In age of Kali too there are people who are very much devoted to their guru and god, feeding the poor and the cattle, living lives in an orthodox manner. But I find these people suffer the most and the worst conditions in life. It can be due to their karma but when a normal man sees these good people suffer the most, he starts to believe that there is no use for dharma, god or guru for life. Why should God make such good people suffer without considering that these suffering would mislead the normal people seeing these devoted people suffer?

Let us assume that a person is packing up his luggage to go on a long travel and is scheduled to leave that day. After taking his regular meals, he realizes that there is a little more food left. He would then decide to eat up the remaining food also, because he would not be home the next day to consume the same.

In just the same way, those people for whom the current birth is the last would have to undergo their remaining Karma some way or the other. Hence good people wipe out their Karmas through such sufferings.

Why does Bhagavan Krishna give sufferings to even those who love him?

The hell is full of sorrows and the heaven is full of joy. But for anyone and everyone on earth, it is a mixture of both joy and sorrow.

To forget this mixed results of joy and sorrows, we should be totally immersed in Bhagavan Krishna's eternal bliss.

It is only in order to get his most loved ones into that state, Krishna, an ocean of compassion, gives sufferings.

Why does God create this world? Why does he make us suffer? Why can't he forget all our sins and give us all Moksha instantly and wind up His Show? Is it His Lila to make us suffer?

When one participates in a motor race or wants to become a solider, he very well understands the risk involved in the job. Doesn’t he?

So, even after you witness so much of suffering in the world, you wish to continue the same lifestyle. That just implies that you are ready for the battle!

Joy or sorrow does not arise from any object or event as you imagine. It is in your mind. So, the key is to keep your mind aloof and unaffected from the happenings of the world. Yes. That is the solution. God is so compassionate that He has also shown the techniques, ways and means to achieve this state of aloofness. That shows His grace. What more? He shows no discrimination in showering His grace, based on caste, creed, religion, gender, wealth or power.

One can attribute the law of Karma for the grown up adults inflicted by deadly diseases like cancer, But how one can explain innocent children getting this deadly disease?

Everything in this world happens according to the Karma. Children get afflicted with deadly diseases like cancer because of their Karmas in their previous births.

Every single step done by us is written by God. Then why, by doing good or bad deeds, do we go to heaven or hell, while we never perform any step without God’s permission?

Even that is written by God.

Do thoughts that do not translate into actions count towards karma? That is, does a bad thought count towards a negative karma? Also, do good thoughts and intentions that do not necessarily translate into actions count towards good karma?

In this Yuga, there are no punishments for bad thoughts. However, a continuous stream of bad thoughts will make a strong impression in you (vasana), which will harm you at a later point in time, if not immediately. How ever good thoughts will always result in good results.

Is karma applicable to animals too? Is there any difference on karma effects on man and women separately?

Karma is the same for men and women. As for animals, the animal birth occurs only to experience the effects of the karma carried over from the previous birth. During the lifetime of the animal, the karma is not accumulated.

Why are human beings punished for the acts of their previous births, when everything is pre-destined? What is the role of God here?

The destiny simply decided based on the acts of the previous births. God is like a judge that administers justice in a court.

It is stated that a true Mahatma will not punish the person who caused him harm. If that is the case, then who will punish him and make him realize his mistake?

Mahatmas never punish. But the power that is responsible for the functioning of the entire cosmos will punish.

Sometimes, when we see people suffering from problems, we attribute it to being the effects of the sins of the previous birth. What would have happened in the very first birth, when there wouldn’t have been any ‘previous’ birth and hence no merits or sins associated?

Yes. In the very first birth, everybody was given all the amenities alike and good health and happiness alike too. Then, it is because of each individual’s greed that they started committing sins.

If everything happens according to the Will of the Lord, then why does the individual get affected by his actions whether good or bad?

You are right. Everything is controlled by the Lord and no atom can move against His divine will. When that is the case, when something good is accomplished by you, why do you take credit for it? That is because of the sense of ‘I’ or ego which comes into play. As long as that feeling exists, it is impossible to believe, in the true sense, that you are not responsible for anything – good or bad.

As per Hinduism, we take birth in this world due to our Karma (Deeds or misdeeds in our previous generation) So many deaths occur due to natural calamities where thousands of human lives are taken away. Man made calamities on account of bomb blasts also take away precious human lives. What is the sin or the Karma these human beings have committed whose lives have been plucked by the Almighty in few seconds of such calamities?

It is true that we take birth according to the karmas of the past births. Regarding the lives lost, it is not possible to find out the karma of each and every person and account for the same. But one thing can be said for certain. God is perfect. An imperfection cannot come from the perfect.

If a man knows that he being under a suffering or joy for this specific Karma he has done in the past, he would take that as a lesson and would start leading a life free from evils. Why are we (normal people) not provided with that power?

Civil, criminal and social laws dictate that certain actions are right and certain actions are wrong. For every wrong act, a punishment is ruled, and the nature and severity of the punishment differs based on the nature of the crime. Hence it is enough if the Government spreads awareness among the public about the laws. Imagine what would happen if the Government decided that all the citizens be taken to the prisons to see the punishments that are being undergone there.

The already confused man would panic and lose his morale. One’s self confidence will touch such an abyss that he will be scared to do anything at all, based on his visual experience!

So, cognizance of something is entirely different from experiencing or visually witnessing it.

God gave us the Shastras through the Mahatmas that help us decide what is right and what is wrong, just like the laws of the land in our example. It is for us to believe in them and follow them.

In the world, every moment, we witness that there is suffering on one hand and joy on the other. What more lesson do we need on the Karma Theory?

We know that after death we take new birth according to our karmas. I would like to you know which act of karma determines the gender - male or female?

The attitude is what determines the gender.

What does our destiny depend on?

Our destiny depends on our own deeds.

If someone is continuously sad, does that have anything to do with his previous birth?

Sadness is only a state of mind.

Swamiji, Please explain why karma is carried from one birth to another? Why if someone does a wrong thing he is not been punished immediately. For any suffering all say it is due to past karma. Is it correct?

If God punishes immediately, you would say why can’t he give him time and chance to correct what he has done! It is due to infinite patience and compassion of the Lord that he gives us chance after chance to attain his feet. So if you turn to Him and chant Maha mantra now, Nama does all the purification instead of 'purification by punishment'

I believe karma and everything that relate to it such us reincarnation. As far as I know most people prefer to die in peaceful way. I have a question about people who die in accident like car crash, plane crash or any horrible tragedy. Does this happen because of what they did in the past like they are prisoner of the past so they deserve to die like that or is it God’s will?

It is God who designed and who is implementing the Karma Theory. Whatever happens in the world happens only according to karma, be they good or bad. God does not usually interfere in this system of working. Very rarely, He interferes in the case of extremely faithful devotees, and to prove that He is above all the Karmas and is not bound by them. Even if a person dies by way of an accident or a tragedy, it is because of their Karma only.

As per Karma theory the purpose of our Birth as human being is to expose our past Deeds or Misdeeds. Pains and sufferings of this worldly life is directly linked to our previous generation. Why was God so cruel and unkind even to great souls like Ramana Maharishi, Yogi Ram Surat Kumar, Vethathiri Maharishi, etc by inflicting them with dreaded terminal diseases despite their spiritual contributions towards humanity? Does the present Deeds cannot cleanse your past Misdeeds?

The case of mahatmas are totally different from the lot of normal people. In the words of Bhagavan Yogiramsuratkumar Maharaj, ‘Such afflictions are for bringing in a cosmic balance’. A Jnani does not identify himself with the body. In the words of Sri Ramana Maharshi the body is seen as a burden. God considers these Jnanis as his very Self. In any case God is never cruel to anyone as he is love embodied. Considering all these, it is clear that if at all any affliction is taken by Jnanis it is actually for the benefit of the entire existence.

It is said that the past karmas get burnt by chanting the Lord's Name. Whatever happens in this birth is because of past karmas and is called 'prarabdha'. Does prarabdha change by regular chanting or merely prepares the ground for the prarabdha of next birth?

Everything in this world happens according to Prarabhda only. If one does not chant the divine Name of the Lord, the Lord will not interfere with his life. If he does chant the Name of God continuously, the Lord makes his life favorable to him.

For instance, if a person possesses qualities like wealth, power, beauty etc. by virtue of his prarabdha, then, by chanting the Nama, the Lord ensures that he does not get a ‘head-weight’. If a person is already poor and leads a life in penury owning to his prarabdha, by chanting the Nama, the Lord keeps him away from bad thoughts and deeds like stealing, gambling, alcohol, suicide and so on.

If one’s Bhakti is intense, the grace of the Lord has the power to change one’s Prarabdha too. That, however, calls for strong devotion.

Why is that nobody ask for sufferings?

That is because it is sufferings!

What is Prarabdha Karma? How does it interfere in one’s life?

Everything in one’s life happens because of Prarabdha Karma and nothing else. So it is not a question of interference in one’s life, it is that which drives one’s life.

Why do God fearing people seem to suffer more than others?

A doctor administers anesthesia only to a patient who needs to undergo an operation. Likewise the Lord blesses with Bhakti, those people who need to work out their severe Karmas so that the effects of their severe karma do not affect them much.

Why do we get sufferings in life? Why can’t God create a world that has no sufferings, or better not perform Creation at all, at the first place?

Let us assume that someone comes to me and I tell him that I am his saviour and that it is me who has been protecting him so long. He immediately would ask me for explanation. I go to say that as per his karma, he should have died at this point of time or some accident should have befallen, but I have nullified his bad karma and protected him.

Even if this were true, the person would laugh at me and call me a bluff. But, if he encounters a dangerous situation and comes out of it without any problems, it is then that he would realize the truth.

It is easy to question after an event has happened, but our mind does not realize the invisible protection that keeps away harm. That is quite the nature of the mind.

So, if there is no suffering, we don’t realize the protection. That is why we get sufferings.

What is the difference between God and Karma?

Karma is the ‘Jada’ (lifeless) and the bondage. God is the pure Consciousness and Supreme Self and is free from all bondages.

It is said that human birth is rare and that it comes by only after millions of years of performing merits. But we see some humans in a pathetic state, not only very poor but, some a few of them treated worse than animals. If they had accrued merits in their previous births to be born as a human, why are they in this state? Some animals, like dogs live a posh life in a rich man's home! Why is it so?

By performing a particular good deed, there is a particular merit that one accrues. Some good deeds fetch a good wife, some other fetches riches, beauty, fame, long life, health and so on. This is true for sins too. A particular sin committed results in poverty, yet another results in childlessness, mental imbalance, cowardice, disrepute and so on.

So if one does the good deeds that fetch him human birth, he is born as a human. He might not have done enough ‘punya’ to enjoy a posh and comfortable life.

Why does God make us suffer even though we are good? The general response I get is that it is because of the Karma done in previous births. It makes us feel that God is cruel. Mahans call him a sea of compassion, and like our mother, full of mercy. Then why does He not forgive our mistakes? Can't He make us realize our mistakes with love and affection? Even if one has to be punished, should the punishment not be then and there, so that one understands the mistakes and corrects them?

When one participates in a motor race or wants to become a solider, he very well understands the risk involved in the job.

Renouncing everything in life and becoming a monk is very easy. But those who take to family life are really courageous and are ready to face the challenges in life. In that sense, they are great. Once we have opted to take this path, we should face it without whining about it.

The real reason for sorrows in life is not the problems one encounters; it is rather the ego. One prefers to keep the ego rather than trying to overcome the problem. Now the root cause is obvious, isn't it?

There are always different viewpoints to any idea. Had the Lord started punishing us then and there, you would then ask, why not the Lord wait for us to regret for our mistakes and correct them!

Prarabdha Karma is that part of karma one is trying exhaust in ones lifetime. Prarabdha Karma is something that can't be changed. Is it true that even Brahman (the ultimate truth) can not change one's prarabdha karma?

The Lord never removes one’s Karma even though He has the power to do it. This is because the human mind is so doubt-ridden that if God removes one’s bad Karma, he may be worried that God might remove his good deeds too!

All our activities - punya (merits) or sins, are according God's will. If that is the case, then why do we take births on account of our merits and sins?

Although you are performing good deeds or sins according to 'prarabda' or God's will, the moment you attach ownership and feel that you are responsible for the good or the bad, you get entangled in the vicious 'Karma' cycle.

If you attain a state where you don't feel proud for the good you do and don't feel guilty for the bad, then you are relieved from the cycle of births and deaths. However this is more easily said than done.

Jivan Muktas live in this world even after they have attained liberation because these factors do not affect them.

Great Saints and Mahans say that once we dip in the Ganges, all the sins done in our numerous births will be destroyed. So many people have taken a dip with good faith, including me. When all the sins are destroyed, there should not be any suffering.Am I right?

Sins can be classified into three – ones that we did in our previous Janmas, those that we do in this Janma and those that we are going to do in future. The moment you took this birth, the sins of your previous birth start yielding fruit and there is no escape from them. Hence you have no go but to experience its effects. However, by taking a dip in the Ganges, the sins of your current birth are wiped off.

It is for you to abstain from sinning in future, to avoid future sufferings.

It is said that we are all instruments in Lord's hands. When everything is decided/done by Him, why do we have so many bad things happening? Is it not done by Him? Then why are we suffering for things done by Him as though they are done by us?

Because of your ‘I’.