Few concepts hold as much fascination as Karma, an ancient principle which focuses on the morality of human actions and inaction on a reward-sanction framework. No one requires verbal expression of blessing or curse for all acts of man with or without intent because all human actions must be placed on a reward-sanction framework and judged. The outcomes of the lives of individuals can be seen as resulting from something done or not done when it should have been done. The realization (accepted by the individual or not) should place a burden on each person to walk right in the complex journey through life.

Two people from the same background and who have put in near equivalent effort and time find themselves at different ends of a stick of fate in which one can be adjudged successful while the other is regarded as a failure. In some cases the successful person has put in minimal effort but his/her lines continue to fall in pleasant places as the psalmist stated in Psalm 16 verse 6. The other puts in honest 18 hours of work each day but can boast of just basic board and lodge. How should such outcomes be explained? And, in the day to day business of living things happen to people in a manner the ordinary person stands shocked and desperate for answers.

How can one explain for instance the martyrdom of John the Baptist whose existence and essence lay in clearing the path for a much-awaited Messiah? How should a normal human being feel after he has cleared the path to the stream for someone else and the person stands by to watch him being drowned in the same stream? Why should Stephen suffer the fate which came his way because he expressed his convictions? Fast forward to two thousand plus years later, why should a school girl who expressed her inner being via her religious believe be burnt alive? We may not think about it but Deborah Samuel of Sokoto is a modern day martyr. And the youths, as excited as she was to defend religious position but who exacted such act on the girl, will they go free?

These are troubling questions which an educated mind should ponder on if the state of the private economy permits people the luxury of contemplation.

One approach to an explanation of the puzzles which arise from events in the lives of people is the concept of Karma. The scripture in Galatians 6 verse 7 says in words so simple and without equivocation: “Don’t be deceived, God cannot be mocked. Whatever someone sows the person must reap.” If a person sows good, the person reaps good and vice versa. You cannot sow cassava and reap cocoyam or pear and reap Israeli apples. This moral imperative with a reward-sanction trade off implies absence of need for curses and blessings and can explain the reason some people see and shrug off immoral actions by people. Last night while navigating one of the streets in Uyo where construction companies appear to be unconcerned about  alternatives for road users one young man screamed from another car, “This stupid old man what are you driving?” I shrugged and said to myself a youth has chalked up karma for himself out of ignorance. He will face such insult in the future from a younger person. But my mind said, does this imply you did the same thing to an elder when you were young? I answered in the negative for all through my life I have struggled to respect every human being irrespective of age. The next question – if karma played out may be I did such thing in a past life? What about people who are so good yet are plagued with evil? These questions form the ingredients of Karma which require deliberation. They raise issues such as reincarnation, determinism or predestination, intensity or extent of punishment or reward, knowledge that what an individual is enjoying or suffering arose from karma, among others.  The third issue in above list I will like to attempt application of Newton’s third law of motion to explain it. In the sections that follow, my opinions on Karma are discussed. Have a good week.

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