27th Subharti Seminars 2019 Expo
29 September 2018
Subharti University, Meerut, India
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Concept Note

Religion is a particular system of faith and worship of superhuman controlling power, especially personal God or gods. It includes various practices, views, institutions and organizations, places, ethics and spiritual elements (Morreall, John; Sonn, Tamara, 2013). A person may be affiliated to a religion by birth or may accept or change it afterwards as he wishes. But somehow most of us have a need to belong to some religion. Almost 84 percent of people are affiliated to one of the most popular religion (The Global Religious Landscape, 2012).

Religion plays an important role in our lives. A person gets the feeling of belongingness through religion. It makes us unite and do activities for the individual or societal benefit. The rituals, the ceremonies that an individual performs are given by religion, which we practice life long without question. It provides the social and moral values to an individual (Ryan McKay and Harvey Whitehouse ,2015). The other benefits of religion are that, it provides mental peace, consoles the suffering individuals through cause and effect theory, inculcates social virtues like truth, honesty, discipline and love, controls human behavior and provides recreation. Above all, it is an important instrument of influence (Nath, S.,  2015).

But it is very important to understand the true meaning of religion. Today, religion has also, become the cause of agitation, violence and intolerance. It is not because of existence of religious beliefs, but because of incomplete knowledge about religion. No religion provokes animal instincts. No religion motivates to work against human welfare. The youth that involve in such activities in the name of religion has to be explained the actual meaning of religion. And this is possible only through training and distribution of knowledge.

Karma can be referred as the action, words or the deeds we do.  All cultures and religions in one way or the other, in every part of the world, believe in Karma. The results which come out of good Karma lead to happiness, and which come out of bad actions lead to suffering in future. Whether Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism, Jainism or Taoism, every religion believes in Karma theory. 

During our day-to-day interactions, we are either settling an old account or creating a new one. If an account is not settled in the present birth it is carried over to the next birth. Although, we are not consciously aware of the give-and-take karmic accounts generated in our previous births. In our subsequent births, we may or may not be equipped to settle our destiny and the paradox is that at the same time we are creating new karmic accounts. Thus, this loop of karma and destiny binds us and we remain entangled in it. The only way through which we can nullify our give and take account and destiny is through sustained and regular spiritual practice.

All religions believe in Karma Theory. Hinduism believes in cause and effect or action and reaction principle. The belief that we are the one who create our own destiny is true and the old Sanskrit literature in Hindu Vedas are the proofs of Hindus’ belief in Karma. Hinduism believes that we produce Karma in four ways- 1.  Through our thoughts 2. Through our words 3. Through our actions and 4. Through our instructions which leads to the action by others.

Buddhism believes in Karma and Karmaphala. It believes that our actions and deeds are responsible for our rebirth in Samsara. Only Noble eightfold path is the way to come out of Samsara. Otherwise this cycle of birth and rebirth continuous till eternity. We should not ignore Karma, because it will lead to creating problems for ourselves. The Tirthankaras of Jainism teaching, that is twenty four propagators of faith see that Karma is law of nature. They say that we can control Karma by our efforts,  knowledge and removal of all the negative thoughts and feelings i.e. Cruelity and selfishness that lead to heavy Karma, that makes our soul heavy that sinks deep down, but the good Karma help to lighten the soul.

Sikhism believes in What You Plant, You Harvest, that is, your past actions will lead to future sufferings. Hukum the supreme command controls the causes of sufferings. When a person thinks against the supreme command, it leads to do Dukrit Karma and when one walks towards Hukum it leads to Sukrit Karma.  Thus, in every religion, it is somehow mentioned that, one’s actions lead to reactions. We have to face our Karma whether in this life or after life (as per belief in life after death).

Indian society has experienced rapid industrialization and urbanization as well as a notable increase in population over the past 40 years (Mishra, S.N., 2013) As a consequence, both the total number of crimes and the crime rate have increased (Sami AnsariArvind VermaKamran M. Dadkhah, 2015).  The youth crime in India is on rapid increase. Hence, it is found that the youth that believes in religion, tends to have lesser violent behavior towards others (Smith, C., & Faris, R., 2002). They involve lesser in illicit activities and have lesser legal problems caused by drug usage, selling and other causes (National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University, 2001). We can say that religion makes us a better person. Hence, religion and karma knowledge will surely improve the humane quality of youth today.

Need of consciousness of Karma

As the consciousness of karma can enhance human values, it is very important that every person should have the knowledge of Karma. It is generally believed that the bad Karma leads to bad reactions, and so it should also be known that, the collective Karma can affect towns, countries and the whole planet. We get what we deserve, whether it is pleasant or unpleasant. That is why; the transcendentalists are usually detached to happiness and miseries. The events of today are inevitable reactions to what we have done or what we have performed in the past, hence, they are more conscious towards higher thinking and remain undisturbed to the happiness and miseries of today and focus on the present karma and future.

Even the mother earth reciprocates to the action of today. The exploitation and abundant usage of natural resources in the past has brought drastic changes in climate, temperature, rainfall, food production and living style. Hence, Karma is a Nature’s Law. So, when the flora, fauna and ecosystem, all, have this consciousness, why shouldn’t our youth be made conscious? It is important that we have this consciousness. It is important that we understand that spiritual energy is more important than material energy.

Science has no capability to control Karma

Youth of today is highly influenced by scientific advancements. A self- realized soul understands that scientific knowledge, advancement and  technology can never be the source of happiness. A person working very hard and earning a lot might not be happy, while a person working at ease and earning very less might be lot happier, like our ancestors used to be.

So, they should know that happiness and distress of today are destined, and are the result of past karma. As observed, when science eliminates the cause of one suffering, another cause cribs in. This quota of pain and suffering has to be finished by an individual himself. So, it is advisable to remain calm and peaceful in sufferings. No science can improve the quality of life. All sufferings are temporary and will be gone automatically with the passage of time or good karma. Once we start believing in Karma, it affects the state of mind. We understand that present should be controlled. The control on present will improve our future.

There are many sorts of problems that keep on arising. The causes may be umpteenth, being modernization, scientific advancements or personal choices. Solutions have been made for these problems from time to time. Land reform programmes, child marriage, older person’s marriage to child, divorce, widow remarriage, bonded labour, child labour etc. All this has been done to bring social justice, tolerance towards religion, responsibility in government and gender equality.

But the problems never end. When one decreases, the other increases. Hence, it is very important to control the situation. The capability of youth should be utilized to control these problems. The youth population of India is so huge that it is equivalent to the total population of eighteen countries in western Asia according to United Nations estimates (World Population Prospects, 2013).They have to be taught to do selfless service, eradicate illiteracy, alcoholism, improve conditions of general health and hygiene and care of women, children and elderly. They have to be taught the respect towards nation, culture and mother tongue. But this has to be done through cooperation and not competition, which increases desire and violence.  

Interactions between struggle and all potential moderators were found to be significant in predicting happiness and/or depression. The linkage between r/s struggle and lower levels of happiness was moderated by higher levels of each of the four proposed religious buffers. Religious commitment and life sanctification moderated the ties between r/s struggles and depressive symptoms. Hence, today’s youth need more to be religious and believers of karma, It is possible only when the youth understands the true meaning and need of Religion and Karma. It is the duty of the religious and academic institutions, to make our youth more influential, humane and benevolent in order to have happy and prosperous family, social and professional life.

Keeping in mind the above mentioned points, a two days seminar Social Reformation through Sensitizing Youth to Religion and Karma is being planned with the below mentioned subthemes-

  1. Defining Karma in Religious Perspective

  2. Prevalence of Social Evils : Relationship with Religion

  3. Defining Religion Appropriately : Sensitizing Youth

  4. Beliefs and Practices in Religion and Karma: A way towards Social Reformation