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Law of Action and Reaction

by Swami Sivananda

The grand law of causation includes the law of action and reaction, the law of compensation and the law of retribution. All these laws come under one general, all-embracing heading Doctrine of Karma. If there is an action, there must be a reaction. The reaction will be of equal force and of a similar nature. The recent Great War has brought out a strong reaction. There is depression in trade. There is no peace in the country. People are not happy. The money market is tight. Many lives have been lost. The death of a just king brings immediate, strong reaction. Every thought, desire, imagination and sentiment causes reaction. Virtue brings its own reward; vice brings its own punishment. This is the working of the law of reaction. If I radiate joy to others, if I relieve the sufferings of others, I will doubtless get joy. This is the law of reaction. If I hurt another man, if I cause misery and pain to another, I will in turn get misery and pain. God neither punishes the wicked nor rewards the virtuous. It is their own Karmas that bring reward and punishment. It is the law of action and reaction that brings the fruits. No one is to be blamed. The law operates everywhere with unceasing precision and scientific accuracy. The law of action and reaction operates both in the physical and mental planes.

A tennis ball strikes the ground and rises up with equal force. This is the law of action and reaction. If I strike against a pillow, the pillow is bound to react upon me with equal force. This is the law of action and reaction. If I speak sweet loving words to anyone, the man returns the feeling of love and speaks sweet words to me also. This is the law of action and reaction.

Why does a man behave in a rude manner? Why is another man courteous, civil and polite? Why does one man possess good moral character? Why does another possess evil character? Why does one man possess good health, strength and vitality? Why is another man sickly and miserable? Why is one joyful and cheerful while another is depressed and cheerless? These things can be easily explained by the law of action and reaction. Nobody is to be blamed. It is our own Karma that brings joy, misery, pleasure, pain, gain, loss, success and defeat. Every one of us is governed by the law of action and reaction. The character of an individual is subject to the law of action and reaction. Each character or personality is the total result or collective totality of previous mental action. Thoughts change, habits change, character also changes. Our present character is the outcome of our past, and our future will be shaped by our present acts. Man creates his own character and destiny. He can do and undo his thoughts, habits, character and destiny. The law of action and reaction operates everywhere.

He who thoroughly understands this grand law of action and reaction will never do any wrong action, because he knows that it will react upon him and bring misery and pain. He will always be doing virtuous actions as they will bring peace, joy, strength and unalloyed felicity. Dear friends! Understand this law. Never violate it. Act according to the law and rest in peace. May that silent Law-giver who is hiding Himself behind these names and forms guide you in all your thoughts, speech, and actions! Glory to the law and the Law-giver!


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