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The Law of Cause and Effect

God will be unjust if He allows things to happen without a cause. What we are now is the result of our own actions at various times in the past. “Good actions result in inner peace of mind whereas bad actions disturb the mental peace. A bad person may appear to enjoy outer wealth while suffering inwardly because of wrong actions. Conversely, a good person may seem to suffer outwardly while enjoying inner peace of mind because of good actions performed.” (Building a Noble World, p. 10)

Question: Why should we be punished for mistakes that we made unintentionally without realizing they were wrong? Please explain.

Answer: Ignorance does not alter the universal law of cause and effect. If a person drives his car absent mindedly into a tree, his resulting injuries won’t be fewer because he was absent minded. We must learn to adapt our actions to the law of cause and effect. Human suffering is not a sign of God’s anger. It is a sign, rather, of a person’s ignorance of the law of cause and effect. This universal law cannot be escaped. Whether the law of cause and effect applies universally is not a question of belief. Yogananda, in his famous book Autobiography of a Yogi, observed: “The law of gravitation worked as efficiently before Newton as after him. The cosmos would be fairly chaotic if its laws could not operate without the sanction of human belief.”

All physical and mental forces in nature obey the universal law of cause and effect. Explaining this law, Sivananda (1887–1963), the great spiritual master of the 20th century, wrote: “The laws of gravitation, cohesion, adhesion, attraction and repulsion, the law of like and dislike on the physical plane, the laws of relativity and contiguity, the law of association on the mental plane, all operate in strict accordance with this law of cause and effect. From the vibration of an electron to the revolution of a mighty planet, from the falling of a mango to the ground to the powerful willing of a Yogi, from the motion of a runner in athletics to the movement of radio waves in the subtle ether, from the transmitting of a telegraphic message to the telepathic communication of a Yogi in the thought-world—every event is the effect of some invisible force that works in happy concord and harmony with the law of cause and effect.”

Everything happens for a reason. Nothing happens by chance, fate, or luck. “It is in accordance with the law of cause and effect that people create their destiny with their actions. People are free to choose their actions, but once an action is taken, its consequence is bound to follow. Just as our freely chosen actions in the past have created our present, our freely chosen actions in the present will create our future.” (Building a Noble World, p. 11)

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