As a very practical and rational person, I used to be ashamed for my attraction to belief in karma. I mean, I consider religions to be nothing but a bunch of fairy tales of dubious moral quality, why would then I believe in something that is even more ancient than any Abrahamic religion?
Then again, the naïve understanding of karma seems to support the view of a just world where the wrongs are punished and the rights are rewarded.
This is of course not at all how karma works.
Our ancestors from India didn’t really invent anything as much as observed and recorded the natural law of things. The same law that describes interaction in a thermodynamic system — every action results in an opposite and equal reaction — is what can be used to describe the macro dynamics of the human society.
What it means is evil will not be punished by God or magic spirits. If you refuse rewards all the time, do not expect to be rewarded with something greater. If someone is not thankful enough, could it be that the impact your deed made wasn’t great enough to have a person react in a grateful manner?
I believe that humanity is inherently good, that is, the nature of the humanity is inclined towards peace. Misguided, true. But haven’t we seen that the good usually prevails? I am not so sure myself as I am no historian.
This is why people in dictatorships cannot hope for someone else to come and help them get back their freedom, and punish the evil-doers. People aren’t just helpless receivers of the blunt end of fate. Every one of us is in herself an instrument of karma.