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<br /> <b>Strict Standards</b>: Non-static method BP_Options::get() should not be called statically in <b>/home/absolut6/public_html/forums/bb-includes/backpress/functions.bp-options.php</b> on line <b>9</b><br /> Can Karma act to a group? « Absolute-Truth Forums

Absolute-Truth Forums » Perfect Question, Perfect Answers

Can Karma act to a group?

(1 post)
  1. Truth Seeker
    Key Master

    Question : What do the scriptures including the Bhagavad-Gita and Srimad Bhagavatam have to say about “collective karma”? Our individual karma is generated by our own intentional and unintentional actions but what about the actions we perform as part of a group or as a society? Does responsibility get assigned to each one of us? Particularly, in the context of the planetary environment, we have collectively made impacts on the earth and are now seeing the consequences.
    Answer: As member of any community, the actions of the individual members have a collective impact on the rest of the community. Even within a family, we can readily see that an action of one member affects the lives of other family members just by virtue of their connection to each other, and similarly our individual karmas impact each other also.
    We see this principle demonstrated in the Mahabharata - for the transgressions by Duryodhana and a few of his cohorts against the Pandavas and their chaste wife, the entire dynasty of Kuru had to pay the price for having stood by him and failed to check his sinful actions. Vedic social organization or Varnashrama is designed in such a way that by executing one’s own prescribed duties nicely, each member of society automatically contributes positively to the overall welfare of the society, not only human beings but even the animals, plants, environment, demigods and forefathers! Conversely when a member of the society deviates from his/her duties, it creates negative impact. In the modern paradigm of scientific research, we are discovering that it is impossible to test or predict what impact our actions might have down the road, and no one knows what they are supposed to do or not do.
    Contrastingly, those who execute their duties under proper guidance in the Vedic society, even if they themselves may not be learned or far-sighted enough to understand the consequences and they may also not be on the platform of pure devotion, they can still be confident that their actions are not detrimental but uplifting to all sections of society, simply because they are acting under the infallible direction of scriptures. Therefore, each person simply had to execute their own prescribed duty conscientiously.
    As far as assigning karmic reaction, although each person is responsible for his/her own action, much greater responsibility is placed upon the leaders of the society. The king or executive head, parents, teachers, husband and highly educated members of the society (brahmanas) are natural leaders because their actions and decisions guide and affect the lives of their dependents. Whatever great persons do, common people follow. (BG 3.21) Thus the head of state (or head of family or community) has great responsibility to set the right example and also to guide, facilitate and ensure that their dependents are properly engaged in their respective duties and do not get implicated in bad karma.
    According to Vedic social codes, the king has to bear one-sixth of the collective karma of his citizens! (Cf. SB 4.20.14 http://vedabase.net/sb/4/20/14/en) We can see that it is quite a serious responsibility and therefore it was required that these leading members be conversant with standard scriptural codes and be guided by saintly persons. Conversely, a citizen benefits from the piety of the King, and the King benefits from the pious activities of the citizen.
    “Prthu Maharaja continued: Therefore, my dear citizens, for the welfare of your king after his death, you should execute your duties properly in terms of your positions of varna and asrama and should always think of the Supreme Personality of Godhead within your hearts. By doing so, you will protect your own interests, and you will bestow mercy upon your king for his welfare after death.” (SB 4.21.25)
    Regarding a King’s duty to spiritually elevate his citizens: “If a king neglects to give such instructions and is simply satisfied with levying taxes, then those who share in the collection-namely, all the government servants and the head of the state-are liable to share in the impious activities of the general masses. The laws of nature are very subtle. For example, if one eats in a place which is very sinful, he shares in the resultant reaction of the sinful activities performed there.”
    Similarly, it is warned that parents who beget children without discharging their responsibility to train them spiritually will have to bear responsibility for the karma of the children as well. The spiritual master also has to take on the sinful reactions of his disciples. (SB 5.5.18)
    Certainly, we are all individually fully responsible for our own actions due to our freewill, but those who are in such leading roles are held greatly accountable also. Individually it is our responsibility to choose as far as possible the right type of association and leadership which will not implicate us in further sins. There are examples within scripture of subordinates rejecting the king, spiritual master, father or husband under dire circumstances when such authority was leading them down the wrong path. (This, of course, should be done only with great caution and superior guidance and not whimsically.)
    There are also very instructive examples found in the Caitanya-caritamrita, in this case not just of sinful reactions but the much more serious consequence of offending great saintly devotees. (Please see Caitanya Caritamrita Antya Lila 3.147-164, 3.191-212; http://vedabase.net/cc/antya/3/en )
    Both these incidents illustrate how when an advanced devotee of the Lord is insulted it has such serious repercussions that for one man’s fault the entire village or country can become afflicted. In the case of Ramachandra Khan, his entire village suffered as a consequence of his offense to Haridas Thakur and Lord Nityananda. Contrastingly, in the case of Gopala Cakravarti who also insulted Haridas Thakur, he was immediately dismissed and rejected by all the members of the assembly who knew of the grave danger in insulting saintly persons, and thus they were not implicated.
    “Wherever an advanced devotee is insulted, for one man’s fault the entire town or place is afflicted.” Cc Antya 3.164.
    Question :That leads to my second related question: If there is collective karma, how can one free oneself from the results of such karma?
    Answer: The process of getting relief from karma is the same - to surrender unto the Supreme Lord and to live in harmony with His instructions by being guided by His bona fide representatives and scriptures. We can also set a good example from whatever position we may be in and honestly discharge our responsibility towards our family members, friends and those that we may have some influence upon to guide their actions on the right path. As mentioned before, one should carefully avoid participating in or contributing to directly irreligious/sinful activities as far as possible.
    By taking steps towards leading such a pure life in service to the Lord and by taking up chanting of His Holy Names, one can become immune to all types of sinful reactions - Krishna promises to deliver such a surrendered soul. We can practically see that those who take shelter of the divine energy of the Lord can remain completely protected and transcendental even in the midst of great confusions and upheavals in the rest of the society around us; not only they remain unaffected but they can also extend great shelter to so many others around them.
    Collective Karma - HH Rompada swami maharaj Answers

    Posted 7 years ago #

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