MARCH 2014
Khaas Baat : A Publication for Indian Americans in Florida

Pillars of MindBody Spiritual alignment

Lavanya Dinesh

By DR. Maulik Trivedi, MD

Many centuries ago, a learned community of people lived on the banks of the Indus river. They later became known as Hindus. Over many generations, they developed scientific understanding about the universe and formulated certain theories. Their science was much like the modern-day science created by experiments. Their science, however, was created by direct observation of the subtle forces that govern our mindbody in tandem with the universe. They studied the relationship of an individual's mind and body with the laws that govern the universe. Their discoveries relied on the science of universal and eternal truths. The theories they developed remain the pillars of Hindu mind-frame to this day and continue to be validated by modern science in the rest of the world.

The last article in this series discussed the theory of polytheistic system of gods. You read about how each god is a scientific representation of our own inner positive qualities and the basis for developing and perfecting that same mindbody that each of us lives in. Having many gods is one of the scientific theories brought about the Hindu civilization. To this day, polytheistic beliefs remain one of the key pillars of Hindu life.

The other two major pillars of this Hindu philosophy are the theory of karma and the theory of reincarnation. Each pillar is a scientific theory in itself. Simultaneously, each pillar also complements the others.

This article will address the second pillar, the theory of Karma.

Much like modern Greek philosophers, the Hindus were always questioning the meaning of life. They wondered about how good and bad choices affected one's future disposition. Through keen observation of the interrelationship between one individual's thoughts and actions and the universe's response to such, the Hindus of ancient India created the theory of Karma.

The word karma is heard ever more often in the American lexicon. The word Karma, literally translated from Sanskrit means action. Everything that we do, knowingly or unknowingly, is considered karma. These actions encompass outer physical actions as well as our innermost thoughts.

However, Karma is also meant as the result of prior actions. As such, the karma that we perform now is the result of our prior Karma. Whereas the karma we are performing now will yield our future karma. In common terms, we think of karma as good or bad. When something we desire happens, we call it the result of our good karma (deeds). When something bad happens, we call it our bad karma. However, karma is actually neither good nor bad.

Getting drenched in rain because you forgot to take your raincoat or umbrella on a rainy day may seem like bad karma. The same experience for a child may present as good karma in the form of a delightful opportunity to splash and splash in puddles and have a ton of fun. Theory of karma thus teaches us that our perspective creates a relative sense of good and bad. Events are not good or bad; depending on how we think about them makes us feel like they are so. Shakespeare captured this idea best in his play Othello. He said, "There is no good or bad. It's thinking that makes it seem so."

Karma is the logical and direct result of one's previous actions. In a universe of perfectly conducted cause and effect relationships, one's actions and the consequences of those actions are precisely governed by universal laws that apply equally to all beings in existence. Because of gravity on earth, an apple must fall toward the center of the earth. In this way, when one learns to recognize the relationship between their actions and the consequences of their actions, they can observe the pure laws of cause and effect at work. With this knowledge, we can choose appropriate actions that best align with our future goals. According to the theory of Karma, because the choice of action is under our control, so are the outcomes. Therefore, it is logical that everything is under our control. In this way, some might say that, "everything is predestined."

Maulik Trivedi, MD, is a practicing psychiatrist and a MindBody physician. For details, visit You can also follow him on Twitter @MindBodyYogaMD

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