Q. Why do we get the reactions of our sinful activities in the next birth and not instantly in the same birth? Most of the people complain that If I have not done anything wrong with anyone then why am i suffering so much.
A. It is simply not true that all the experiences, enjoyments or sufferings that we have in this life correspond only to our actions in the previous lives. The law of karma does not work on some kind of a principle of delayed response, lagging by a time period corresponding to one (or many) lifetime(s).
The law of karma is like the law of a court. If a person takes a debt from someone and then fails to pay him back, the lender may approach a court. The court then issues a notice to the debtor that he has to pay back to the lender, the money that is due. However, the debtor in his bankrupt state is unable to comply. Consequently, even though the court has ruled in favour of the lender, he won’t receive any money from the debtor. In the future, as and when the debtor acquires money, he is made to pay back the money that is due to the lender. Till that time, the lender just has to wait.
The Padma Purana explains five stages of karmic reactions beginning with unmanifest karma (aprarabdha) to its manifest form (prarabdha) in one’s current life. The others in between begin with our innate proclivities (kuta) to do something and disliking to do something else, leading to a desire (bija) to act in a particular way and when we do act, the action bearing a fruit (phalonmukham), which leads to the fully manifest form (prarabdha) later as mentioned above. (For more information on this, referÂ purport to verse 9.2 in “Bhagavad-gita As It Is” by His Divine Grace A.C.Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, www.vedabase.net\bg\9\2\en
When the reaction comes to the manifest (prarabdha) state, we can perceive it on our lives. This may happen in the same lifetime as in which the action was performed or in a later lifetime, depending on the time it takes for the result to appear in the manifest form. Like a seed when planted, takes some time to sprout and then transform into a tree, an action performed takes some time to bear a reaction to the person concerned. Indeed Lord ShriÂ Krishna informs in the Bhagavad-gita(4.17) – gahana karmano gatih – “The intricacies of action are very hard to understand.”
As simple story illustrates this fact, After the Mahabharata war, when king Dhritarashtra asked Lord Krishna as to why did he have to undergo such a tragedy of witnessing his hundred sons being killed in a war, Lord Krishna gave him divine vision to realise that fifty births back, he had been a hunter and once had thrown a blazing net on a tree full of birds. Most of the birds flew away, but lost their sight because of the scorching heat while a hundred young birds perished in the flames. For this, he had to lead his own life as a blind person and had to undergo the pain of having his own hundred sons killed. When asked as to why it had taken so long to experience the pain, Lord Krishna explained that first he had to accumulate the necessary good karma to become a father to hundred sons in a single lifetime and then would it be possible for him to suffer from the reaction in waiting, of losing them.