Does Karma really exist? – Dr. Pal Manickam


Why do horrible things happen to good people? Why are life’s situations so random? Why are immoral people happy and the righteous ones suffer? These Why’s have intrigued the human mind since time immemorial and this piece tries to seek a meaning for the same through an incident from my life.

Their eyes lingered with hope, they knew very well that the possibility of survival was slim but still they carried that positive outlook which they did all the time. I walked out of the operation theatre conveying them the bad news, “Nishanth was no more”. I almost forgot that both the husband and wife were 70-year-olds, they were in total control of even this worst situation and received the grievous message with acceptance. Nishanth (35) had Down syndrome (a condition which causes mental and physical retardation) and I have been treating him for Liver cirrhosis. His parents never once complained, they made this special child feel normal and inclusive in all situations. Their love and hope for their son were no match for my medical treatment but unfortunately the day had come.
Months later Nishanth’s mother walked into my consulting room with an abdominal pain. I believed it was the grief and the emotional stress, I prescribed some tablets. Two weeks later she returned saying, “Doctor, it must be something more, I knew my body very well”. We took her in for a CT scan and the results came in. The report sat on my table, and I looked myself at the mirror and started to question my very own belief system, more than the bad news the contradiction concerned me. They were such a warm couple and as far as I know they never did harm to anyone, Nishanth could not have wished for more, but despite of all this, why to them? She had no history of smoking, and it was not in her family lineage, she was not obese either, why? Why to her? I turned the pages wishing that the result would change, I washed my face and reluctantly walked to the consulting room. “Pancreatic cancer”, I said to Nishanth’s mother. She, being the women she was, still maintained that calm demeanour. She took in the scan report and started turning the pages and I explained how the tumour had spread to her lungs and had blocked the blood supply. Though devasted, I still wanted to know the reason behind this. She said she was exposed to an ambience of smoking when she grew up and I believed that might have been a possible trigger. Few days later, Chemotherapy started but it was more of a comforting mechanism, her clock stops ticking in less than 2 years.

It was in situations like this I lost my belief in good and bad karma. We have all been occupied with this preconceived notion “Do good and good things will occur”. As far as I know the couple never did bad things to anyone in their life and if the notion was true this shouldn’t have occurred. Seeing countless such stories I was convinced that there is nothing good or bad about karma. Karma was not about action and reaction it was more about being in control of your own situation. Life can throw unimaginable obstacles at you, and you could believe that this was due to karma (some bad deed which you would’ve committed) but that was not the case. Karma is not about morality it is about our intention and attitude to our situations.
Simply put, we only have one precious life, and we are bound by time. So, it is of no use carrying your past and getting trapped in a karmic cycle instead take control of whatever situation that you are in and emerge out of it. Love is the key to break this karmic cycle, because when you love unconditionally the intention changes and so does the attitude. You are no longer bound by your past action or deeds; you are in the present taking responsibility for your situation. Spread love! is all I wanted you to take away from this.


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