Reward and Punishment
Sometimes even good and well-meaning people get into trouble, where as evil, mean and crooked persons get rewarded. Such a Karmic effect is difficult to explain. Reminds me one of the stories of Guru Nanak, a great Sikh saint: it runs like this.
There were two persons having shops in a small town. One was very pious, helpful to others and a God fearing person, let us call him a Gurmukh, where as the other person was mean, wicked, corrupt and took undue advantage of others, we can call him a Manmukh. After finishing their day’s work, every evening Gurmukh would visit Guru Nanak’s place and listen to Gurbani (holy scriptures) and Manmukh would visit a prostitute. They would , sometimes exchange note of their activities. One evening these two went about their usual routine. When Gurmukh was walking to the temple his foot stepped on a big thorn which pierced his foot. He was injured and his foot started bleeding. Manmukh while moving towards the house of the prostitute, saw a shinning object on the street and picked it up. The shining object was a Gold coin. The talk of this incident spread like a wild-fire in the town. Gurmukh wanted to find out the reason and therefore he took Manmukh along and went to Guru Nanak and asked him the cause for such an imbalance where the evil one got rewarded and he got injured. Surely such cannot be the justice of the Divine.
Guru Nanak explained to him. ” Look the person who found the Gold coin (Manmukh) had done very noble actions in his past life and he was to be rewarded with a huge Gold treasure. However in his present life he nullified all that by his bad deeds. Anyway he had to be rewarded for his past Karma therefore the award got reduced to just one Gold coin. As far as Gurmukh was concerned, he had done very bad deeds in his previous life and was to be hanged in his present life. Since he chose the path of goodness and virtue, his punishment kept on getting reduced with every kind act and finally he got away with a minor punishment of a thorn piercing his foot.”
It is perhaps this phenomenon that we get reward or punishment in our present life as per our Karmic actions of the past. Such a cycle continues till all repayments are done and then one achieves Nirvana (Mokush or Supreme Bliss) The following lines from Japuji Sahib in Shri Guru Granth Sahib (SGGS) the holy
Sikh scripture explain and sum it up.
“ਪੂੰਨੀ ਪਾਪੀ ਆਖਣ ਨਾਹਿ II
punnee paapee aakhan naahi.
Virtue and vice do not come by mere words;
ਕਰਿ ਕਰਿ ਕਰਣਾ ਲਿਖਿ ਲੈ ਜਾਹੁ II
kar kar karnaa likh lai jaahu.
Actions repeated, over and over again, are engraved on the soul.
ਆਪੇ ਬੀਜਿ ਆਪੇ ਹੀ ਖਾਹਿ II
aapay beej aapay hee khaahu.
You shall harvest what you plant.
ਨਾਨਕ ਹੁਕਮੀ ਆਵਹੁ ਜਾਹੁ II”
naanak hukmee aavhu jaahu.
O Nanak, by the Order of God’s Command, we come and go in reincarnation. (Page 4 SGGS).