Is karma the cause for being a good or bad person?
A male devotee (name hidden) asked like this:
“Hare Krishna Admin Prabhu. In a post, you mentioned that the only difference in Satya yuga and kaliyuga is: The people lived for One lakh years and all the people were good people UNLIKE kaliyuga. This implies there are GOOD and BAD people. Two kinds of people? This seems weird to me. And if it is true, then are people GOOD/BAD since birth? Awaiting your reply. Thanks.”
Actually I use some words like good and bad for easy understanding only. The recommendation is that for a devotee, there should be no good and bad. He will apply everything for Krishna and make everything as good, spiritual and auspicious. However, when I write replies, I have to come to the level of the questioner like a equal friend, understand his problems and reply using simple terms for his/ her clear understanding. If I speak about devotion using highly technical and spritual terms, beginners may find it difficult. So, such terms like good, bad, etc.
(If the man came from animal, why he suffers since animals have no karma? KNOW HERE!)
Let me come to the point. Again I have to use the terms GOOD and BAD for your understanding. A person being a good or bad person is based on whether lives obeying the instructions of recommended scriptures and follows satva guna approach, or, not. He is bad if he violates sastras and use thamo and rajo gunas more.
Thats all. No other scale. Ok, what are the recommended scriptures for us? It is ‘Vedas’ for us. As vedas are difficult to be understood, Krishna has omitted ‘reactions giving parts’ of Vedas and mercifully simplified them andhas given like a capsule in Bhagavad Gita to bring us to His kingdom back. So, for us, if we live as said by Krishna in Bhagavad Gita, it is a perfect life. Good life. Spiritual life. Elevating life.
(KARMA AND DISEASES: Which Karma gives which diseases in next birth? KNOW HERE!)
Ok, What Krishna says in Bhagavad Gita?
(1) He recommends us NOT TO SKIP our prescribed duties. So, we should not quit working for avoiding sins. Sins can not be avoided like this.
(2) He recommends us to stop working for our own pleasure, but to work to please Krishna. thus, we can avoid karmic reactions.
(3) He guides what to speak, what to eat , whom to worship, what to offer to Him, How to worship, etc.
(4) He advices who actually we are, who He is, what happens after leaving this body., next birth, stopping birth and death, going back to Him, etc.
(5) He speaks of Himself, Prakruti, Time, athma, etc.
(6) He speaks of three gunas, theirn effects in our life and related instructions to come out of the gunas.
(7) He finally orders us to abandon all the varieties of existing dharma and religious practices and to surrender to Himself and He will protect us from all the sinful reactions.
And , many more things are taught by Krishna in Bhagavad Gita. I have just given a few.
(FIVE QUESTIONS AND REPLIES ON HOW KARMA WORKS CAN BE READ HERE!)
Now tell me, if we lead a life following these instructions, how it will be?
Now, to your last question. Yes. We become good as per our karma. By facing the reactions of our past negative karma, we get purified and we reform ourselves not to perform sinful acts. Thus, karma helps us to become good persons through experience.
As far as bad deeds are concerned, there is another major aspect. Krishna has given us freedom/ free will to decide whether to do good acts or to avoid bad acts. So, if we apply that freedom/ free will positively using satva guna, we can stop further sinning and do only good to others.
So, if we do not use this freedom given by krishna to do only good for others, but involve in prohibited acts as induced by thamo and rajo gunas, whose mistake it is? It is ours. For example, many boys and girls were doing all the sinful acts when Srila Prabhupada went to america. Those boys and girls were misusing their free will and did prohibited acts induced by their dominated rajo and thamo gunas. But, When some of these boys and girls came into the association of Srila Prabhupada, THEY APPLIED THEIR SATVA GUNA and FREE WILL/ FREEDOM TO STOP SINFUL ACTS AND STARTED TO SERVE KRISHNA. Their decision made them good devotees now.
(If our spouse is already decided by karma, why should we see horoscopes for marriage? KNOW HERE!)
So, though we tend to do sins as per our free will, we can apply the same free will given by Lord to avoid them by associating with pious persons. If we do not apply our freedom to become good, the karma network will continue to test you till we reform ourselves by taking corrective steps. Thus, Being a good or bad person is in our hands.
So, use your free will to avoid prohibited acts and remain a good person. Your past good karma may give you many pleasures and happy life now. This wealth and goodness should not be misused and we should apply those wealth and resources for Krishna and remain pious and Krishna Conscious. This will purify us and keep us in the service of Krishna all the time.
Hope you are clear.
(Can we escape from karma if we do not do any activity? KNOW HERE!)