Karma Giveth and Karma Taketh Away

by Aranyakananda

Last week I wrote a practically scene-by-scene review of a film called “Enlighten Up” in which a young man who was skeptical of the transformational power of yoga got a very “crash course” in the many facets of its practice. In one scene, as you mentioned, a university professor told Nick how if you go to any village in India or Nepal, its inhabitants may very well tell you that a yogi “steals children” – as though they were demons.

I have yet to find any verification of this claim.

But I do think I know what is going on here. Many of the scriptures tell stories of asuras (malevolent deities) or rakshasas (demons) who seek out powers through austerities, often through means of long, intense yoga. So to say that yogis are demon-like is really to generalize, and to throw out dinner with the water you cooked it in, as it were.

The interesting thing about these stories is that many of them start with one deity or another giving the demon a power because of the austerity, but soon taking it back or tricking the demon out of it, or right out killing the demon. Why? It would appear that the Gods are not honoring the boons they are doling out. In fact, last year I recall I blogged about how it seemed that in various Puranas, Brahma seemed to give out a number of boons which later turned disastrous, to the point that action needed to be taken by the Gods. But I get it a little more now, as I discussed in my last post regarding the Avatars of Vishnu. The boons in these stories were accumulated “good” karma through austerities.

But it’s not what happens to you that matters, it’s what you do about it. And that goes for the good and the bad.
These rakshasas and asuras accumulated good karma resulting in great powers. But we all know that with great power comes great responsibility. And what they did with the great powers was to use them for ill gain. And as soon as they did, karma entered the picture once again. Hence, the powers were snatched from their hands.

Jai Hari Aum.

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