Spirit is greater than the process. Karma is bondage but the soul is free and by its freedom can overpass the karma. So such is the arrangement in the world. But again the rigidity of the idea of karma is complicated because of the notion of justice. It is argued that this whole world is governed by justice. And each one is rewarded according to the actions and even mathematically accurately. Such is the notion which is prevalent in the world with regard to karma – that if you have done certain things you are bound to reap the consequences of the karma with mathematical precision.
Now with regard to this there are two errors, two erroneous views which have to be brought out. We may not dispute the idea of justice provided we understand justice in the right sense because justice in the world may not correspond with our idea of justice. What I may think to be just may not be just from God’s point of view. So I may not dispute the idea of justice. I may say there is justice in the world provided I do not impose upon God’s idea of justice with my idea of justice. But it is argued that if one does a good action then the consequence will be in terms of happiness and if one does an evil action then the consequence will be in terms of misery. This is the kind of equation that is being shown to be the part of the law of karma – popularly, not scientifically.
What Sri Aurobindo points out is that this equation is an erroneous equation. Such is not the law of Karma in the world. Such is not the equation in the world. The equation is only this that the nature of the Energy that is put forward in the Karma in the action is also reflected in the nature of the energy in the consequence. If the nature of the energy put forward in an action is good then the result will be increase of good, not increase of happiness. If you put energy in the form of evil, the consequence will be increase of evil. Moreover, energies in the world are of many kinds. Good and evil are only two kinds of energies but there are many kinds of energies e.g. there is energy in the direction of pursuit of knowledge, energy put forward in the direction of health, energy put forward in the direction of joy, joy of various kinds, not only physical pleasure. There is a direction in which you put energy only to get success, put forth energy in the attainment of beauty, some may pursue power, some may pursue multiplicity of relationships. People are very happy when they have friends and they keep increasing friends in the world, more and more. Some may have simply a lust for wealth. So there are many kinds of energies that may be put forth. So according to the true law of karma according to the nature of the energy put forth in action there will be the consequence in the form of an increase in that kind of energy. If I am a virtuous man doing virtuous action, the result will be an increase in my virtuosity. I will become more virtuous. But because of my virtuosity it does not mean that I will stand first in sports competition simply because I am a righteous man. If you want to stand first in sports competition then you have to put forth energy appropriate to sports. You have to go for sprinting every day. You have to develop muscles, develop endurance of the physique; you have to develop skills by which you can compete properly. These are the energies you have to put forward to succeed in the field sports. The more you do that the more you will get in the direction connected with that particular energy. If you do not follow this line of argument, you will come to absurd conclusions. E.g. If you find a virtuous man is suffering and according to the wrong notion this man who is now virtuous must have been a very evil man in the past and he is suffering now because of the evil he has done in the past. Or if this evil man is enjoying all kinds of pleasures, it would mean that in the past birth he was a paragon of virtues and suddenly has become evil but is enjoying the bank balance of the past. Such will be the consequences of this wrong notion of karma. Very often we say this evil man is enjoying so much why does God not punish him but the reason is that he is pursuing the energies of pleasure so pleasure will increase. Very often evil movements are connected with lots of successes. If you only pursue success, good or evil matter nothing to you, you will keep on getting success.
The nature of the world is not ruled by our ideas of good and evil. And good and evil are not the only criteria in the world. The world is a vast movement of energy in which there is a variety of forces working together at the same time and depending upon the kind of energy put forth you get the consequences in the same kind.
Having said this we can add a rider, there is also a plane where these things intermix because human beings are working not in one but at many directions at the same time. Therefore the totality of circumstances that an individual is placed is a result of multifarious activities, various kinds of energies that he has put forward and therefore energies are mixed and results are mixed. Partly we succeed, partly we fail, partly we enjoy, partly we suffer because of the intermixture of the energies we put forth. But the most important thing to be remembered is that all this web of karma is the instrument of experience and that is the central point and the question is what the meaning of experience.