When bad karma causes sufferings

When bad karma causes sufferings

Last week, I woke up to excruciating pain in the neck. Guessing rightly that my recent trips in an auto rickshaw, through stony paths of Balepete, Akkipete, and Taragapete since the main Cotton pet Road was closed for white-topping, must have caused the untold havoc, I took an Ola taxi to the orthopedic doctor’s clinic. As I was an old patient in a dual sense— an octogenarian and a frequent visitor at the clinic, I was ushered in by the receptionist.

Dr Murty welcomed me and went through the usual routine with arms and neck. His diagnosis was quick. A simple X-ray which he held across the lit screen showed the damage done to my neck and shoulder. “Nothing serious. Avoid unaccustomed activity. Wrong things like, bad posture, excessive TV watching, auto rides on bad pot-holed roads are bad for you. See me again after two months,”  he said.

I collected the X-ray and his prescription and was at the gate trying to summon an Ola. I cursed myself for my carelessness which had now landed me in this torture chamber. I could hardly turn my neck and if I did, I could barely stop from screaming. My right arm was totally dysfunctional and in the morning I had to wait for my maid to do my hair and my vegetable shopping. Pain is like an artist innovating newer and newer instruments of torture for the colonized body if not the mind. 

Partially incapacitated I sat brooding in my chair. I began thinking of what I was like before the pain. Perfectly happy and zestful as an individual. I went back to my childhood days which were happy too but somehow filled with superstitions. Our highly imaginative house-help Ramu was ready with tales of horror to frighten us kids. When my eyes were sore because of eating too many mangoes, Ramu said, “Ah, you must have poked your rival’s eyes at school with a pencil, so your own eyes are sore. If you wish someone bad be sure it will come back to you sooner or later.” I must have looked back at him wide-eyed as he was mouthing a rather rough and ready notion of karma which I didn’t accept at the time.  Had I wished bad thoughts on someone I did not appreciate? Did I want my enemies to suffer? Was my spondylitis then a result of my wishing ill on someone one who did not deserve my ill will? Indeed I tried to cleanse my heart and mind and to pull out all the pins I might have stuck in my unsuspecting victims. I uttered the mantra which we were taught to recite daily at school as part of our morning prayer, lokah samastha sukhino bavantu and hoped my good karma would relieve me of my suffering.

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