“Just as a tree starts to blossom during the proper season, so the doer of sinful deeds inevitably reaps the horrible fruit of their actions at the appropriate time.” (Lord Rama speaking to Khara, Valmiki Ramayana, Aranya Kand, 29.8)
अवश्यं लभते जन्तुः फलं पापस्य कर्मणः।
घोरं पर्यागते काले द्रुमाः पुष्पमिवार्तवम्।।
avaśyaṃ labhate jantuḥ phalaṃ pāpasya karmaṇaḥ।
ghoraṃ paryāgate kāle drumāḥ puṣpamivārtavam।।
Friend1: Do you ever feel pressured by other people’s causes?
Friend2: Where would the pressure come from? I presume you are referring to some type of organized campaign for change.
Friend1: Yes, and the pressure is right within the sales pitch. The exact issue is not important. We have all encountered something along the following:
“If you don’t speak up against such and such, if you don’t voice your outrage, then you are just as guilty as the culprits. We can’t climb this mountain alone. Everyone has to do their part. Silence is tacit approval. Keeping quiet is like behaving violently against those who are for good and honest dealings.”
Friend2: If only life were so easy. You just speak up and everything will be fixed. The people running these campaigns are often just as flawed as those they seek to expose.
Friend1: Lying. Cheating. Stealing.
Friend2: Not to mention the real-world ramifications. Who wouldn’t love to stick it to their boss at work? Tell them how horrible they are. List every single infraction, expose every deceit, blow the whistle on every misdeed.
Friend1: When in reality that might lead to more problems. You get fired. They find someone else to do the job. The corrupt administration remains in place.
Friend2: And that is a small example of a workplace. You can get another job. If you speak out against the government in many places, they will throw you in jail. They make up charges, put you in solitary confinement, cancel bail, and delay the trial. This way you don’t even get the opportunity to disprove their ridiculous claim. Guilty by accusation.
Friend1: This occurs even if there is supposed freedom of speech enshrined in the founding documents of the nation.
Friend2: Especially so. The corrupt government agents will throw false labels on you and then use that as justification for incarceration.
Friend1: What is the best approach, then? For dealing with the pressure to follow others in a specific crusade, should we just ignore them?
Friend2: Listen, the effort is noble. If it weren’t for people of the past sacrificing everything, we wouldn’t have a lot of the things we count on today.
Friend1: For sure. That is the reason for the confusion. If everybody sat back and did nothing, the status quo would remain. At the same time, not everyone can speak up and be assured of safety. They have other considerations.
Friend2: That is the nature of the material world. Bad guys sometimes rise to power. They are assisted by demigods. Ponder that for a moment. You worship someone in what resembles religious life, but the purpose is to wield the power of the greatest criminal in the universe.
Friend1: In those cases there was Divine intervention. In other instances, kala and karma act to deliver the appropriate results at the appropriate time.
Friend2: As Shri Rama explains to Khara in the Ramayana, it is like the flowers blossoming on trees. You have to wait for the appropriate season.
Friend2: Always think of the Supreme Lord. Become His devotee. Offer everything to Him. You will never be lost to Him and He will never be lost to you.
Friend1: Okay, but what about the various causes that are out there?
Friend2: Devotional service, bhakti-yoga, is like watering the root. Worship the Supreme Lord in truth, with sincerity, and every other obligation will be accounted for.
Friend1: What about instances where the criminals are within a large spiritual organization, one that supposedly promotes the bhakti culture? Should we just worship the deity every day, chant the maha-mantra, and pray for restitution and resolution?
Friend2: Either way the appropriate punishment will arrive. You get involved and accept the consequences associated with going up against a large institution and the many followers of the criminals you are exposing. Or you can try to lead by your own example, dealing respectfully with others, even those who may not be worthy of it, and hope for the best.
Friend1: Yes, and so the latter approach might make you a target for criticism. You know there is a problem and you are not doing anything about it. You are hoping for God to take care of everything.
Friend2: So? Does He not take care of things already? Do you really believe the criminals will get away, perpetually? That is how Khara and the other Rakshasas from Lanka thought. They killed brahmanas and ate them. You can’t get much worse than that. And yet these guys had all the riches in the world. No one could touch them, even if they tried.
Friend1: Until Shri Rama arrived. He is the all-pervading witness. He knew everything that occurred.
Friend2: He is eyewitness to every crime from the modern day, as well. That is why the acharyas emphasize devotional service, for linking the individual consciousness with the Divine consciousness. Otherwise, there are too many crusades to join and not enough time to make meaningful progress in fixing the world’s problems.
Towards guilt the appeal,
Pressure from causes to feel.
That if not actively participating,
Then approval demonstrating.
But too many issues to be found,
For the mind to be twisted and bound.
In end Shri Rama witnessing all,
Pray for His mercy to fall.