Why do bad things happen to good people?

When my cup of misery and self-pity is dangerously close to flowing over, the only option is to drink it, no matter how bitter it tastes. When I think “I don’t deserve this”. The ugly truth is, I probably do.

“That which we have done in a past life has become our destiny, our fate in this life”

Life is fair. Photo: https://za.pinterest.com/pin/127860076898222735/ Edited by: Lara Antonopoulos

During hard times, it is comforting to remember that everything which happens to you is a result of your actions in previous lives. It’s a lot to swallow, but in the end, it encourages us to always do actions of which we want to reap the desired results.

In The Master Answers, Maharaj Charan Singh says there are three types of karma:

Kriyaman karma is what we do in this life, and for which we will have to pay in the future.

Pralabdh karma is fate, in other words, the karma we face as a result of previous lives.

Sinchit karma is our reserve karma which has accumulated over thousands of lives because it is impossible to pay for what one has done in previous lives in one life only, therefore we have  Sinchit karma, a huge debt.

One of the main things you can do to lessen your karmic burden is to stop eating meat. One might ask why is what we eat a determiner of what good and bad things happen in our lives. The crucial thing about eating is the fact that you literally have a choice between life and death. Brian Hines, author of Life is Fair says the following about meat-eaters: “No matter how virtuous my actions are in other respects, no matter how devoted I am to my creator, I’m digging myself into a moral hole every time I sit down for a meal.”

It is strange that the murder of a fellow human being is seen as atrocious, but murdering thousands upon thousands of animals each year to satisfy the taste buds is seen as a normal lifestyle. When people say “I can’t live without meat,” they don’t consider that the suffering of animals is neither normal nor natural.

Not only does meat eating cause animals to suffer, but it also contributes to the suffering of humans in the form of diseases, such as cancer and cardiovascular diseases. Perhaps this is the karmic price to pay for eating meat.

Karma is a law of nature. Whether you believe in it or not, it is inescapable and infallible. Karma is a Sanskrit word which means “action”. It does not only refer to bad action. Karma can be good too. People whose lives seem too good to be true – they’re rich and successful, happy and good-looking – are reaping the fruits of the good actions which they sowed in previous lives. On the other hand, the trials and tribulations which another person might be experiencing is also a result of seeds sown in previous lives. You get what you give, whether it’s good or bad.

Bad things happen to good people, but bad things also happen to bad people. Someone who gets away with murder will pay for it in his next life. But by no means should you only be kind just because you fear karma. “If people are good only because they fear punishment, and hope for reward, then we are a sorry lot indeed.” So be kind, just because.

 

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If you are what you eat, are you a garden or a graveyard?

Do you miss bacon?” is one of the first responses I get when I tell someone I’m a vegetarian. The answer is no. In fact, the thought of ever eating meat again makes me shudder. Vegetarianism is a hotly debated topic, and there will always be people that believe they “can’t” live without bacon. This article is not here to try and persuade you to become a vegetarian or to shove “meat is murder in your face”. I am merely explaining vegetarianism from a spiritual point of view.

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You are what you eat. Photo: twitter.com/my_vegan_dreams/status/772464413483921410 Edited by Lara Antonopoulos

Albert Einstein once said that “nothing will benefit human health and increase the chances for survival of life on Earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet”. There are many scientific arguments which support a vegetarian diet. Meat eating causes cancer,  obesity, heart disease and many other health issues. The meat industry also destroys the environment. It causes deforestation, a waste of resources, water pollution, and global warming. Spiritual people are vegetarians for different reasons, though.

Imagine how terror-stricken an animal becomes the moment before it is slaughtered. There are many stories of how cows die of fear while they are led to the slaughterhouse. It was even found that dead pigs have humungous veins which basically exploded of fear and adrenalin while the pig was led to the slaughterhouse. The perpetuate cycle of being born only to become someone’s dinner transmits an energy of anxiety and melancholy onto our plates. Energy can’t be destroyed, and it remains in the meat from the moment the animal is slaughtered until the moment we consume it. It is impossible to keep our bodies pure while sustaining ourselves on meat. Our body is a temple, and it is spiritually counterproductive to pollute it with the corpse of a dead animal.

In an interview with Murari Gupta Das, a local monk at the Hare Krsna temple in Rondesboch, he  shared an anecdote with me about how he became a vegetarian. A Swami asked him, “Do you want a relationship with God?” Murari replied, “Yes”. The Swami then said, “But when you eat meat, it’s like me going to your house and saying ‘I’m hungry, can I eat your dog?’ Would you want to be friends with me then?” Murari said “no”. The Swami explained that the same applies when you want to have a relationship with God. If you want to be friends with him, you cannot eat meat. Nine years later, Murari is still a vegetarian.

Only vegetarian food is cooked in the temple kitchen. Photo: Lara Antonopoulos

Vegetarianism is also encouraged by the Bible and ancient Vedas. Stephen Knapp quotes the Vedic text of the Manu-samhita (5.45-8) in his book The Heart of Hinduism: The Eastern Path to Freedom, Empowerment and Illumination: “… but let him [man] never seek to destroy an animal without a [lawful] reason. As many hairs as the slain beast has, so often indeed will he who killed it without a [lawful] reason suffer a violent death in future births.” (Manu-samhita 5:37 – 38) This quote shows us that when you sow suffering, you will reap suffering. As the second law of thermodynamics states, for every action, there must be an equal and opposite reaction. This is called karma. In your next lives, you will pay the consequences for inflicting pain and suffering on innocent animals. When we base our happiness on the suffering of other beings, we bring upon ourselves undesirable consequences. Is it worth slaughtering an innocent animal for the sole purpose of satisfying your taste buds?

How can man find peace if, through the tortuous cycle of the meat industry, man’s body is permeated with the anxious energy of an animal living on a factory farm? How can man find peace if his karma accumulates every time he eats an animal?  Finding peace and bliss is a crucial part of spirituality, and it is important to remember “until he extends the circle of his compassion to all living things, man will not himself find peace.”