During blues, we often end up lamenting that there is no justice in this world. Our despondency often makes us believe that everything immoral, illegal and undeserved is flourishing and that there is no incentive to be good. Let’s hope that it is not the truth
One of the most expressed laments of our times is, “there is no justice in this world”. In a world of corrupt officials, vacuous ‘role models’ and chimera-driven professional life, it is barely surprising.
What do we want more – to be rewarded duly, as per our definition of ‘due’ or seeing others bereft of rewards that they do not deserve as per, again, our definition of the ‘deserving’? Maybe both, maybe the former or maybe, most definitely, the latter.
Irrespective of the answer, the core of the subject is the idea of justice, of getting ‘due’ rewards for our actions or of (invariably, someone else) deserving karmic lashings for his / her ways with life.
Curiously, our belief in the idea of justice comes to the surface almost invariably when we are feeling low. We never remember the entity ‘justice’ when we are having it good in life. Unfortunately, it is a human trait and it just needs to be accepted.
If there were no concept of reincarnation what would have been the inspiration for any of us to be good? Don’t we see the immoral, illegal and illegitimate ruling the roost in our present society? With reincarnation, one can hope for some justice in the next cycle.
The endeavour here is to see above and beyond the individual or community planes; to see the larger idea of life itself and its relation to the various laws of it.
There are hundreds of people out there who are either murderers, rapists, thugs or plain and simple feet lickers who are not only not going to ever get caught for their acts but are having pretty good in life. So, what’s the incentive for you and me continue with our simple, honest way of life?
Pretty much nothing if we see it through that prism!
Because the prism itself is doubling up as an agent of justice. It has appropriated the task of reading out sentences against distant, seemingly inhuman examples. It is like looking at life and its actors through the shades of prejudice.
We have to understand here that we too might be the non-deserving ones for some eyes. We too might deserve punishment by nature / God because of the way we are. Yes, that’s the whole point. We get surprised, shocked or offended when someone even mentions this possibility.
But as we said, the idea is to look above and beyond the individual or community planes; to try and read the relation between the laws of life and life itself.
So what is justice and what would constitute justice in a human life?
Justice is understood to be the ideal, morally correct state of things and persons – and depends upon the interpretation of the notions of ‘ideal’ and ‘correct’.
Furthermore, it is difficult to ascertain to its maximum minuteness, the acts of ours that contribute towards, and invite justice and injustice. So, while we all seem to agree that there should be justice in this world, we continually struggle to distinguish justice from injustice in our characters, institutions or actions, or in the world as a whole.
Add to that the conundrum of a thing called ‘reincarnation’ or ‘rebirth’ and role of karma in it, and you have a perfect recipe of complexity at its peak. No one sense can ever come out of conversations with regards the aforementioned. Simply because they are not only based on many interpretations but also give birth to many newer ones.
We are talking of Karma or reincarnation here because the subject of justice, often, seems way to vast to be understood within a span of a single lifetime!
And yet, most of us don’t really subscribe the idea of reincarnation. “Why should I pay for the acts that I’m not even aware of? Maybe I was not me in my previous birth” – that is the most prevalent and entirely understandable sentiment. Consequently, the argument runs on the lines of the much abused phrase, ‘justice delayed is justice denied’. Applying it to the school of reincarnation, justice was delayed for the acts of the previous birth – which in itself is injustice – and the delay has cost the acts of this birth (probably noble) to carry out the sentence on behalf of the previous birth.
Justice is often postulated as the philosophical concept of the morally correct assignment of goods and evils. But then, isn’t philosophy an approximation of various streams of thoughts? Doesn’t philosophy allow fluidity of thoughts, contexts and their interpretations? So, how can there be one single definition of justice?
So then, rest assured that our very ‘being’ and our being capable of thinking about abstract notions like justice is a justice of sort in itself. Think that we deserved to be, hence we are!
But is the ‘present justice’ because of our acts in our earlier lives? Well, it depends entirely on the school of thought that we subscribe to.
How can that ever be termed justice?
It can be. But ONLY if you see life through the prism of ‘the cycle of life’, where the soul goes on repeatedly being born and dying. According to Hinduism, you get a human form only after 8.4 million ‘yonis’ (divine passage) does someone get a human form. Once there, a man has three destinations in after-life depending upon his Gunas (qualities) in the previous life. These three Gunas are Sato-guna (highest virtue), Rajo-guna (medium virtue) and Tamo-guna (Lowest Virtue). The man with Sato-guna enters the heavens (mokhsha) whereas the man with Tamo-guna enters the hell. The man with Rajo-guna is sent back to the earth to again complete a cycle of birth and death!
So, while being a human being in itself is justice (reward) for you, your acts then determine the future life cycles.
But if you don’t believe in the idea of ‘cycle of life’, you can either try and remember every small thing that you did and arrive at the reason for your having to pay back in some other scenario or you can sit back and relax. If there is justice, it is happening to all of us. If there is not, it is because you are not reading out the sentence. Choose peace of mind.
For the Sake of being Topical:
The picture shows Ghalib, son of Mohammed Afzal, the parliament house attack convict, asking for clemency for his father. The Supreme Court has sentenced Afzal to be hanged. But the President of India has not signed his go-ahead for that as yet.
Hindu scriptures divide karma into three kinds: Sanchita (accumulated), Prarabdha (fruit-bearing) and Kriyamana (current) karma. All kriyamana karmas become sanchita karma upon completion.
So, did the dead ones get ‘justice’ for their karma of the previous birth with Afzal’s help? Would Afzal’s hanging be justice for his present birth? Is carrying out the Supreme Court’s sentence injustice? Is just one person deciding the fate of someone’s life justice?
How can we hope for justice when we don’t even know who has the right to mete out justice! No wonder we fall back upon God to decide. But would that be doing justice to the heart & intellect of our human identity?