Learn now that there is no cure for desire, no cure for the love of reward, no cure for the misery of longing, save in the fixing of the sight and hearing upon that which is invisible and soundless. Begin even now to practice it, and so a thousand serpents will be kept from your path. Live in the eternal "Light on the path."
By the doctrine of Karma or "Act," is meant that every one's condition in this life is the consequences and exact equivalent of his acts in a previous state. We are governed by an absolutely rigid law of cause and effect, hence "Whatsoever a man soweth' that shall he also reap."
This truth may strike harshly upon the sensitiveness of those who have been schooled to think upon other lines, but, as a matter of fact there is no doctrine more protective, more beneficent than that of Karma. Karma makes it impossible for Fate to deal us an unkind blow. No one, nothing, can ever injure us. We alone injure ourselves. And we injure ourselves, not by means of the consequences of our actions coming to us from without, but only through the effect of motive on character interiorly.
It is difficult for some people to realize this. We frequently hear people refer to events in their lives as "bad Karma," just as others refer to "bad luck." But Karma is not a blind force, it is a Divine law. It is not punishment, it is simply Love—Love manifesting as the exact reaction of a cause. But because love is its Motive power, Karma carries "healing in its wings."
Illness is a homely but excellent illustration of this. It is not so long ago that the outer and visible effects of disease were looked upon as the illness; and these effects were treated, and were, if possible removed. We have learned since then that a superficial appearance of health often covers a condition of serious unhealthiness, and that, as Dr. Keith states in his "Plea for a Simpler Life,"
"The abnormal phenomena presented to us by the sick, are not the essential elements of the case, but are signs of process set up in the body in order to relieve itself of some disturbing influence threatening to interfere with its functions, or (it may be) to destroy them altogether."
In other words, these abnormal phenomena, instead of being the illness, are reactions of the body against disease; they are the result of efforts made by Nature to throw off the disease and to restore the balance of health.
The old style unfortunately still adhered to by many, let us say for "a cold in the head" to resort to drugs of some kind to drive it away. What was really done was to drive it in. The cause of the symptoms, the real illness, remained, and quickly sought some other outlet, which meant other diseases, and so on. The wise man, when he has a "cold " recognized that it has merely brought to the front, as it were, certain poisonous elements which have accumulated previously in the blood; and he sees that the "cold" (the acute disease) is an effort made by Nature to get rid of these poisons. Instead, therefore of driving the effects in, he sets to work to assist Nature by opening the other channels of exit: thus, by sweating and so forth, he opens the pores of the outer skin in order to withdraw the pressure from the inner skin (the mucous membrane). In this way the need for the cold is removed.
If we apply this to the action of Karma in our daily lives: We see that abnormal phenomena—that financial disaster; estrangement from friends, public obloquy, accidents &c., are merely the efforts of the wise Heart of Nature to throw off some condition of disharmony existing within us. As phenomena, we could drive them in, say by will power, or by prayer. But we know from the analogy of physical illness what the result would be. We should not be ridding ourselves of the malady. Naturally these outer disasters, as we call them, are not agreeable. But neither is a cold in the head! And they are infinitely easier to bear if, instead of looking upon them as calamities per se, that that which directly produces them is, not blind chance, or automatic law, but the Divine Law and Wisdom acting through or with ourselves. Herein lies what seems to me the real explanation of the much misinterpreted and misapplied advice, "Resist not evil." It does not mean, for instance, that we should fold our hands and do nothing when we see financial disasters, or estrangement from friends, or an accident ahead of us.
It means only that we should heartily welcome the inevitable—and we do not know what the inevitable is until it has happened. Until then we should do our best to remove what we conceive to be the cause of the approaching disaster. But we should do this cheerfully, without anxiety, without strain, with a light heart and with a light hand, remembering always that nothing is final (death least of all), and that if we fail to remove the cause of the threatened attack, the Divine Wisdom, the Soul of things, is working even now, as always with our ultimate benefit in view. We may have wrongly diagnosed the cause as we often do, and Nature, with clearest insight, may have some end before her which time alone will reveal to us. "Almost everyone has lamented over something which afterwards turned out to be the very best thing for him that could have happened." We shall learn at last to cling to nothing, but to hold all things as if Life had left them with us "Until called for." Once we have adopted that attitude; have taken the "Vow of Panerly," and have said to the "Paneers that be;” Thy Will be done; take, give, as you choose for the world’s sake, not for mine—we shall find that Karma takes us at our word. We shall begin to share in Universal Karma for universal ends. Things will happen to us which would not have happened had we continued our self-seeking and our prayers for self. And these things will happen to us in order that we may do better work. We shall then have become vehicles for the manifestation of the Higher Intelligences, of the Divine Wisdom, with possibly personally disagreeable but Universally as well as personally beneficial result. In the words of James Allen:
Unto the Law, if I would reach the end
Of my afflictions, if I would restore
My soul to Light and Life, and weep no more.
Not mine the arrogant and selfish claim
To all good things; be mine the lovely aim
To seek and find, to know and comprehend.
And wisdom-ward all holy footsteps wend,
Nothing is mine to claim or to command
But all is mine to know and understand.