As I write this, there have been a series of earthquakes that have rocked Turkiye and Syria since Feb 6, 2023.
It is a major humanitarian disaster, with thousands of people who are dead, and thousands more expected to lose their lives.
Thousands of families are shattered, livelihoods disrupted, and so many communities are altered for ever.
I am shocked, saddened and feel extreme sorrow for the tremendous loss.
As the world rushes to provide humanitarian relief, in the form of search, rescue, food, clothing, medical assistance and more, some are asking why this happened.
It seems that almost no one is doing anything to stop things like this.
After all, Turkiye is no stranger to earthquakes. The region is well-known to be situated in an area with a high risk for earthquakes. The scientists have studied and identified what is known as the North Anatolian Fault Line, which identifies a known feature of the earth’s surface that makes this region more prone to earthquakes.
In the recent past, there have been major earthquakes in 1903, 1912, 1914, 1939, 1998, 2003, and 2020. In fact, there have been over 97 sets of earthquakes in Turkiye since AD 1900!
Of course, earthquakes have occurred in other parts of the world too, and millions of people have been killed over the course of history.
While one can look at it from an analytical perspective and say something like “why do people live in earthquake prone areas anyways” or “why don’t governments do more to prevent deaths”… the fundamental question to ask is “why do earthquakes occur?”.
While scientists will launch into a long-winded technical explanation, I’d argue they don’t know what they’re talking about. Yes seismic faults, yes, volcanoes, yes tectonic plate shifts, but why a specific place and why a specific time, and why not some other place and why not some other time?
Why do some people escape an earthquake and why do some others not escape?
Why is it that only a specific group of people are affected by earthquakes and not some other specific group of people?
Why is it that some people whose ancestors lived (or died) in earthquake prone areas for hundreds or thousands of years suddenly escape an earthquake? Why is it that people whose ancestors never experienced a single earthquake suddenly find themselves in the wave of destruction of one?
Modern material scientists have no clue, because they have overlooked an important law of nature.
It’s called the Law of Karma.
According to the Law of Karma, every soul experiences exactly what it is due to experience, and the law of karma is infallible… in other words, once someone is slated to experience something, that cannot be avoided or prevented in the ordinary course.
Krishna introduces this concept in the Bhagavad Gita…
एषा तेऽभिहिता सांख्ये बुद्धिर्योगे त्विमां शृणु ।
बुद्ध्या युक्तो यया पार्थ कर्मबन्धं प्रहास्यसि ॥ ३९ ॥
eṣā te ’bhihitā sāṅkhye
buddhir yoge tv imāṁ śṛṇu
buddhyā yukto yayā pārtha
Thus far I have described this knowledge to you through analytical study. Now listen as I explain it in terms of working without fruitive results. O son of Pṛthā, when you act in such knowledge you can free yourself from the bondage of works.https://vedabase.io/en/library/bg/2/39/
Krishna uses the words “karma bandham”, which is translated as “bondage of reaction to work”… in other words, whenever we do something in the material world, it causes a reaction.
Now, from a material perspective, this reaction can be a positive reaction, or a negative reaction, as in, either desirable outcome or undesirable outcome.
कर्मणो ह्यपि बोद्धव्यं बोद्धव्यं च विकर्मणः ।
अकर्मणश्च बोद्धव्यं गहना कर्मणो गतिः ॥ १७ ॥
karmaṇo hy api boddhavyaṁ
boddhavyaṁ ca vikarmaṇaḥ
akarmaṇaś ca boddhavyaṁ
gahanā karmaṇo gatiḥ
The intricacies of action are very hard to understand. Therefore one should know properly what action is, what forbidden action is and what inaction is.https://vedabase.io/en/library/bg/4/17/
In the material world, especially materialistic people teach us to act as we like, as long as we don’t get caught, or in the best case, as long as we don’t get into trouble with the local laws.
But the Laws of Karma are the Laws of God. You can’t escape them. It’s not a question of belief.
What if you don’t know the laws of karma? Just as in our world, ignorance of the law is no defense, similarly, while the reaction of an offense unknowingly committed might be less than the reaction of an offense knowingly committed, that is similar to the difference between manslaughter and first-degree murder… punishment may be less for one vs. the other, but punishment nevertheless.
So, one should take the trouble to understand that meat eating, intoxication, illicit sex, and gambling are the pillars of forbidden action.
Until we get out of the cycle of forbidden action, we cannot get out of the reactions of it.
As you sow, so shall you reap… as we slaughter, so shall we be slaughtered.
There is such a thing as collective karmic debt… in other words, the laws of nature gather a certain set of people, small or big, to experience the pleasures and pains related to karmic reactions… certain nations are hot, others are cold, some have a shortage of water, others are prone to certain diseases… some cities are safer than others, some villages are next to horrendous pollutors and suffer from all sorts of untimely diseases. Some families are prone to certain disorders…
It is all related to the infallible law of karma, souls collected together to suffer and enjoy.
So, while we should feel compassion for all those caught in the cycle of birth and death, we should strive hard to bring them out of that cycle of birth and death, by helping ourselves and others purify our consciousness completely clean of all material contamination.
ānandāmbudhi-vardhanaṁ prati-padaṁ pūrṇāmṛtāsvādanaṁ
sarvātma-snapanaṁ paraṁ vijayate śrī-kṛṣṇa-saṅkīrtanam
“ ‘Let there be all victory for the chanting of the holy name of Lord Kṛṣṇa, which can cleanse the mirror of the heart and stop the miseries of the blazing fire of material existence. That chanting is the waxing moon that spreads the white lotus of good fortune for all living entities. It is the life and soul of all education. The chanting of the holy name of Kṛṣṇa expands the blissful ocean of transcendental life. It gives a cooling effect to everyone and enables one to taste full nectar at every step.’https://vedabase.io/en/library/cc/antya/20/12/
So therefore, earthquakes, floods, fires, these things are unavoidable. We cannot change that. Our main business should be to exit this temporary world that is full of suffering. This we can do only if we attain spiritual perfection.
kūṭaṁ bījaṁ phalonmukham
For those who are engaged in the devotional service of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, all sinful reactions, whether fructified, in the stock, or in the form of a seed, gradually vanish. Therefore the purifying potency of devotional service is very strong, and it is called pavitram uttamam, the purest. Uttama means transcendental. Tamas means this material world or darkness, and uttama means that which is transcendental to material activities. Devotional activities are never to be considered material, although sometimes it appears that devotees are engaged just like ordinary men. One who can see and is familiar with devotional service will know that they are not material activities. They are all spiritual and devotional, uncontaminated by the material modes of nature.https://vedabase.io/en/library/bg/9/2/ purport by A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
It is possible to pull souls out of the karma chakra, of endless action that produces endless reaction.
But it needs everyone to act in a spiritual way, right now.
Why do earthquakes happen? Because we’ve accumulated a lot of bad karmic reactions, and it’s payback time. What goes around, comes around.
And the solution?
We should act for the ultimate spiritual benefit, before it is too late.
Please be a part of the ultimate solution – the only solution.
If you want to benefit yourself and all the living entities who have lived, are living, and have lived, Please chant…
Hare Krishna Hare Krishna
Krishna Krishna Hare Hare
Hare Rama Hare Rama
Rama Rama Hare HareThe Hare Krishna Mahamantra, the great chant for deliverance