Karma, according to the Sanskrit terminology, has two meanings: Any action is called karma and the reaction of the action is also called karma. So a karma will bring a karma—meaning, an action has its own reaction. Cause and effect, action and reaction, they’re inseparable. This is nature’s law. If there is a positive there must be a negative. If there is a  good, there must be a bad. What we sow, we reap. What we do, we must face. If we are facing some difficulties now, and if we do not know why, and we have not done anything good or bad to face such a situation, there is only one explanation: We must have done something before. If I am born blind, why is that? What is the karma? Why should I be blind now? I didn’t commit any crime, I didn’t create any sin, why am I blind, why should I suffer? The only answer is, I did something before, for which I am suffering now, to purge that sin. Otherwise, no child need have any deformity. Nobody need to be poor; everyone would be equal.

If we just come into this life without any previous action, without any karma, why are there all the differences in taste, in temperament, in our different capacities? So it goes without saying, that we were living before. This is the reincarnation theory. Without the reincarnation theory, we can’t even talk about karma; they go hand in hand. We sowed something, and we are reaping now. But, it need not always be that what we are reaping now is what we sowed long before. Even in this very life if we sowed something yesterday, we may reap today, or tomorrow. But, if we don’t see the fruit, or the result in this life, we might be seeing it in another life. It will be waiting for us. Whatever it may be, we can never avoid it. Even after ten births, the reaction will be waiting there for us. So that is why, think well before you act. See that you sow the right seed, so that you will not reap a bitter seed later on.

That’s why I say don’t even bother about your future. Don’t go to an astrologer. The future is in the hands of the present. If I abuse you, I will know what my future will be. You won’t even allow me to get out of this hall [that I’m giving this talk in]! Suppose I use some unwanted, ugly words? All the greatness of the swami, all the praises will go away, you will simply tear me into pieces, that’s all. I know the future. See? So I am the creator and master of my own future. If I take care of the present, I’ll be happy tomorrow.

I never bother about my future. I’m always interested in my present. And I don’t bother about the past; past is past, gone. Do not brood over spilt milk, just let go. And, do not worry about the future; it is in your hands, now. If you take care of the golden present, live the day well, then you have paved a nice tomorrow. That’s why I say, why should I bother about astrology? You might say, that I’m going to become a multimillionaire. If I really believe it, I will start borrowing money today, because I can pay later on. I’ll become a multimillionaire tomorrow. And suppose the astrology fails? Where will I be? Suppose the astrologer says, “You will get into some terrible ailment. Something like cancer or this or that? At the age of 60, you will have a little difficulty with cancer.” I have sowed the seed for the cancer now. “Oh, at the age of 60, I’ll die of cancer!” See? The very thought is enough to sow the seed for cancer, now. Whether good or bad, you start reacting now. So, do not bother about it. Think of the golden present. Everything will be all right. You will be very happy. No worries, no botheration. We are the masters of our karma, we are the owners and makers of our destiny. Nobody is responsible for our pleasure or pain. We should remember that. If that is well understood, we will not blame anybody as the cause for our suffering.

Let us now be completely silent; one whole minute of absolute silence—physical as well as mental. You will really feel the vibration; you will feel that you are fully charged. It’s not that you charge yourself, but that you send out charges, electric impulses, impulses of peace, to run around the whole world. That will certainly happen. So just let us feel that peace and let us contribute that genuine supreme peace to all others, because everybody needs that. It’s only in this way that we can find a better world. So, please try to still your mind, and just be at ease for one minute.

By Sri Swami Satchidananda