The Law of Karma states that every action produces a corresponding reaction or result. The act is the cause, the result is the effect.
There are two aspects of the Law of Karma – Destiny and Self Effort
Destiny is the sum total of the results of past actions appearing in the present.
In other words, our past efforts have created our present destiny. Who we are
and what we have today, is a product of our own past actions
We are said to be the victims of our destiny- only with reference to own past.
But when we know and apply the other aspect of the law, we are empowered to be the architects of our own future.
Law of Self Effort
“What you meet in life is destiny. How you meet it is self-effort.” – Swami Chinmayananda
The law of Self Effort states that we have the freedom to choose how to respond to the results of past actions and to carve out a future for ourselves – for better or worse.
With intelligent application, Destiny yields to Self Effort
Story of how one man changed his destiny
There is a story of a pious and poor Hindu villager, who lived in a small hut in rural India. He and his wife kept some chickens, goats and two cows to support themselves.
His wife died shortly after childbirth, leaving him with a little son named Vasu. Following the family tradition, an astrologer was called in to chart Vasu’s horoscope.
The astrologer told the villager that he was blessed with a very intelligent son, who would live a modestly comfortable life so long as his father was alive. After his father’s death, Vasu’s luck would take a turn for the worse and he would lose everything that he had except for one milking cow. That was all that the boy had earned through his past karma.
Twenty years passed…
Then, one day the villager fell gravely ill and knew he wouldn’t survive. As he was dying, he shared his concerns with Vasu. “How will you support yourself after I’m gone, my son? What if the astrologer’s prediction comes true?”
Being the dynamic and intelligent young man that he was, Vasu had made plans for himself. “Don’t worry, Father. I will be fine. I already know what to do.”
Soon after his father’s death, Vasu’s luck did turn for the worse. A fire broke out in the small shed where the animals were kept. He lost all of the animals – except for one milking cow.
But Vasu was not disheartened. He understood that if his present condition was a result of his past, his future would be a result of his actions today.
He thought carefully to himself and decided he would conduct a special Hindu fire ceremony to invoke the grace of God. He announced in the village that the priest who would help him conduct the ceremony would be given a milking cow.
Vasu thought to himself, “I can earn merits for my future by doing this fire ceremony and giving away my cow. If one cow is all that I’ve earned from my past, then one cow is what I’ll have even after I give this one away. The universe has to give it to me.”
No one in the village could believe what Vasu was doing. How could he give away the one thing that he depended upon?
But Vasu was an honest boy and a priest decided he would trust him and do the ceremony. At the end of it, true to his word, Vasu gave the priest his precious milking cow.
Vasu announced that he would do the ceremony again the following week and give away another milking cow to the priest who conducted the ceremony.
The very next day, wealthy trader passed through the village leading some cows for sale in the nearby town. He had a fall and twisted his foot right in front of Vasu’s home. Vasu tended to his foot and helped him reach the town. The trader gave Vasu one of his cows in gratitude for his kind help.
The next week, Vasu had the ceremony done and gave away his new cow. He then immediately announced that he would be doing the same thing the following week.
The story goes that each week, Vasu somehow got another cow to replace the one he had given away. His bold daring to challenge the universe to live up to its natural law brought him a milking cow each week.
As he continued to do this, his fame grew. People came from far and wide to meet this dynamic young man who had such a strong faith that he could literally produce miracles.
Finally, the king of the land heard about Vasu. He was so impressed by his intelligence and power of will that he invited Vasu to visit him in the palace. When Vasu went there, the king offered his daughter’s hand in marriage to him.
Vasu happily agreed.
He had successfully changed the course of his destiny. With just one cow as his ‘karmic currency’ and a strong faith in Nature’s law, Vasu successfully changed the course of his destiny and made a bright future for himself.
I love this story. It teaches me to be grateful for what I have now and intelligently use what I have to mold a better future for myself.
What about you? How did you like the story and what did you get out of it?
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