On Karma (20 December 1999) Auroville - Karma 103

So this is the movement of karma with a double-fold complication in it. One in which we are always; we prepare ourselves always in the right direction. That is why in education it is very important, we say, ‘Let the child decide in what way he wants to go.’ You have heard of free progress system. We say to the children, ‘We present to you ten-twenty things, now you decide what you like to have.’ And each one will come forward and say, ‘I want to do this'. This inclination, there must be some truth in it. When you say, ‘I want to do this,’ you will find there was a truth in it. But there may not be entirely complete truth, because you have forgotten, so there might be also hesitation, there might be effort, trial, error, all these elements also come into it. And all these movements also form a part of your ultimate, because in a certain sense there is nothing like error. Even the error that you make is actually a part of your game. Through the error you find out really what you want to do. So that is also a part of it, from a larger point of view there is no error. That is why in the free progress system it is said that a child should be allowed to make mistakes, because through mistakes the child will learn as to what is the right thing to do.

Now this whole world is actually a free progress system. The whole world, whether we like it or not, the entire world is, God has decided the world in a free progress system. We may follow in education or not, but if you look from above, it's a free progress system. There are so many alternatives presented to everybody, and we are all blindfolded and we are trying to find out what exactly we should do. Mother once told us what is free progress. Free progress is progress – guided and determined by the inner soul. Every action that we do in this world is, in a sense, guided and directed by the soul. But it's not entirely so because there is this coating of ignorance, of forgetfulness. A real free progress system is to become more and more luminous, to eliminate forgetfulness, and really to do what your inner soul tells you. And that is why the free progress system that we want to develop here in Auroville is to say, ‘Bring forth your soul.’ Your psychic being should be kept in the front, bring it in the front, and we've always said that the good education is one in which the inner soul does not get further blindfolded. You allow the soul to come in front, and then it will be the sunlit path. It will be a path lit up by sunlight, where you can move very freely, surely, steadily, straight to the goal.

From point of view of God, the whole world is a school and we are all students, and we are all working out the goal that we want to contribute to by our karma.

Karma is something that issues from ourselves, so you cannot eliminate it. Karma is always with us. Whatever you put forth has its own consequences, and those consequences are tied up with what you have done in the past. Even the errors that you have committed have issued from you, and therefore they have consequences also. It is only when you reach the goal that we find that even the errors that you've committed were good; even the mistakes that I've committed were all part of my training but that you will see only at the end, when you have really developed yourself fully.

This movement of manifestation of individual action which we call karma, and which issues from swabhava, is seen like a law. You put forth an action, it has a consequence, an inevitable consequence, it must produce a certain result and therefore it is said that karma is inexorable. Once you put forth an action, the consequence will come and you cannot avoid that consequence. If you throw a stone from your upstairs window, once you have thrown it how will you take it back? It is thrown, it will go down, and if there is someone is moving under your window the stone will hurt him. And there will be consequences there also: That person will receive the stone, will be hurt, and he might even be inspired to throw a stone at you in return, – it's a karma which has a consequence. He may not , but then you may feel, ‘Oh my Lord, what have I done!’

One of the terrible stories of karma is that of Othello. He suspects his wife, and in that stance of suspicion, he murders her. Afterwards he discovers that it was a mistaken suspicion, – just after he murders her, immediately afterwards, he finds that he has made a big mistake. He has wrongly suspected his wife, who was completely faithful to him. This is a karma, he cannot withdraw from it, it is a karma. He has done it and the consequence is that he commits suicide, because he cannot bear to see that he has done such a terrible injustice. This is a terrible karma: He murders somebody, then falls back upon himself and commits suicide. And then we say that the drama is over, but in reality the drama of karma is not over. After that, what happens? It is said therefore that karma sometimes becomes visible, but that most of it is invisible. In India we have a word, adrishta, "unseen". The law of karma is also called the law of adrishta in Indian philosophy, that which is unseen: Buddha said that if you emanate even one thought from your mind, it is a karma. The thought that proceeds from you, it need not be an action, just a thought. It may travel the whole world, but it will come back to you again, with its consequence. You cannot escape it. The thought you put forth makes no mistake, it knows exactly where it originated and it comes back and takes you exactly at the right moment, or at the wrong moment, according to your predilections. That's why Buddha said that when you put out even an ill will against somebody, be very careful, it will go around, it has its own consequence. It is ill in its own character, therefore it will come to you with illness. It will come back to you with a certain consequence, with which you will not be very happy. That is why he said, ‘Always have goodwill'. Because if you put out even a small ill will, it will come back with a consequence. And very often it comes to you at what you think is the wrong moment, when you're hardly ready for it. When you're not ready it comes to you and strikes you.