Towards understanding Hindu Culture, Rituals and Traditions Part Thirteen : KARMA (Understanding Organisational Karma)

(In this part, we take a look at Organisational Karma, even though it is far removed from the original concept of Karma, since almost everybody today is working in an organization, and is affected by organizational karma)

A chandelier represents a collection of lights – like in collective karma – alone, it gives a different light, and collectively, the intensity and colour are different…..

(“In an hierarchy, every employee tends to RISE to his level of INCOMPETENCE” – Peter Principle. The Peter Principle offers an additional perspective in understanding organizational Karma.)

Organisational Karma is of two types – One, the individual portion of the Collective Organisational Karma that the person carries, and two, the individual’s karma that he/she relegates to the collective organizational Karma. Either way, the collective organizational Karma affects individual Karma, and Individual Karma affects the collective organizational karma. The way an individual moves up in an organization is largely determined by the ability of the person to carry more Karma. The capacity of the individual to carry a part of the organizational karma determines where and in which position he/she works.

Similar to the Peter Principle, the organizational karma too, decides where we are, at any point of time – This is the reason why, some people, despite their academic brilliance may not get the kind of breaks in their vocation whereas some others may overtake even CEOs – We often term it as their good luck or destiny. Often these persons who rise very fast in the organizational hierarchy may just be having very good individual karma which is strong enough to take “on” the organizational Karma.

We may find many instances where one person may get one lucky break after another – and someone else, on the verge of even heading an organization, may lose the chance and someone, totally not in the race thus far, may overtake him/her. These inexplicable situations can best be understood by understanding organizational karma.

What one does for the organization, is returned to him/her in their other spheres of life. For example, a person who uses his organization to earn bribes, finds that he is betrayed by his loved relative or friend in his personal life at some point of time. Similarly, a person who tries to uplift his/her organization sincerely without expecting anything in return, also gets a similar favour from his friends or family. In other words, the organizational karma affects a person’s personal karma by the way he/she functions in the organization.

Not only does the place of work, but also the position of work, is determined by karma. Organisational karma determines the rise and fall of a person. Leaders who use their armies to conquer land/countries and who deliberately create war fall prey to the organizational karma they create. People in business and various other vocations who use illegal means to garner wealth using their organization fall prey to the same karmic effects. Often these people may be carrying the burden of their organizational Karma on themselves and their families. For example, an automobile manufacturer who manufactures defective vehicles that kills people in accidents would be carrying the bad karma of the persons who lost their lives using the vehicle – like this, the list is endless, to the responsibility of karma in various professions, vocations or jobs.

Every decision that a person takes in an organization, carries good or bad karma depending on various factors – and that, consequently affects his/her individual karma. Very few persons are able to match their individual karmic tastes to their organizations and vice versa. The very fact that a person may be working in an organization not suited for him/her itself may be his/her karmic fate. Sometimes, individual karma may totally not match with the organizational karma – in which case, a change in organization may sort out matters.

Organisational karma and mass karma are similar – the only difference is that in organizational karma, all the persons are working for an organization whereas in Mass Karma, various different types of individual karmas get linked to one major mass karmic reason. The Tsunami that occurred on 26th December 2004 in the Indian Ocean that killed more than 2,30,000 people  has a common mass karmic link. Stories abound of many people who escaped the Tsunami of 2004 – Most of them, would not have come under the mass karma link. Again, there are many stories of how people travelled for a long distance from areas totally unaffected, to the seashore just on that day, and got killed. These unfortunate people were attracted to the seashore by virtue of their mass karma.

Organisational Karma affects the health of the organization, and the persons heading the organization. Often, a change in organizational leadership can effect karmic changes in the organization itself. Persons of similar individual karma get attracted to an organization and their collective karma forms the organizational karma. This collective organizational karma keeps accumulating persons or individuals with similar karmic leanings. This is the reason why some persons would be unable to get a job anywhere except in a particular industry/area/sector/organization. The fact that organizational karma attracts people of similar karma is well known among hiring agents and recruiters.

Karma is all about teaching lessons of life. So, if a person gets the learning he/she needs, then, the karmic effect may simply drop off.

(To be continued….)

Towards understanding Hindu Culture, Rituals and Traditions Part Twelve : KARMA (Understanding Suicides)

Foreword: People committing suicides have increased in the recent past – especially young people  – over love or exam failures. This post is only to enlighten about the bad karma associated with suicide….(i.e., What kind of Karma does a person committing suicide carry?)

(Let us have a look at one of the world’s earliest DOCUMENTED suicides : “Early in the morning, all the chief priests and the elders of the people made their plans how to have Jesus executed –  So they bound him, led him away and handed him over to Pilate the governor. –  When Judas, who had betrayed him, saw that Jesus was condemned, he was seized with remorse and returned the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and the elders.  “I have sinned,” he said, “for I have betrayed innocent blood.” “What is that to us?” they replied. “That’s your responsibility.” –  So Judas threw the money into the temple and left. Then he went away and hanged himself. –  The chief priests picked up the coins and said, “It is against the law to put this into the treasury, since it is blood money.” – So they decided to use the money to buy the potter’s field as a burial place for foreigners. –  That is why it has been called the Field of Blood to this day” – THE BIBLE – according to Mathew)  

Young people, including students committing suicide over love and exam failures have alarmingly risen in South India, recently. It is because of the mistaken notion that with death, all responsibility ceases. On the contrary, with death, the responsibility increases. It is by karmic decree that a person leaves this earth at a certain time, at a certain place. We, as human beings, do not have the luxury of leaving the earth as and when we wish, except for very advanced souls who know the time of their death in advance.

Thirumoolar in the Tamil classic Thirumanthiram says that when the union between a man and a woman takes place, the age of the child is determined by various factors, including breath of the man immediately after the union. Thirumoolar further explains that a person is born endowed with a pre-determined number of breaths, and that person lives on this earth only for that many breaths. If a person, on an average, breathes 24 times a minute, which translates to 1440 times an hour, which comes to 34,560 a day, and in an average life span of 60 years, a person would breathe atleast  75,68,64,000 – imagine a machine pumping 75 crore times without fail! And imagine this figure being predetermined at the time of birth for each and every person?  Which is why they say, that Brahma writes on the forehead, the amount of life or the number of years a person will live when he/she is born, at the time of his/her birth itself…..

The question is, are we entitled or empowered to break this predetermined lifespan by committing suicide? The simple answer is, NO.

Almost all religions dwell on the aspect of the AFTER LIFE. We, as human beings, are so engrossed in living the present life that we often ignore or don’t come to know about the Afterlife until it is time for us to go. In the case of suicide, it is a deliberate attempt to cut off the karmic debt by forcibly cutting off life. It is like a debtor trying to end his/her debt by running off – in which case the debt only becomes bigger – with added interest. Suicide increases the karmic debt of the person committing suicide, and also affects the karma of his/her close relatives or others affecting his/her life.

There is also the case for euthanasia or mercy killing of persons who are suffering very badly due to illness. In the case of euthanasia, the person who is put to death, normally does not take the decision of dying – it is often taken by his/her relatives or loved ones who take on the karma of taking the life. These are all very sensitive issues that can only be seen through case by case study as generalizations will not be possible in such grey areas.

Farm suicides in India are a shame for the nation, for the causes are mostly man made – Debt ridden people with no way out, and adaptation to changing environmental factors being two major areas to look into.

There was this case recently of a man who committed suicide when his wife and child died in an accident – True, that he also died when they died, but he would not be able to go to the same sphere as that of his loved ones. The very purpose for which he committed suicide, that is, to be with his loved ones, is lost since he will be on a lower plane because he committed suicide, and his loved ones would be on a different plane. The separation may continue, or it could be worse than when he was on earth, alone.

There are various books in various religions/philosophy that give a detailed account of how exactly life is, in the afterworld. And each one will give a different perspective depending on his/her faith and his/her beliefs and his/her experiences which will become the points of reference.

According to Hindu belief, a person committing suicide cannot go to the Astral world, where all humans go after death. The person committing suicide, has to remain on earth till the time of his/her normal death, in which case, he/she roams around the places where they lived, as ghosts. These unfortunate souls suffer because they can neither go to the astral world and join their dead relatives nor can they connect with the living relatives on earth because they are not in physical form. Among the Vedas, Yajurveda deals more with this aspect…..

According to Hindu mythology, there are 14 worlds, of which seven are higher worlds and seven are lower (paatal) worlds. Planet Earth is the lowest of the seven higher worlds. The evolution of the souls depends on his/her good/bad karma, and accordingly, he/she gets the world of his/her status. Thus status of the karma defines the status of the world we go to. And if a person commits suicide, he/she has to start from the lowest world, after his/her time on earth.

Which is why, if a person commits suicide, he/she would have to carry a huge burden of unwanted karma which could enmesh the soul for a very long time in this or a lower world.

Suicide. This is such a huge, huge, topic that needs more attention in today’s media.

(To be continued….)