The Secret Meets Prarabdha karma- Yikes!

There is a very old allegory recounted in yogic lore, for the purposes of instructing young disciples about the simple, but inscrutable, implacable mathematics of karmic law: a man known as a great, realized saint was to visit a family, whom he had never met, for a meal. At the appointed hour, the family members are looking out, eagerly awaiting the arrival of this illustrious being. They were confused when a figure approached – somewhat tattered – and with only one arm. The people are looking around, embarrassed, and not certain how to react, as they are sure this disabled man can’t possibly be the Divine soul who will grace them with his presence at dinner. The man of the house gets up the nerve to ask the identity of this one-armed person and, to his shock, hears the name of the renowned saint in reply. The people are all looking at each other in disbelief, wondering if the visitor is an imposter trying to deceive them – because how could a soul who had received the full grace of God, and been bestowed enlightenment (meaning, among other things, perfect control of the realms of mind and emotion) possible be impaired, injured, or anything less than robust and perfect in every aspect?

What the saint replied to the queries of the family describes exactly the intersection between the push-button, predictable precision of the doctrine of mind expounded by self-help book, such as The Secret, … and the true depth of karmic reality.
The yogi laughs, when asked about his disability, and says simply: “ I lost my arm due to my prarabdha karma…. in a past life, I had done a crime to a certain man, and incurred this karmic penalty. But don’t be confused! Even a soul who has, in his present lifetime acquired the merit to attain liberation might still have a debt from the past that will have to be paid. One has to accept, and be surrendered and grateful for the chance to give back what’s due.’ {Prarabdha karma, in simple terms, is specifically from previous life, and may bear no visible connection to present action or merit.}

So here’s what I want to say about the mastery of the mental plane that is the basis of The Secret, and teachings like it that are abounding now: it is an aspect of ancient knowledge and practice that is one of the cornerstones of all yogic literature, but…and here’s the critical, and dangerous point…it is an extrapolation of occult law that has been extracted from an infinite sum of a whole that cannot, by any attempt of man, be reduced to any one of its parts. This cornerstone teaching of The Secret, adopted in toto as Bible by many millions of souls, only goes to prove the axiom that a little knowledge is a dangerous thing. In the next blog I will be exploring some of the dark roads one can be led down, and deep places in which one can be trapped, by hooking one’s star to an incomplete, though thoroughly convincing doctine. The whole existence of the story told in The Bardo is but one small example of the thorough trumping the whole, mysterious Reality does to The Secret.

Junipur over and out, and until next time, don’t believe everything you read…!