Karma is a concept that explains the effects that our actions have up on our lives. The underlying hypothesis is “As you sow, so shall you reap“.
Karma is based law of returns of energy – and the energy can be of many types-mechanical/physical
This leads us to question providence when we see evil apparently prospering and good apparently suffering. We then try to justify this obviously incorrect result with the idea that there was something in that person’s past lives that justifies this “unjust” dispensation. What we fail to consider is that different types of energy have different workings and that to each type of energy the law of cause and effect provides its own type of result.
No one would expect that a person who embodies compassion or caring in their nature would be granted thereby a victory in the 100-meter dash in the Olympic Games. We naturally would expect that a trained athlete, focused on conditioning the body, and carrying out an intense program of development of the physical capacity, would be the Olympic athlete.
The consequences of bad Karma may not be limited to just lack of success but might manifest as inner sadness or personal losses etc.
Let us first start with a question.
Who was more successful – Ram or Ravan?
Lets look into some facts:
Ravan – had won all the heavenly Gods, had a capital where all the buildings were of gold (Golden Lanka), his fame was spread in the entire world, his power was acknowledged and feared by everyone. But – was deceitful, corrupt, disrespectful, anti-social, selfish, egomaniac, etc. Very similar to a modern day corrupt politician!
Ram – had all the knowledge of Vedas, very humble, a very good administrator, social, law-abiding (Maryada – Purushottam), but – was sentenced to 14 yrs of exile before being crowned, his wife Sita was kidnapped while he was in forest, had to roam around in search of her, then again got separated with her while he was a king – basically there was always struggle in his life. Very similar to “good person”!
If you look closely, we say that Ram was successful because it is written in Ramayan and this knowledge is passed to us through grandparents, various TV shows, etc. The important thing to note is that in this case, karma and success are defined in the same place – in the book itself.
Whereas in this question we are talking about definitions in two different places – karma defined in the literature and “success” defined in this modern scientific world.
The Vedas etc define a person to be successful when he is highly spiritual when he has won over anger, malice, and greed. But in the modern world, all the definitions have changed – power and money from THE matrix to compare people. Respect and social status matter more than realizing what’s right or wrong. According to the text, this is what is called Maya or false attractions and temptations that are sources of bondage to this physical world.
Based on this we can now see how the corrupt people are far away from being successful – according to the literature. If we believe in karma, we should refer to success as is presented in the literature. This is really what is referred to by “As you sow, so shall you reap”. If you are corrupt, you would be more tempted towards money and power, leading you to bondage and ultimately failure!