Karma is one of the most fascinating concepts in Indic philosophy; Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism. It can refer to any kind of action, but its deeper significance revolves around the whole adventure of birth and rebirth. Positive Karma is believed to lead us towards a better rebirth, while negative Karma would pull us down in the opposite direction. One danger of this approach is that it can lead to a fatalistic approach whereby we feel that if everything is due to our past Karma then we have to accept our present situation howsoever miserable it may be. This is totally unacceptable. In fact, Swami Vivekananda described Karma as the greater declaration of independence because it means that we can shape our destiny ourselves by the way we act and behave. Another equally unacceptable approach is the one which held that because all work entangles us in Karmic consequences, the only solution is to shun work altogether and retire into some kind of solitude. This is not a workable proposition, firstly because whatever physical solitude we are in, our mind continues to work feverishly, and also in this day and age it is simply not possible for us to get away and live permanently in seclusion and solitude.
What, therefore, is the way between these two extremes of fatalism and solitude? The answer has been given to us both in the Upanishads, which are the cross-jewels of Hindu philosophy and the Bhagwatgita.
The Ishavasaya Upanishad in its first verse teaches us to realize the all pervasiveness of the divine and, therefore, not to covet the wealth of others.
I got interested in the theory of karma almost two back and published two research articles on the theory. My studies on this issue continued all this time, though not in a very systematic and sustained manner. The more I read, the more interested I got in this area. One issue that perplexed me was how the karma theory is related to astrology and do these together imply fatalism. I attended classes on astrology for a brief period to get some clarity in this respect. The present book is an outcome of my study and reflections on the issue of karma. There is a surfeit of discussions of the theory, which are rather general in nature and neither present the views found in the classical Indian philosophy, nor subject the theory to a rigorous philosophical analysis. However, there are a few relatively modern books that present detailed exposition of the philosophical accounts found in ancient texts and different schools of Indian philosophy. A few works offer a mix of expository and critical accounts. We also find articles in anthologies and academic journals that present a critical analysis of the claims of the theory.
**Contents and Sample Pages**
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