Karma & Crisis of Shortage
“Quite apart from the laws of physics and chemistry, as laid down in quantum theory, we must consider laws of quite a different kind.”
-Niels Bohr, Nobel laureate In Physics
Put in simple words, Law of Karma is all about reaping what we sow." Life evens out. We have to pay for our misdeeds.
Law of Karma has had quite a karma. Long after India's seers immortalized it in the Vedas, it suffered bad press under European missionaries who belittled it as "fate" and "fatalism." Today it finds itself again in the ascendancy as the subtle and all-encompassing principle which governs man's experiential universe in a way likened to gravity's governance over the physical plane. Like gravity, karma was always there in its fullest potency, even when people did not comprehend it.
Each of us as individuals, as well as each group and nation, is continually creating karma, both good and bad. All thoughts, words, or actions will sooner or later come full circle and return home to their creators. This is the universal Law of Cause and Effect, which is operating all the time, just like gravity, whether we choose to believe it or not.
"What goes around, comes around" is a statement of fact. An African tribe puts this in a colorful way: "He who excretes on the road, meets flies on his return." In the East, it is said that the wheels of karma grind slowly, but exceedingly fine.
The United States may have experienced the karmic consequences of its arming and training religious zealots to defeat the communists in Afghanistan in the 1980s, and then abandoning support for them, as several of those it trained were reportedly involved in the World Trade Center bombing. Also contributing to the karma of terrorist attacks might be U.S. policies that support dictatorships, ignore human rights and contribute to the poverty and suffering of people.
So in the same way, the sufferings caused by shortage or higher prices of gas has something to do with our individual and collective karma.
Then solution is to avoid bad karma and engage in good karma.
Many see the resources and environmental problem as strictly technical, with technical solutions. Even those who see an ethical dimension may see solutions only in terms of mobilizing public opinion to change certain obvious environmentally destructive behaviors. But there are deeper dimensions to the environmental crisis as already examined in earlier chapters. The environmental crisis," one ecologist has noted, "is an outward manifestation of a crisis of mind and spirit."
In addition to the laws presently known to science, there are, according to the Vedic literature, higher-order laws that govern the interactions of conscious entities. These laws are collectively known as karma. In the Vedic literature, karma is described in terms of actions and reactions. For example, if one causes unnecessary suffering to another living entity, one will undergo suffering in return. This suffering may also come as a resource crunch.
Niels Bohr, also a Nobel laureate, stated, “All of us know that there is such a thing as consciousness, simply because we have it ourselves. Hence consciousness must be a part of nature, or, more generally, of reality, which means that quite apart from the laws of physics and chemistry, as laid down in quantum theory, we must consider laws of quite a different kind.”
Science today exists not only in the ignorance of the unity of the various material fields it has invented, but also exists totally confused to comprehend the fields that exist beyond the matter, at the mind and consciousness level.
Along the same lines, physicist David Bohm says, “The possibility is always open that there may exist an unlimited variety of additional properties, qualities, entities, systems, levels, etc., to which apply correspondingly new kinds of laws of nature.”
The feeling that consciousness is an integral part of the nature of this universe is becoming increasingly strong with advancement in quantum nature of reality. It is now strongly felt by the scientific community that the primary realities of the unified field and conscious field are inseparable aspects of the same underlying process and united through mutual participation. Since the unified field [material energy] permeates all manifest phenomenon, so should its complementary aspect, consciousness.
Karma plays a leading role in the world’s drift toward environmental catastrophe, and a large part of this karma is generated by unnecessary killing.
The strict law of karma deals measure for measure with anyone who violates the laws of nature. Destroying nature, natural resources and life is definitely a bad karma. Humanity is committing so many heinous crimes against creation and it can not expect to go scot-free.
Population & Karma
Problem of Overconsumption, Not Overpopulation
In traditional cultures, the earth is considered a personality and is worshiped. In Vedic literature, earth is known as mother Bhumi and out of affection for her children, the world population, she produces all their requirements. This is definitely an eco-friendly idea.
According to India’s Vedic teachings, the earth can always produce enough of life’s necessities and scarcity is not caused by overpopulation but by the negative karma generated by self-destructive actions of the planet’s population. When the population is engaged impiously, mother Bhumi (the earth) restricts supply.
In Greek culture, goddess of the earth is called Gaia. Nasa Scientist Jim Lovelock proposes that the earth's atmosphere was an extraordinary and unstable mixture of gases, yet it was constant in composition over quite long periods of time. Could it be that life on Earth not only made the atmosphere, but also regulated it - keeping it at a constant composition, and at a level favourable for organisms". He calls his hypothesis the Gaia principle.
Lovelock says, “The concept of Mother Earth, or, as the Greeks called her long ago, Gaia, has been widely held throughout history and has been the basis of a belief which still coexists with the great religions.”
“Therefore,” states Srila Prabhupäda, “although there may be a great increase in population on the surface of the earth, if the people are exactly in line with God consciousness ... such a burden on the earth is a source of pleasure for her.”
Newspapers have become overpopulated, so to speak, with warnings about human overpopulation. Such warnings have been issued regularly for decades - even centuries - with consistently incorrect predictions. On the first Earth Day, Paul Ehrlich's 1968 bestseller, The Population Bomb, was widely quoted. He predicted that by 1985, the "population explosion" would lead to world famine, the death of the oceans, a reduction in life expectancy to 42 years, and the wasting of the Midwest into a vast desert. He was about as accurate as Malthus himself, the Englishman who, in 1798, predicted catastrophic food shortages that never came.
If the population is good, then no matter how numerous, they will be able to cooperate with each other peacefully and, with the blessings of God, receive ample resources from Mother Earth. A population of good character will not generate as much “vice and misery,” and this is desirable for the health of the environment.
But could it be that we are running out of space? Walk through New York, Kolkata, or Hong Kong and experience the incredible crowding: surely there just isn't room for all these people. Yes, there are crowded places in the world. Yet leave these population centers, and we find a remarkably unpopulated planet.
Present oil crisis, like most other environmental problems can be traced to human vices, especially greed, leading to a vicious karmic cycle.
The stringent laws of nature, under the order of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, cannot be altered by any living entity. The living entities are eternally under the subjugation of the almighty Lord. The Lord makes all the laws and orders, and these laws and orders are generally called dharma or religion.
(Srimad Bhagavatam 1.8.4)
Prammattah. Pra means prakrsta-rupena. Mattah, mad. We are living entities. We have come here in this material world for sense enjoyment, and we are therefore mad after it, prammattah. So nunam prammattah kurute vikarma. Vikarma means which is against the laws. Just like karma, akarma, vikarma. These are explained. So vikarma means against the law. The Vedic version, they give us that "You should work in this way." But if we do not act according to the Vedic injunctions, that is called vikarma. And we become subjected to sufferings, impious activities. But we do it because we are mad after sense gratification. We do not care. Just like a thief, he knows that by stealing he'll be punished, but still, because he's mad after stealing, he'll do it, taking the risk of being arrested and being harassed.
~Srila Prabhupada (Lecture, Nectar of Devotion - Vrndavana, November 4, 1972)