The Law of Karma

At the age of eighty-five, Seth Inder Pal died in sleep. His soul left his body, and made its way to the heavens to be judged by Yama.

At Yama's court, all his past actions and their consequences would be judged. Based on his cumulative karma for all the births he had taken, the form of his next one would be decided. Yama's assistant Chitragupta read out the summary of the Seth's life.

“The soul last named Inder Pal who is now before us, was incarnated in a prosperous house in the city of Lahore, India. He completed his education and moved to Bombay to set up his business. He built a big house in Bombay from the earnings he got in the cotton trade. That was when the American Civil War had cut off supplies of cotton to the mills of England, and Indian agriculture had stepped into the breach. He had the foresight to realise that excess speculation and exuberance would lead to ultimate doom, and withdrew from the business on time.”

“He went back to his native Lahore, where he built up another big business trading in wool, wheat and mustard. But before going back he donated his Bombay house to an institution that cared for orphans, and established a trust that would provide for them until their employment in a suitable profession. At Lahore and in other towns of Punjab too he kept up his philanthropy. He, along with many other, struggled with the British to open a university in the city, and when it came up, he gave it a big endowment. We have a written testimonial from Goddess Lakshmi in this regard as evidence of punya so earned.”

“We have also present in court, Narayana as Krishna to give evidence to his concern for cows.” announced Chitragupta.

“Yes my lord, I, the Cowherd God, vouch for this man. He has been my devout bhakta all his life, chanting my name and celebrating Janmashtami with fervour. He established a veterinary institution to provide medical aid and advice for all the farmers of Punjab. But I also observe that his fondness was greater for dogs, to which Dattatreya, present here, can testify.”

“Yes, O Dharmaraja, I, Dattatreya, the patron of dogs do testify that Inder Pal's greatest fondness was for the four dogs that lived on his street in Lahore. I have seen him every morning feeding them with his own hands. And he would have fresh food – chapatis, vegetables and lentils – cooked for them everyday. He did not like the idea that they should be given leftovers. According to him, all humans and animals were created by the same gods to serve their different purposes in the world, and were thus equal in his eyes. He gave decent funerals to the dogs when they died one by one. I can see that his sorrow was genuine.”

Yama noted all these testimonials, paused briefly to think, and then addressed Inder Pal.

“O soul last known as Seth Inder Pal, I am pleased to tell you that you have had a good record in this janma. We do not see any major sins except clever tax dodges and some business tricks. You have done a lot for humans, cows and other animals without any apparent discrimination. For these reasons alone, I might contemplate allowing you moksha – the escape from the cycle of janmas that all souls so ardently seek. But this court also perceives that in an earlier janma as the human Chief Akwa Bamalenge in Africa, you had accumulated some rather nasty paapa which you have not atoned for completely. I must therefore require you to undergo one more janma. However, on account of your punya-accumulating janmas earlier as the milch cow Isabel in Europe and as an unfortunate snake that got eaten in China, we can give the benefit of choosing what you want in your imminent janma. Think deeply, and choose carefully.”

Inder Pal thought long and hard, and then addressed Yama “O Dharmaraja, in my last janma I have worked very hard. I have had very little sleep, and have had to skip meals on many an occasion. Although I tried my best to see that no one in my care had the least worry, I had many myself. But I grinned and bore it all. Now I would like a janma in which I do not have to work hard. I wish I could have a life full of rest and play, and in which I am fed regularly with all my favourite dishes. I hope that this is not an unreasonable wish, my lord.”

Yama smiled. “Good soul, we understand your wishes. You have had a long life of toil and struggle. I am pleased to give you what you want. You will remember the four dogs that you had loved and cared for. They have now been reincarnated as a loving human family in the city of Bombay that you loved so much. This court is therefore pleased to grant that you shall live out your janma as a dog, to be cared and spoiled completely in their house.”


Popular Posts