Guiding Light: Collective Karma

Guiding Light: Collective Karma

Dr. S. AinavoluUpdated: Tuesday, January 03, 2023, 11:31 PM IST
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Karma is used in two ways, first is the action and second as the fruit of such action. When used in the first sense, it is neutral. When one is acting, the resultant is the action called Karma. However, when used in the sense of the fruit of such action, it becomes “one’s Karma”. Here, it assumes negative and positive nuances. If the action fruits are desirable outcomes and one takes pleasure in undergoing these, then it is positive, else it is negative Karma.

As the unit of analysis often in the worldly sense is individual, Karma is mostly defined and discussed at the individual level as one’s Karma. However, when we look at the world from a Sociological perspective, one can feel and pick different levels of analysis. These different “units” of analysis are family, community/society, city/town/place of one’s dwelling, one’s country, and even the world at large. We know global Climate Change!

As multiple micros merge into macro, the higher-level analysis units comprise the constituent units called individuals. This leaves one pondering whether the individual level Karma “adds up to” something larger and whether this is undergone by the higher unit of analysis say family, society, or even the nation. The answer often is in the affirmative.

It is said that birds of the same feather flock together. Given the strength of unit ties and secondly, the closeness with which economic ties bind the “unit” citizens together, we often find that macro-level units are “oscillating together” or undergoing similar Karma at a given time. This is “Collective Karma” and can be observed when nations are facing wars or societies suffer cyclones or quakes.

When we see families facing vicissitudes together, it is Collective Karma. One of the members may suffer from a serious health issue but the entire family suffers, spends hugely, and worries greatly. Probably one’s physical suffering is that individual’s personal Karma, but the vibes experienced collectively are due to Collective Karma. When the up or down is extreme, it is the entire family that takes it. Often it becomes difficult when the swing is downwards. Saving divine grace and mitigating collectively through rectifying means may be the way out. Prayers are for it.

Prof. S. Ainavolu is a teacher of tradition and management. He is with VPSM, Navi Mumbai. Views are personal. You may find more articles at https://www.ainavolu.in/blog

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