, Kanad, Gautam, Lao Tzu, Chuang Tzu, Lieh Tzu — people like these you will not find even in the footnotes. And Alexander the Great, Genghis Khan, Tamerlane, Nadirshah, Napoleon Bonaparte, Adolf Hitler — they make up the major portion of history. In fact, we have to write the whole of history again because all these people have to be completely erased. Even the memory of them should not be carried on, because even their memory may have evil effects on people.

A better humanity will not give these names even a place in the footnotes; there is no need. They were nightmares; it is better they are completely forgotten so they don’t follow you like shadows. And we have to discover people who have lived on this earth and made it in every way beautiful; shared their joy, their dance, their music, shared their ecstasies — but lived anonymously. People have completely forgotten even their names. To me, certainly each action has its result, but not somewhere far away in a future life. The action and the result are continuous, they are part of one process. Do you think sowing the seed and reaping the crop are separate? It is one process. What begins in sowing the seed, grows, and one day the one seed has become thousands of seeds. That’s what you call your crop. It is the same seed which has exploded into thousands of seeds. No death is intervening, no afterlife is needed; it is a continuum.

So the one thing to be remembered is: in my vision of life, yes, every action is bound to have some consequences, but they will not be somewhere else, you will have them here and now. Most probably you will get them almost simultaneously. When you are kind to someone, don’t you feel a certain joy? A certain peace? A certain meaningfulness? Don’t you feel that you are contented with what you have done? There is a kind of deep satisfaction. Have you ever felt that contentment when you are angry, when you are boiling with anger, when you hurt somebody, when you are mad with rage? Have you ever felt a peace, a silence descending in you? No, it is impossible. You will certainly feel something, but it will be a sadness that you again acted like a fool, that again you have done the same stupid thing that you decided again and again not to do. You will feel a tremendous unworthiness in yourself. You will feel that you are not a man but a machine, because you don’t respond, you react. A man may have done something, and you reacted. That man had the key in his hands, and you just danced according to his desire; he had power over you. When somebody abuses you and you start fighting, what does it mean? It means that you don’t have any capacity not to react.

OSHO – From Personality to Individuality, Talk #9

Copyright © 2010 Osho International Foundation


15 responses to “Theory Of Karma- A Hope Or A Law Or…?

  1. Spiritually artistic! Thanks Master Osho for your sharings.

  2. I humbly respect and honor your position and offer the following… most karma does seem to be instantaneous, as you state. But experience suggests that karma can be delayed if the message that needs to be conveyed benefits from this, ‘delay’. Or could it be that the instantaneous effect is always there, but we cannot ‘see’ it and so realize the ‘lesson’ later. Either way… karma is delivered. Hence the notion, ‘it is law’.

    What is more important, perhaps, is that karma – good or bad – is our friend, when we observe.

  3. great thoughts
    but there must be universal karma
    which we can’t be able to judge directly.

  4. simply superb
    great thoughts
    great guru
    no words to say

  5. Thank You Osho. I agree on many things. In addition, I would like to say that Karma seems natural enough, and makes sense enough to maybe be true. You said that when doing good, you feel good, and when doing bad, you feel bad. That can be instantaneous. However, if you are a murderer and are tried in court and THEN you break down with remorse because you see the family and friends of whom you have killed, you are educated, you open up to this whole new world, and you cry. You feel badly about what you have done. So THEN only do you have this ‘delayed’ karma coming ‘back’ to you (I don’t know if it is coming back or if it was there all along and you were not wise enough or open enough to notice it).
    Also, as you alluded to, bad can come from good and good can come from bad. This, I believe may lead people to disbelieve in karma. But you see, perhaps it is not karma which is wrong, but our definitions of karma, which depend on our definitions of ‘good’ and ‘bad’, which as you say is clearly not universal, but based on cultural relativism, experience, etc. So this means our ‘karma’ is a loose, overlapping law based on our faulty un-universal definitions. Which is okay, let us just acknowledge that, before applying the law.
    I personally believe that the good and bad are mixed, are in varying degrees of purity, IRRESPECTIVE of how you define either of them. This would prove that, by extension, karma is mixed. If you do a bad action, bad AND(/or?) good can come of it. And vice versa with good – the unfortunate saying “the road to hell is paved with good intentions” or “I never meant to hurt anyone, I thought I was doing the right thing”.
    We must bear in mind that in reality, in nature, in the universe, everything exists together, everything is CONNECTED, RELATED to everything else in a complex yet simple. So is there a pure form of bad and of good, even if they are well-defined? Hardly so as everything has the POTENTIAL to turn into the other. But does that mean it is the other – whether directly or indirectly?
    Like I said, the universe is chaotic, following only few but encompassing laws. If you want to find them you should not think forward (who knows what the future may bring, and how our present world have been ‘falsified’ from its prior state?). Think back, to what you are SURE of knowing. Go back to simplicity and free your mind of distractions. (This in effect, is something like what the Buddha was trying to do). Once there, think backward. Ask yourself, what IS the truth? Remove all veils and expose it with your mind. Because the truth was there in the beginning, the end, the middle, the whole continuum. Although some parts of the truth may have changed over time, there are parts that are untouchable, unconditional, unaffected by anything (like time etc.). (Incidentally, I believe unconditional, true, for ALL of time LOVE is an example of such a truth). Once you find the truth, then only can you make deductions about the laws that are universal.
    Thank you once again Osho. You are a great thinker, and I am grateful you spread your message. 🙂

    • I don’ t agree it’s relatively what is good and what is bad. Someone might tell- I had to kill my wife because she cheated on me and I’m right. It’s his truth but is this really something good and right as he thinks? There s no good things that are bad in some other culture and vice versa. I do respect Osho but this in nonsense.Read the Christ words and you’ll get into it

  6. Niranjan Prabhu

    How quickly karma effects us can also be understood from the Biblical saying “What you sow, so you reap”. If we sow alpha alpha, the results start showing up in a few minutes/hours, but if we plant a mango seed the results are seen over decades and sometimes centuries. So karma is also of different kinds, put your finger in an electrical outlet andthe results are seen immediately! Sow a mango seed and teh results will be seen only years and years later 🙂

  7. nice explanation,
    and there is cosmic law which you can’t deny.

  8. OSHO is the greatest Master to have lived !

  9. I firmly believe to this theory and i have experienced it a lot

  10. Hussain Bux Balouch

    The great essence what I could get is that your inner satisfication is dependent on your intention and no doubt there is measurement of the karma. OSHO You are always a live healer of the society.

  11. Vandana kumar Seth

    The meaning of simple words with complex meaning like faith,response and reaction was explained in a very simple way.This strengthen my belief in Karma.

  12. I needed to hear this.
    Wonderfully written
    thank you


    OSHO is the greatest Master to lighting the peoples life

  14. Uncover the evil Chandrahf Mohan

    Karma is law! See the truth. Distrust the fake Raj.

    Chandrahf Mohan alias Baghwan alias Osho is once again false – like his chosen names, he fabricates his own “truth” aimed at very innocent people, the easy prey, the best prey is young. (When I look at Lori, above, I feel sorry. It is the young, the innocent which this evil bastard is luring).

    Seed and harvest!
    Action and reaction!
    See Newtons`s law of motion! It is the modern explanation of karma!
    The 3 laws of motion are the one part, the one side of karma. Another part, a part which is harder to track is the motion of past actions, of long gone actions.

    Also, good and bad do not mix. Good deeds can not compensate bad deeds. That’s where the catholic church drops out.

    And the fake Jaina, Chandrahf Mohan, I have knwon the bastard very personally, maybe he was poisened, maybe it was his “poor” lifestyle of sex and drugs which got him poisened and killed, why did they burn him immediately in a great rush, so as to destroy all traces consuming this evil creature? Now the “Osho-Foundation” is run by CIA-agents.

    Stop believing!


    Life is a struggle!

    The evil fake “initiated” maybe 2 million people or more. The CIA, which is Mossad, has all details of all initiates, so they know the size of the herd.

    Be careful to drop into this hole. Downhill is always easy.

    Thousands and thousands of lives have been destroyed by this evil dog.

    If I had more time I would write a book with vitae of destroyed “sannyasi”.

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