For some reason, many Westerners, and perhaps Easterners too, associate this symbol with karma.

This symbol is in fact the Wheel of Dharma, about which Buddha discoursed extensively. Karma and Dharma are in fact intertwined. Here, let’s address karma.

Karma in Sanskrit refers to the results of our actions. Ideally, therefore, not doing anything, sleeping all day and night, should not cause karma. This does not work for two reasons.

First, as Krishna, the greatest exponent speaking on karma, says in the Bhagavad Gita, no animate living being , especially a human, can live without doing anything. Our very nature programs us in activity. Our inner energy is always active.

Second, this being the law of nature or dharma, breaking this law by being inactive violates dharma and incurs karma. A classic Catch 22!

Every breath we take is an action.  Our inner energy makes us breathe as long as we live. Every breath that every living being takes is action. Even an inanimate being, a tree for instance, breathes in and out. It breathes in carbon dioxide and breathes out life-giving oxygen for us. A tree too is in action all the time.

But a tree or even an animal in the wild do not incur karma. There is no consequence to their action. Why?

A tree or an animal act by the law of nature, dharma. A lion or a dog eats when it’s hungry. It mates when it’s time to reproduce. It sleeps when it’s tired. No animal eats, mates or sleeps for entertainment or relaxation. They are always relaxed.

Only humans eat when they are not hungry. Humans mate for entertainment. Humans sleep when they can no longer work. They violate the basic functions of the body with games of their mind.

The human mind or conscience as many of us like to call it, is the genesis of all karma.

Believe me, there is something called karma and it works.  More on that later.