Let the Law of Karma Be Your Guide
Question: If a person has suffered evil at the hands of another, and they hate that person, what is the best way to get rid of that anger?
Answer: The best way to approach it is to have a practical understanding of the law of karma. If you understand karma, you will never hate another person. The only reason someone would hate you is because you hated someone in the past. There is no other reason. I hated someone in the past, and this became a cause for someone to hate me in the present. If I want to remedy this situation, it's very simple, and it doesn't matter what the other person is doing to me. I just have to love this person. I don't have to love what the person is doing or even refrain from stopping it, which is not the idea, but I have to love the person.
Be aware that if you hate, you're going to be hated in the future. If you hurt another person, you can be one hundred percent certain that someone will hurt you. The only reason people hurt us is because we hurt other people in the past. This is the cause. The remedy -- the smartest way to go about it -- is to do only good and nothing but good.
When you say in the past, do you mean in the past of this life, or in past lives?
Karmic results usually do not ripen immediately, although it is possible to experience karmic results from the past of this life in the case of very strong, very intense karmas -- either positive or negative -- but this is rare. Most karmic consequences come from previous lives.
So one is not aware of the karmic connection?
If you do not understand how karma works, you are not aware of it. If you do understand how it works, however, you are very much aware of it. If someone speaks ill about me, I know immediately what I need to do. I should stop speaking ill about other people. The only reason people speak ill about me is because in the past, I spoke ill about other people, and this tendency is still within me. If it was not there anymore, this would be over, finished. So if you want to cure it, find good things in other people, speak well about them. Even bad people have some good points. Another example would be if I am experiencing a lot of violence. In fact, it would be impossible to experience violence, or even to see violence, if I had not been involved in violence in my past. So I have to remove the cause. If I don't remove the cause, this will just continue; it will get worse and worse and worse. It is counter-intuitive, but you can see it. If you slap me, the most logical thing for most people is to slap you twice. Then you slap me twice, and this is how it goes. Real wisdom is seeing that you have been slapping people for so long that now they never stop slapping you. You had better stop slapping other people and get into the business of healing.
The law of karma is very easy to understand, and once you understand it, it is very helpful. It can help a lot of people, it can help the planet. Please do not hate.
Swami Swaroopananda is a senior disciple of Swami Vishnudevananda. A practicing yogi from a very young age, Swami Swaroopananda has dedicated his life to the practice and teaching of yoga. He taught in Yoga Teacher Training Courses around the world and is currently teaching advanced yoga philosophy courses and lectures internationally. He is Director of the Sivananda Ashram Yoga Retreat and acharya (spiritual director) for the Sivananda centers and ashrams in the Bahamas and the Middle East. He is a member of the Board of Directors of the International Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centres.