Karma of the Rape Victim : What was the karma of the girl who was so brutally gang raped and eventually died in Delhi? – Madhavi Gopi Devi Dasi 

Reply by Caitanya Carana Dasa:  The principle of karma is primarily meant for prognosis and not for post -mortem analysis. Prognosis is understanding what is likely to happen in the future and taking corrective measures in the present. Post-mortem is determining what was the cause of a problem after it has already happened. Thus, the principle of karma is primarily to enable us to choose our right action in the right direction right now so that we get good consequence in the future. It is not meant for us to do too much post-mortem analysis of what we might have done wrong in the past or what anyone else might have done in the past. This focus on prognosis and not on post-mortem is necessary because in our day to day dealings, we need to act and respond to people based on their actions in the present life. 

The principle of cause and effect is logical and observable in the world around us. However, if someone were to remember all actions from past life and were able to make a correlation with the events of the present life, it would get too complicated for the person to lead a normal life. Thus, it is an arrangement of nature that we don't remember all the events that took place in our previous lives. 

When we see someone suffering, the principle of karma should not make us hard-hearted to justify it even mentally in terms of the person's past karma. Rather, it can be employed for oneself to offer solace to our own broken hearts in times of tragedy by understanding that the present suffering is just a reaction for some action in the past that was anyways waiting to happen. 

In the scriptures we notice that whenever some unjust violence was perpetrated, the strong hand of punishment was immediately brought into picture to teach a strong lesson to the perpetrator and justice given to the victim. The Vedic culture is based on a sense of duty which involves acting justly and compassionately. The Vedic king always does the needful to sufficiently punish the perpetrator of crime and gives proper compensation or benefit to the victim. Thus, it can become extremely misleading and insensitive for us if we start thinking about the past karma of some victim that led to present injustice. 

The Supreme Lord has awarded us free will to decide and also given us scriptural guidelines to follow in a personal as well as communal way. When such tragic events happen, it is to be understood that there has been a serious lapse in the law and adminis-tration system of the country. Thus, we need to focus on rectifying the situation. Thinking and acting in a dutycentered conception leads to moral responsibility whereas doing the same in a destiny-centered conception can lead to irresponsibility and insensitivity. Our ideology should not substitute or eradicate basic human sympathy and dignity, but should rather supplement these. The purpose of philosophy is to enhance our capacity to understand and live life fully, in terms of attaining our potential. Having a misguided understanding of the principle of karma has led to its criticism in the Western circles as being fatalistic – that people just passively accept what happens in their lives without any proactive remedial measures. Fatalism is a complete antithesis of Vedic culture which essentially espouses committed, intelligent and sensitive dutifulness. Thus, we should not think of the past karma of a victim especially in times of such monstrous tragedies. Rather, we should talk of how we can best help in such trying times. 

Why is Cod not Visible to Us? 

Is there a person or entity called God? If yes, why is God not visible to us like other entities? – John Mathew 

Our reply: Yes, there is a Person, who is described by Vedas and learned persons as the summum bonum and cause of all causes. The Vedas describe this summum bonum, or Absolute Truth, as not just an energy or entity, but categorically as a Person, with definitive non-material form, name, characteristics, activities, personal associates and abode. 

He is indeed visible, or acces-sible, to the spiritualized senses of whoever is earnest enough to know Him, and willing to adopt the process recommended to know Him. God is fully spiritual, finer or subtler than the most subtle aspect of matter – whereas most of us are completely engrossed in gross matter. Untrained eyes fail in the finer perception of even material reality. Modern science and worldview permit no room to consider the plausibility of realities outside its self-defined boundaries. Just as we cannot even "see" air, or sound, or ultra-violet rays, it should be no surprise that our limited senses are unable to perceive extraterrestrial life, nor can we perceive the mind, or the intelligence each element progressively subtler than the preceding what to speak of seeing the soul and God. But our inability to perceive does not preclude the existence of these entities. 

Theological science is a difficult subject, especially when it deals with the transcendental nature of God as a Person. It is not a subject matter to be understood by persons who are too much attached to material activities. Hypothetically anyone can become a physicist, but what percentage of the world population do you suppose has actually seen an "electron" – something that everyone is expected to believe to be one of the most fundamental particles of existence?! We accept many things on faith in authority without firsthand experience; doing so is a question of which authority we choose to accept. One who is intent on personal experience can get that experience by adopting the right means. If atomic science demands decades of disciplined pursuit within an authorized school system, how much more so the study of God?! 

Remembering Krishna in School 

In Bhagavad-gita Krishna stresses the importance of always describing his glories. How do we always discuss Krishna while still doing our everyday activities, such as school and homework? – Ajit Nair 

Our reply: Circumstances may prevent you from always discussing Krishna, However, another form of devotional service may very well be appropriate instead. For example, you can always remember Krishna, 

By dint of remembrance of Krishna, which is one of the nine limbs of bhakti, your own bhakti will affect those around you. "For one who always remembers Me without deviation, I am easy to obtain, 0 son of Prtha because of his constant engagement in devotional service." (Gita 8.14) 

How to always remember Krishna? Best is to be attached to Him. Whatever or whoever you are attached to, that you will always remember! 

Likewise, since all things emanate from Krishna, through your remem-brance of Krishna while doing aca-demic work you will see His energies in relation to him, in this way consciously using His energies to satisfy him. The fact that other students might not think this way or carry this consciousness does not diminish the spiritual reality of your work. 

Krishna says, "I am the intelligence of the intelligent, the prowess of all powerful men" (Gita 7.10) etc. When the intelligence that Krishna gives you allows you to succeed in your academic work, you can give the credit to Krishna, When you confront a challenging question, you can call upon Krishna for the intelligence to address the question. 

The whole of Chapter 10 in the Bhagavad-gita provides so many examples of how to always think of Krishna, 

Spiritual life means to see things in relation to their ultimate source, Krishna, Material life means to do the same in forgetfulness of him and the relationship that His energy has with him.

Replies to the other letters were given by Romapada Swami. 

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