श्लोक 3: Is Karma Evil?

In श्लोक 18.2, we saw that Shri Krishna started explaining Sanyas and Tyaga by presenting opinions of wise and learned people. 

श्लोक 18.3 continues on that same theme and provides opinions of another set of learned people.

त्याज्यं दोषवदित्येके कर्म प्राहुर्मनीषिण: | 
यज्ञदानतप:कर्म न त्याज्यमिति चापरे || 3 ||
Given that Karma is the cause of rebirth, some learned people label all the karmas as evil and recommend that we should give up everything. Many others think activities like, sacrifice, charity, and penance should never be abandoned.

Is Karma that evil as some learned people think? Let’s examine that.

As we know, we are born here to reap/repay the karma accumulated in past lives. 

That means karma enables us to re-live the situations we faced earlier. But this time we have an option to make amends on how the situation was handled.

For example, in earlier lives, if someone betrayed or hurt us and we felt strongly about revenge, that karma becomes part of Sanchit. Assuming it is in Prarabdha karma for current life we get a chance to take the revenge. 

Now, we have an option to see through the larger picture and let it go (to nullify the karma) or continue to take revenge.

Most of the time, we are so caught up with instant gratification that we miss the larger picture and go with taking revenge, creating a new set of karma to be repaid in the future.

But, karma is working relentlessly, repeating these situations over and over across multiple lives in the hope that at least someday we may act differently and let it go.

So, in summary, while some learned people call karma evil, it is not true. As Sant Dnyaneshwar explains in Dnyaneshwari, as fire purifies gold, Karma purifies us by making us go through it.

Like another opinion mentioned in the above shloka, we should never give up activities like sacrifice, charity, and penance.

After going through the opinions of various scholars, Shri Krishna will finally give his opinion on Sanyas and Tyaga in the next few shlokas. Let’s cover it in the next post.

All the Best!