Mrs. Guruge: My question is about karma. How does it fit in with advaita Vedantism? They don't believe in karma.

Sri Chinmoy: Is there anybody who does not believe in the law of karma? Everyone knows the saying, "As you sow, so you reap." Then again, there may be divine intervention. If God's Grace, God's Compassion and God's Forgiveness descend, then the law of karma can be negated. God can nullify karma. If a naughty boy most ruthlessly strikes a neighbour boy, the victim's father comes to punish the culprit. But then the naughty boy's father intervenes. Because he has such affection for his child, he will not allow the other father to strike the child. He says, "Yes, my son has done this. I know it is wrong, and he will not do it anymore. But I will not allow you to beat my son." Because the culprit's father is very strong, the father of the victim surrenders.

In exactly the same way, God can protect us. Many, many things we do wrong, but sometimes our Beloved Father Supreme breaks His own Cosmic Law and saves us. At these times, our Father wants to play the role of God the Forgiveness, either because we have done something good for Him or because He feels there is hope that we will eventually become good children of His. He says, "Now they have done something wrong, something horrible, but in the future they will not do this kind of thing." Or He may say, "Over the years many, many times they have prayed for My Victory or done various things to make Me happy. So let Me show My Forgiveness." But again, if He sees that there is really no hope, that we are really bad people and shall continue to do the wrong thing, then He will say, "No, you have to abide by the Cosmic Law. You have done something wrong, so you have to pay the penalty."

At times, not only does the Supreme show His infinite Compassion and Forgiveness, but spiritual Masters who represent Him also do the same. It is true that the Supreme is the ocean and the spiritual Master is just a tiny drop. But the tiny drop totally identifies with the infinite ocean and knows its oneness with the ocean. And this tiny drop has been ordained by the ocean itself to be of help to those who are unfortunately not yet even drops.

So the law of karma is a most complicated thing, and there are no hard and fast rules. According to the strict law of karma, if we do something wrong, we will be punished. Again, if we do something very good, the law of karma says we will be rewarded. Unfortunately, we expect the results in the twinkling of an eye. But we have forgotten all the bad things that we have done in addition to that one good thing. Before doing one very good thing, before making what we consider a supreme sacrifice, perhaps we have done many wrong things. That is why we are not getting the results of our divine action. God is using our one good deed to nullify all the terrible things, worse than the worst, that we have done over the years. We say, "God has no eyes, God has no ears." But actually God is showing us boundless Compassion by putting our one little good deed on the same footing as all our bad deeds. In this way He is saving us from so much karmic suffering.

So if we are in the spiritual life, we can never say how God is going to respond to our actions. In the ordinary human life, the law of cause and effect usually applies. But in the spiritual life, quite often we see the intervention of divine Grace. That is because in the spiritual life we are all the time praying to God. Even if we are only asking God for a nice breakfast, at least we are saying "God" and "Supreme." So God says, "At least he has used My Name." But the person who is not in the spiritual life does not ask God for anything.