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Mohanapriya Rajasekaran

Human Resource Management - Student, School of Management, University of Southampton, UK

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Do you believe in Karma? If so, have you truly experienced it?

The term 'Karma' is a one of the many concepts of Indian Religions, nevertheless it has been acknowledged across the world by many, not as a concept of religion, but as a general theme that teaches the power of good 'action' or 'deed'. It can be demonstrated by the phrase 'What goes around comes around'.

I was thought by my parents that if you do good, it will always return to you one day. But seeing the current scenario where people fight over each other for a place, fame, position etc and when you see children and women in some part of the world suffer for no bad they have done, its hard to believe Karma exists. I feel the whole concept of karma has faded in todays competitive world and would like to see a different take on it. It always good to know that 'Karma' exists!!

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    Jul 27 2013: Karma is one of the most misused or misinterpreted concept that exist.

    It has to do with dharma, to care for your state of being. Being into harmony inside and with family and society by practicing admiration for life and nature. This installs a wellbeing that radiate to enlighten the world. The more this state is disrupted mostly caused by the emotions of ego that are always fear based and mind directed, the more things will obstruct your life and erode all meaning to it.

    Nothing to do with miserable circumstances that we people create for each other.
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    Jul 26 2013: Good question Mohanapriya!
    I believe there is an energy connection between all people, so I believe in the concepts....what goes around comes around.....we reap what we sow.....etc. I believe that what we give out, often comes back to us in various forms.

    I do not believe in the common teaching about karma.....that suffering in this life is a sure sign that we did something bad in a previous life. In my perception, this idea reinforces the idea that suffering is necessary, that those who are suffering were "bad" in another life. I believe this idea keeps people oppressed and controlled, and is not very beneficial to growth and evolution.

    I believe the human life experience is about learning, growth and evolution as an individual, while contributing to the whole. I do not believe that there is a god with a ledger somewhere "out there" who is monitoring our behavior and giving us points and a ticket to heaven or hell. I believe that how we live the human life adventure is a choice based on what we think and feel about our "self", and how we interact with others in our global communities:>)
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        Jul 27 2013: Oh wise one Keith! I love to be right don't you??? Just kidding of course:>)

        I only share my own beliefs, and I also observe that there is very little information "out there" that is new, regarding how to live the human life experience to the fullest! This message keeps coming to us in various forms throughout history from sages, teachers, gurus, philosophers, psychologists, prophets, etc.

        I like the way it is written in your comment...
        ""the best result will come from everyone in the group doing what's best for himself … and the group".

        When we observe nature, we see that all creatures are doing their own thing, and their own thing contributes to the whole. For example, hummingbirds, bees, and bats are feeding themselves AND pollinating at the same time. When we (humans) grow our own food, we are feeding ourselves, AND nurturing the soil and air at the same time. The examples could go on and on......

        When we are aware of the interconnections, we are also aware of the energy of life moving in our world which can be labeled whatever we like. It doesn't matter so much what we call it....the important piece is applying it to our everyday life....in my humble perception.
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        Jul 27 2013: Keith,
        I think/feel it is all part of the whole. We all (male and female) have the ability to be nurturing, caring, and authoritive.....yes?

        What you're saying makes sense to me, and I suggest that perhaps you are not becoming a female in spirit, but rather accepting and embracing the female part of yourself, as I accept and embrace the male part of me.

        That being said, who determined that certain thoughts, feelings and emotions are male or female?
        I suggest that it is very old outdated programming by society? What do you think/feel?
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        Jul 27 2013: Keith,
        Our practices of thinking and feeling may be the difference between conscience and sub-conscience. I also think it may partially come from our societal programming? The roles that have been given to us...boys/men have traditionally been taught to think more and not show too much emotion. While girls/women have been taught and encouraged to express feelings more and be the emotional support of the family.

        I agree that we can constantly take in new information, which might be planted in our conscious or sub-conscious while we are sleeping. I think the mind/brain works out all kinds of things while we are sleeping. Maybe that's where the saying came from......I'll sleep on it! I believe dreams are produced when our subconscious is working some things out. I agree with everything else you have written:>)

        When I awake in the morning, I remember that today is the first day of the rest of my life:>)
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        Jul 27 2013: Fun.....I LOVE to explore, delve, build on conversations, thoughts, feelings, ideas, and perceptions......thank you....yes I feel it, and it's comin' back at ya:>)


        EDIT......OH.....it's KARMA!!!
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        Jul 27 2013: OK...that works for me because it's a beautiful day today, and I'm popping in and out of the gardens:>)
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        Jul 27 2013: Keith, it sure would have been nice if you had posted this link in my conversation on teacher appreciation......thank you for sharing it.

        EDIT......just realized you posted it a couple of days ago.....in any case, thank you so much, really nice collection of thoughts from some great thinkers, oh, and nice music too.
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        Jul 28 2013: Keith, thank you for sharing the name of the artist....I will look her up.

        I'll have to visit your site and see what you're up to.
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        Jul 29 2013: Keith,
        Sorry I didn't get back to you sooner. I didn't spend too much time wondering about what you think, because I've read many of your comments, and think/feel I had a pretty good idea:>)

        I just checked out your links.....it seems that you and I have similar collections of quotes, and I AM part of peopletown. One of my life philosophies is...if I'm not part of the solution, I'm part of the problem, so I try to be part of the solution as much as possible:>)
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        Jul 29 2013: I kinda got that Keith.....that you were asking about working on the site itself:>)

        Honestly, I would do MUCH better with actually building a town....I have more carpenter skills than technical/computer skills! Wordpress......Weebly......all foreign language to me! Give me some wood, a hammer, some nails, a drill, pliers, wrench, straight and phillips screwdrivers and I'm good!!! LOL:>)

        I am really technically challenged my friend, so I'm not sure how I could be of service with your project:>(
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        Jul 30 2013: Keith, had I lived in her country, I'd have had Colleen in any project, computer or carpentry without a second thought. I really don't care if she is conversant with web designing - she is way too wise to be restricted to a chair.

        Problem is it will be difficult for me to compensate her in terms of money, unless she herself finds ways to ensure that too :)
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          Jul 31 2013: Thank you for your kind words Pabitra. I do not share information for money, but rather for the love of sharing information:>)
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        Jul 31 2013: Thank you also Keith, for your very kind words and feedback. Ok...we'll talk:>)
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      Jul 29 2013: Disagree. (I'm back).
      Read my comment and "just-world fallacy" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Just-world_hypothesis).
      How are you? :D
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        Jul 29 2013: Hi Bernard.....welcome back.....missed you...I'm good thanks. What are you disagreeing with? Everything in the comment you are replying to? Everything in this thread? Please provide a little more information?
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          Jul 29 2013: Sorry! XD
          Specifically this : "what goes around comes around.....we reap what we sow".
          Otherwise I agree mostly (e.g : "do not believe in the common teaching about karma" "human life experience is about learning, growth and evolution as an individual, while contributing to the whole"). On a side note how does the latter concept relate to Karma?
          Sorry should have been more specific.
          Kind regards (as always),
          Bernard.
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        Jul 31 2013: Hi Bernard:>)
        You don't believe in what goes around comes around, or we reap what we sow?
        OK

        You ask...how does this statement/concept relate to Karma?...."human life experience is about learning, growth and evolution as an individual, while contributing to the whole."

        It seems that in most beliefs about Karma, it is perceived that the human life experience is about learning, and with each life experience (if one believes in reincarnation) we have an opportunity to learn and improve our "karmic" footprint/life print.....whatever you choose to call it:>)
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          Aug 1 2013: Interesting (as always).
          No, unfortunatley I do not believe in "what goes around comes around, or we reap what we sow". Mainly due to seeing the opposite so much in my life (and being told about it in other people's life).
          Oh. I can agree with Karma if it is about learning, and from learning improving your Karma Footprint. (If that is being consistent, :P).
          Kind regards,
          Bernard.
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        Jul 31 2013: Keith,
        I suggest that after this life, "we".....a human being, as we know ourselves in this form, is no longer the same. The body is recycled back into the earth, and the energy recycles to another form. I agree...energy cannot be created or destroyed....it changes form.

        So, I do not agree that the energy "tags along". To me, that suggests that we still have the same form, and my experience with an NDE/OBE tells me differently. I experienced my "self" as energy, and I believe that after the body dies, we return to the universal energy "grid", for lack of a better term:>)

        No thanks, I don't need to debate the chick/egg question:>)
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        Aug 1 2013: It's ok Bernard, our world would not seem as interesting if we all believed the same things...in my humble perception:>)
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    Jul 26 2013: So far my knowledge goes , the history of human civilization has never been peaceful and this era is not a stand out as being chaotic with lots of struggle and fight around .
    The KARMA is faith or belief system within ancient religion of Indian sub continent , so looking for it's proof is not needed. What I feel this faith was preached so that people focuses more on good deeds than silly fights. Unfortunately that preaching was never of any value to the power mongers .
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    Jul 29 2013: I don't think 'Karma' (do I always have to capitalize the 'k'?) is a force of nature like gravity, but I do agree that it is a good general theme and that theme exerts a force in its own way. I'm more comfortable living with the notion that I will reap what I sow though I know that is not always the case and I'm learning to be at peace with that as well. My preference is for the karmic. It feels more optimistic, from the perspective of my own daily life, when I try to do good although I don't always succeed.

    I don't know that karma has faded in todays competitive world, because I look around and see a growing sense of entitlement, where people seem to think that business is fair and involves no risk and that if they put in X amount of time and energy they are going to get Y back, which in that context of thinking sounds very karma-esque.

    I feel it is unfortunate that it is referred to as a form of 'cosmic revenge' like 'they got what they had coming,' because it would be better in the mind of the person thinking this to worry about their own karma instead. It does a person no good to find satisfaction in believing another is being punished or will be punished, especially not when they could be seeking to have compassion for the other person, providing forgiveness even at a distance.

    And you're right, it IS always good to know that karma exists. It made me feel a little better when I realized there are principles similar to karma in many other religions, not just Indian religions. There are similar principles everywhere I look. Maybe it is a universal law, afterall.
  • Jul 26 2013: I do not believe in Karma. When I volunteer, I do it because I like doing it, period.
    • Jul 29 2013: It has nothing to do with that. You taking the time out of your life and having the genuine thought of volunteering will come back to you one way or another, whether you take time to acknowledge it or not. Something really good will happen to you to balance the fact that you used your life energy to perform good in the universe.

      Peace.
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      Jul 29 2013: That's cool, Wayne. How good would the karma really be anyways, if you did it just for your own karma's sake and not to help out? You might as well cut out the middle man and buy yourself lunch.
      • Jul 29 2013: My second sentence covers your whole reply really. If you perform good actions because you like to perform good actions, then it is selfless and doesn't feed the ego, therefore it is a genuine action from the heart. If your actions aren't coming from a genuine feeling, then it doesn't factor within karma, it's that simple.

        Doing things while expecting something in return defeats the purpose of believing in karma. You must be aware of the ego to be aware of karma.
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    Aug 22 2013: Hi Mohana

    I truly admit that I have no idea about karma as I am not from a culture that was born with this concept. But being a human, I can speculate, because that is what human beings are good at. And if the speculation is attractive, we may have followers, and soon it will become a belief, a sort of faith, a way of doing things based on an attractive speculation or assumption. Now I don't have to be a scientist or a guru to know that my actions will result in some kind of consequences. If I walk in the street with my eyes closed, I will probably bump into someone or get run over if I live in a populated city (lucky I live in Australia, where one could die of boredom in some isolated parts of it). So, if I pay attention to what I am doing, if I am at one with the act, the intent, the process, then I am mindful and will be sure to act correctly. If not, I will probably falter, make mistakes, blame somebody for it etc. The thing is, if I act correctly for the sake of it, there is no problem. If I expect something in return, then I may get disappointed and question the correctness of my deeds, the motives etc. What I do I do not because I seek a result, a benefit, but because it is the correct, right thing to do. And that takes an authentic mind to be able to engage in a correct way of living, not a mind that wants some profit or some form of deception. This is my speculative point.
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    Jul 30 2013: I can't say I believe Karma exist in the sense Hindu religions explain it. (As it would imply reincarnation and some divine calculator to keep track of all our do's and don'ts). I wouldn't use Karma except in a metaphorical way.

    That good tends to bring good, on the other hand, has quite some scientific basis (especially sociological, biological and psychological). Cooperative and positive sum games describe the net profit of being good.

    Doing good also feels good: http://www.ted.com/talks/nic_marks_the_happy_planet_index.html (end of the talk)

    Of course, there is also exploitation of people who do good (free-riding), making you feel the 'succer' sometimes.

    I don't believe it always comes back, or that you get a fair share of good. There is also luck and randomness and even the kindest person can get into misery, or the most selfish person can get all the luck and profit and happiness...
    Life is not 'fair' in that sense.

    But do good! you'll increase your chances of feeling good and getting rewarded.
  • Jul 30 2013: Pabitra:
    All of this exists simply by thinking!
    Humans live in or at a quantum level.
    Our lifetimes are less than a light second, or a second. At the quantum level, they cancel each other out.
    Our size is so small that it is quark-like, even string-like. Close to non-existent, too small to be seen or be
    a scene.
    It is all thought and all action is only imagined.
    We exist and then we don't. Quanta that vibrate from matter to anti-matter 3 trillion times a second.

    And no, Karma is not real.
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    Jul 30 2013: I do not believe in 'Karma' that can determine the state of a person in another life, just because I do not believe in reincarnation. But 'karma' is sanskrit also means action and I believe in its power. Nothing is achieved or changed or created just by thinking, so its karma (or collective karma) that determines a person's, society's or nation's position in time.

    "Udyamena hi siddhanti karyani, na manorathei
    Na hi suptasya singhasya prabeshanti mukhey mrigah"
    [It's only the effort/action that gets works accomplished. A deer does not end up as dinner to a sleeping lion.]

    The Karmic significance, philosophically speaking, is the spiritual position of separating it from a result. While this is a bit difficult to appreciate, we always see it happening. Most successful people let us know that they did not do their karma with a specific goal in mind to start with but just did it because they felt it as their duty, love or passion. The result is automatic.

    And I firmly believe that Karma is not exclusive territory of the religious.
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    Jul 30 2013: Keith: I also want to thank you for expressing the female view (nurturing, caring, group view), I hope I have learned that lesson for the last time. I have been expressing the male view (authoritive, singular, selfish) for so long I actually thought it was right. I think I am slowly becoming a female in spirit. Does that make any sense?

    No, that does not make any sense because this is a gender stereotype. I'm not offended at all, just pointing out what it is (your very own view). Don't bite my leg, bite your own leg :) Speaking of Karma I'm, and others like myself (caring faters), are bit jaded of paying the price of this very generalization you stated above.
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    Jul 29 2013: Basically, in the way you chose to define it : No. There are other variables : Where you are born, When you are born, What culture you are born into which will impact how you are treated by other people, and by "nature". (For example if born next to Volcano. You can be Good. Yet Die.) This isn't even taking into account heritability (and genes which affect your personality), which Karma does not take into account. So unless Reincarnation works, then Karma does not work.Or in other words. Karma works upon the principle of "Meritocracy". So all the flaws which apply to "Meritocracy" also apply to Karma (just in terms of how you treat others).
    Another argument is just read about the "just-world fallacy" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Just-world_hypothesis).
  • Jul 29 2013: Karma is not a belief. It is a fact, a naturally occurring metaphysical law. It is the balance of life and the universe. Your perception of karma might be subtle, but it is very obvious once you catch on to it. Whatever actions you put into the universe, whether good or bad returns to you before you know it because you took some of your life energy to perform that action, and that energy must be restored.

    If you give somebody money today, it doesn't mean you'll get money back, it could come back in the form of a random phone call from a friend when you're down. The timing of that random phone call will be so perfect and random. It's so obvious in our lives that we choose to ignore it, and attribute everything to chance/luck. The moment you become more aware of how karma is present in your life, is the moment you wake up from the false reality that most of the world lives in.

    A hurtful word towards someone might come back as you bumping your knee on something. Your life changes when you fit karma into your belief system.

    Food for thought.
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      Jul 29 2013: "Well, that's just, like, your opinion, man." --the Dude, from 'The Big Lebowski'

      I appreciate the food for thought, Jean, but your opening paragraph felt a little like it was being shoved down my throat. In a conversation on karma of all places, I don't want to generate negative energies, but I feel that karma is a belief, a good 'general theme' as Mohanapriya put it. I'm not saying it's a fact that karma is a belief, that's just my feeling. So maybe we can agree you believe that karma is a fact. Even that you feel it's a fact that it's a fact. But to outright say, "It's a fact!" suddenly says, "You have to believe in it or your wrong." And I don't think its helpful to say everyone who disagrees is wrong.

      I also don't think it's helpful to say "Your perception..." and then use "you, you, you" throughout the comment cause I get this sour vibe, like you're telling me what my own perspectives are and what my actions and reactions are or are going to be, when you don't know me, man. I might become more aware of how karma is present in my life and study it closer and decide something the complete opposite of what you assumed I would conclude about it.

      I sense that your belief system is working for you now that you've fit karma into it and I like that, that's good. I think it would be interesting to hear more from you about this metaphysical side to it. That's totally different than religion or non-religion. I feel karma has some similarities between the balance of life and the universe, but I haven't come to see it as a naturally occurring metaphysical law, at least not yet. Although a law that occurs naturally, i.e. from nature, but is also meta-physical, i.e. from beyond the physical is a little hard for me to get my head around.
      • Jul 29 2013: Karma is not just a belief*

        I was making a statement, and expressing my point of view on the matter. I have a strong personality so my words usually ring like iron even when I write. You're free to believe what you want to believe my friend, your mind is yours.

        Concerning your second paragraph, it was a hypothetical situation, obviously I don't know you. I don't know why you're getting defensive, I'm not saying that that's what you would do, I'm hypothesizing. See how my hypothesis can fit within your life, and you yourself can figure out if karma is real or not.

        Nothing exists really until it becomes part of your reality.
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          Jul 29 2013: I was trying to be mellow. My words must have a little too much iron in them, too. I like the last line: "Nothing exists really until it becomes part of your reality." It's kind of like how the cat is both alive and dead until you open the box.
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    Jul 29 2013: I'm not a religious studies student at all, so I just know the popular usage of 'karma.' I do think that if you do good things, good things happen and conversely for bad things. All the people you effect will treat you differently because of the things you do, and then 'karma' eventually comes when you need someone's help.
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    Jul 26 2013: t there are many non competeing people out there quitely living life with friends...they are not flashy,or slick so they wont catch your eye like advertising...but they give great hugs and are able to except a large range of personal expression...if you wish to be able to see them..you must step down mentally from some cruel judgemnets...As for the competitors ..and karma..since I can personally see no evidence of it(sorry) I am unsure as to how it effects them...so its not about them,but me..but this is were it gets interesting..because I am as genuine as able..I effect them,in subtle ways...I do not confirm their fears..but illustrate other ways of spending ones time...I have a lot to give away in this respect and if ones chooses, I am prepared to explain my position for others to do the same
  • Jul 26 2013: I believe karma is just another name for cause and effect, but applied to human interactions. If a person gets caught commiting a crime, do you call it karma or efficient crime fighting?
    I think karma only exists for the superstitious and those with feelings of guilt. If someone does something wrong and feels guilty, who then experiences bad luck, they will assume it to be karma if they believe in it.
    Karma works in the same way voodoo does.
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      Jul 29 2013: HA! I'm going to take out my 'craig lastname' doll and stab it with this pencil until you admit you believe in karma! JK.

      I think part of the reason people find karma so confusing it that they think it is just another name for something else. I think it's not. It's more easily understood, simply as concept, whether you believe in or not, by recognizing that it is similar to cause and effect and often takes the form of cause and effect, but it is not cause and effect.

      If it were just another name for it and a rose by any other name smells just as sweet, you couldn't say it only exists for the superstitious, etc. because you aren't superstitious yet I'm sure you believe in cause and effect, which you said yourself is just another name for karma.

      I think it oversimplifies it to say it and cause and effect are the same thing. I suspect, it's just a theory, that most of the people who believe in karma are people who cannot tell it apart from cause and effect. Their minds can't keep them separate.
      • Jul 29 2013: Although i did say karma is another name for cause and effect, i didn't mean it the way you interprited it. I should have said that cause and effect is the real occurance, to which some people mistake for karma, which does not exist (in my opinion).
        Karma has too many religious connotations that seperate it from cause and effect.
      • Jul 30 2013: BTW, your craig lastname doll won't work as it will be countered by the shooting star i saw, as well as the bird that shat on me, both good luck omans that occured to me the day after you post.
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          Jul 30 2013: I don't know where you're from, but a bird sh**ting on you is not a good omen.
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          Jul 31 2013: Craig,
          Sorry about the mess the bird made....happy for you if it is a good omen!!! LOL:>)

          I am in the north/east USA, and I've heard it too.....that a bird "sh**ting" on our head is a good omen. Never could accept it as such!
      • Jul 31 2013: I'm from Australia and I've grown up hearing that the bird thing is good luck. But your right, it won't bring luck, neither the shooting star.

        I read a story about physicist Niels Bohr, in which a fellow scientist visited Bohrs office and was suprised to see a horseshoe hanging above the door. The scientist asked
        "Surely you don't believe that a horseshoe will bring you good luck, do you?
        Bohr replied
        "I believe no such thing my friend. Not at all. I am scarcely likely to believe in such foolish nonsense. However, I am told that a horseshoe will bring good luck whether you believe it or not.
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      Jul 26 2013: Hello Deepak,

      You have related karma to birth and conscious mind really well. I agree to the good and bad thoughts, but on birth, I still don't get it, one would rather live this present life (the way you want, no karma rules) than worry about the next or previous, isn't it?
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        Jul 26 2013: Good point Mohanapriya,
        It makes no sense to me, to be worrying about the past or the future, because when we are focused on past or future, we miss the present moment. We are HERE NOW, in this present life form, and I think/feel the best we can do for ourselves and/or everyone, is live it to the best of our ability with awareness.
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        Jul 27 2013: Deepak,
        In a previous comment you write...
        "Everyone want to live his present life in the best possible way but at times there is a horrible past or at times the worry for future is there".

        In your comment directly above, you write...
        "Knowing about karma does not mean that we worry about future or the past".

        You seem to contradict yourself.

        Deepak, I am aware of the meaning of karma, I understand, I live in the present moment without worry of the past or future.....that is my choice of how I want to live the human life adventure.

        I realize that you work with a certain organization and practice a religious/spiritual belief which you are trying to promote here on TED. I am not interested. Perhaps, you might look again at the TED terms of use agreement.


        "
    • Jul 27 2013: Hi Dear Deepak,I don't believe in Karma,although I had been educated by Karma deeply from background education around me.For love,I think love is the most treasure in our bodies.Love needs us to be conscious to be aware,needs to nurture in our whole life...Love appears because you two all have love inside,when love disapears,it means one of you or both of you no that love inside anymore...
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    Jul 26 2013: . .

    Yes!
    "Karma" is over-simplified symbiosis.
    Symbiosis is our instinct.
    Instinct is our ancestors’ successful experiences in DNA.
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    Jul 25 2013: I enjoy the idea of karma and live my life as if it is true...as for evidence of it..ipersonally have little ..however in the realms of other unusual events ,,,i do have experience and am willing to include things unseen in my moral compass..because my focus is based in controlling only myself and really investigating this illusion of life...I havent alot of time or need or time for doing evil deeds,or getting lots of money,or competeing or harming...not interested,dosent feel good to me..so Id rather spen my time attempting to do the impossible and peer behind the veil...in tiny increments
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      Jul 26 2013: Very rare to meet someone like this, I should say. Everywhere you go its only about people climbing over each other to get to the top or make quick money. And the thing is many do succeed and do very well... is that because they dont believe in karma, so they can live it the way they want?