Have you ever thought about this?

The Universal Post
9 min readJan 30, 2024
Photo by John Bakator on Unsplash

Or not? I bet you have but were you flippant about it? Irrespective of your situation this is what I am talking about.

Have you ever wondered why you were not born in a different country, in a different culture, in a different family, in a different race, in a different religion or in a different age? Why are you not in the same situation as your neighbor next door? Or even better still why are you not someone of the opposite sex or even someone who is queer? Why aren’t you as clever, motivated, lucky, rich, poor, amazing, idiotic, powerful, positive, negative or anything else for that matter as compared to someone else. Why is it that someone is born in the family of a rich businessman, celebrity, king or queen and another is born in poverty. Why do some of us have a peaceful, picture-perfect life while many others go through a lot of trouble.

At this moment, someone is extremely happy, while another is crying their hearts out. At this moment while some are enjoying a great holiday, many are working their “ass off”. At this moment, millions are born and millions are dying. Why aren’t they taking each other’s spot? I can go on and on but you get the gist. What makes us who we are and why is it so? What makes us land in a particular situation? Why do some things happen to us and not others at the same time? Ok, maybe it does happen to others, but we aren’t aware of it or in fact non-serious about it.

When someone is born in a rich family, we call them lucky? If someone becomes a great leader after spending their childhood in penury, we say they have great leadership skills and similarly, for other successful people we give them badges like innovative, creative, motivated, brilliant, genius, intellectual and so on and so forth. Question is why one person in a particular situation with a particular background, intellect and skillset is able to harvest popularity, fame, riches, respect, happiness, glamour, beauty and so many other great things while another is at the opposite end of the spectrum. Why are we not all happy for ever and ever? It is strange. Isn’t it?

So, what is/are the reason(s)?

One can say, we all look different because of genetics, weather, diet and other associated factors. Yes, that is true but what causes one baby to be born in Africa and the other in the Arctic? No scientific answers there? Eh! Hmm!

Another one, Person X is the CEO of a giant rich bank. Why? Answer usually is: X is a great leader or X had great education from top rated institutions or X is a people’s person who knows his way around the market or X is lucky and he was destined? But why is X destined? Why could he go to top rated institutions and why did so many things fall in place for him or her? Why did others like him or her couldn’t replicate his or her success. Why?

The 5 Whys test

I bet for every why, for which we have an answer to each of these comparisons, situations and examples, even the 5 Whys test will fail. The 5 whys test is used to get to the root cause of a problem? Usually for a problem, if you keep on asking why, why and why; each of the whys gets you closer to the root cause of the problem. That way, once you know the root cause, you can put in place steps to ensure the problem doesn’t recur. So, lets run the 5 Whys on an oft mentioned scenario.

Situation: J was born as a prince, heir to the throne of a rich kingdom.

1st Why: Why was J born to the king and queen?

Answer: Because 9 months ago, the king and queen were in a physical union at 5:49 am.

2nd Why: There were many such physical unions in the same kingdom and in fact the whole world at that same time; why wasn’t J born to any of those parents?

Answer: J was lucky and destined to be born as a prince, so he did.

3rd Why: So, why was J the lucky one and not the others in the same way.

Answer: It is just the way the world works.

We can go on and on with more whys, but you will find that none of the answers will satisfy you as they wouldn’t be based on known facts. So, what is really going on? Why is J so lucky? Actually, he may not be. What if J suffers from a deadly disease later on in life. Would you want to be J, even with those riches? What if J is fine but his kingdom goes through a tough time, and he becomes the last prince or king in his dynasty? How would he be remembered in history? Would you wish to be in his place? Probably not.

So, what is the secret to such situations.

Theory of Karma

Long before, Sir Issac Newton came up with his 3rd law of motion (for every action (force) in nature there is an equal and opposite reaction), there existed the theory of karma. Newton’s law is to explain physical and visible situations but the theory of karma is a universal law which covers all situations (visible, invisible, imaginable and beyond). What Newton stated was not new but its was “discovered” by him for the western world to be taught in modern day institutions under the subject tag of Physics. What is clearly not stated in modern day classrooms is that the Newton’s 3rd law is applicable under all situations. And, why is it not done so? Maybe to avoid distraction for students as the classroom is treated to be a shop for creating job-ready individuals and not veer into philosophical discussions. Also, it’s possible that the teachers and curriculum creators are ignorant or better still it is done knowingly. Gist is don’t talk about things which can dilute the physical laws of motion and lead to other conversations which cannot be repeated in a laboratory.

Now, back to the theory of Karma.

Karma is anything that defines the deeds and outcomes for an individual. Plainly speaking whatever a being does is an “action” and the outcome is the “reaction”. So, even a thought is a karma. So, for example if you have a desire to eat a piece of cake, then depending on the strength of that desire you may order a cake and then eat it too. Here the karma was the “intense desire to eat a cake” while the reaction was “ordering the cake and then eating it upon delivery”.

Let’s make it more complex.

Let’s say you have an intense desire to eat a cake but cannot afford it or the shops are closed, or you are diabetic (and advised to stay away from sweets). In each of these situations and there can be a mix of them, the karma theory is hard tested. If you are a diabetic, do you have self-control? Whether you are or not, depends on some other karmas and that could influence your willingness to adhere to medical advice. Similarly, do you have patience to wait for the shops to open? Patience as a trait comes from a different set of karmas. Similarly, if you can’t afford it, your financial situation could be from a different set of karmas. Maybe you have already spent all your money, or you don’t earn enough. Now, why don’t you earn enough or why are you a spendthrift. You can apply the 5 whys here and eventually get to a point where you will have no further reasons to argue. Crux is that even a simple situation is the result of a collection of karmas. Also, the karmas of a number of people are intertwined. In the cake example, the person(s) who created the ordering system, the delivery person(s), the creator of the machines used in the process and so on and so forth, all of their karmas are involved. In whatever situation, the “WHY Me” still remains unanswered and can only be answered when the theory of karma is applied.

Unlike the cake situation, some situations can be very complex. Like this one: a person was born in a poor family and remained poor throughout his life and died penniless. He made several attempts to get out of the cycle of poverty but was unsuccessful. Forget about comforts and luxuries, he had no access to basic necessities. He was the epitome of failure. Reverse this situation to consider a successful king (or prince like J) or a business tycoon. Even more complex is the case of a country bumpkin who becomes a multi-millionaire overnight when he wins a large sum in a lottery. In all such cases, there seems to be no karma but only fantastic results or there is karma with no visible effect. How can this be? Does this mean genuine, pure, good intentioned karma will not fetch results. That can’t be true? Surely, there is something more to the theory of karma.

Karma and Rebirth

Yes, there is. And that is: lo and behold, the connection between the theory of karma and rebirth i.e. karma works across lives…I mean it lives beyond the current life. Imagine this: most karmas which are short term in nature can fructify in the same life, sometimes in the next few seconds, minutes or hours. Many bear outcomes in days, months, years and decades and some carry forward to the next life or the next. But the karma will bear fruit or have a reaction and it will be equal and opposite to the karma or action. The outcome will depend on the strength of the karma and its quality. So, wishes made in this life will come true in the next life or the next depending on the purity of the wish and the wish seeker. Nothing goes unrewarded or unpunished. That is the way karma works.

But hang on, when we die, we don’t stay the same. The body goes and our whole identity, character and memory is gone. So, we stop existing. Or do we? What is the secret here?

The law of conservation of energy

Well, the body goes but the energy associated with the body transforms. While the theory of karma and rebirth don’t explicitly talk about the “law of conservation of energy” but rebirth can only be justified from the lens of the “law of conservation of energy” which states that “energy can neither be created nor be destroyed but it can be transformed from one form to another. So, when a person dies, the energy leaves their body (as the body can no longer help the energy to harvest and maintain creation) and transforms. The memories, thoughts, wishes and karmas of that person must be assimilating into the departing energy bundle and look for another suitable form of life in which they can continue to seek. It is complex and there is no proof for any of this but this is the best explanation. If someone has a better one, it can be debated.

Based on the theory of karma (Newton’s 3rd law of motion) and rebirth (law of conservation of energy), we can safely conclude that J was born as a prince because of karmas from his past life (or lives).


So, does that mean, we can all wait for our good karmas from past lives to fructify and do nothing. Why can’t we just sit around and do no karma. Bad luck! No one in this world can live without doing karma. Sitting around is the hardest thing and even if someone can do it, they will be invaded by thoughts, disturbed by others or challenged by their own intellect and in the worst case become lazy. Each of these is a karma and will have repercussions.

Thus, the only karma that you can do is good karma and it starts with a good pure thought. I know it is easy to say and write but hard to do. But a habit can be formed. This good karma done every minute will bear good results. And yes, it may take a while and you may not get it in this life but the next or the one after. But hang on, I can’t wait till the next life or the next. Well, in that case you have to bow down and accept the wish of the universe. Your time may not have come but it will come (Apna time aayega…your time will come). Until then as Krishna says in the Bhagwat Gita, focus on your karma, make it as pure as possible, do not overanalyze and accept the outcomes. If the outcomes are good, be humble. Let others take pride in your work but don’t be proud and/or arrogant. Don’t attribute success to yourself. Remember, there is more to things than visible on the surface. If the outcomes are bad, treat them as the first steps to success. Remember nothing is permanent. Even black holes are created and destroyed continuously. The only choice you have is to do karma without bearing the burden of expectations. Next time you are overjoyed or pained, just smile at karma coming back.



The Universal Post

Arunesh is the author of 2 books — The Migrant, A Biography and The Astrologer’s Curse. He works in the energy industry and loves writing and travelling.