In Hindu, as I have learned from my friend Subbaiah Murugesan that karma is the idea that whatever you do unto others will return to you somehow, some way. One day, when Subbaiah was a young child, he followed his uncle and father up a mountain near their home in India’s east coast. It was a big mountain with a valley between it and the next mountain. As they ascended the mountain, his father began talking to him about karma. At some point on their journey and discussing karma, his father stopped and made a cup with his hands over his mouth and yelled into the valley. A little while later, his voice echoed back. He then looked at Subbaiah and said that this is like karma. He continues that in life and in everything you do or say, you must keep in mind that if you act kindly toward others and help them, that help will ultimately return to you in some form. Of course you do things for others without any expectation of payback. This is how you must live your life. You must treat everyone this way from the poor to the rich, people with disabilities to those of another religion. Our differences do not change the fact that we are all people.
At NMPASI we promote that everyone should be treated with dignity and respect, regardless of our differences. The idea of karma could be used to educate people about kindness. Basically, this is what I hope for our people with disabilities when they interact with others. Unfortunately, I have learned that throughout human history, people with disabilities have been marginalized and have had to live on the fringes of mainstream society because of simply having a disability which they did not ask for.
Subbaiah’s father continued educating his son on karma by explaining that is very important to understand that “smoke” is everything else that gets in the way of treating others with kindness. For example if you are jealous of another, you may not extend kindness toward that person, but that limits the possibility of that individual extending help to you one day.
Subbaiah is a firm believer in karma and has seen how it has played out in his life, time and time again. So he shared this idea of karma with me in hopes that it will help me.
So here is something to think about, as we pursue our individual betterment this year with our New Year’s resolutions, we can also take a little time to reflect on the idea of karma and kindness.
For more on disabilities and or dignity & respect please call NMPASI at 235-7273, or 4; TTY & fax at 235-7275; or online at www.nmpasi.org.
Happy 2017, CNMI! (Thomas M. Thornburgh, Special to the Saipan Tribune)
Thomas M. Thornburgh is with the Northern Marianas Protection and Advocacy Systems Inc.