Karma, understood as reward/punishment, is a concept that seems to fly in the face of the oneness aspect of the jiva (individual soul) and God (the source). In other words, why would God punish Himself? Perhaps if it is understood more in terms of our creation of a backdrop for us to perfectly experience a specific chosen emotion, then that would fit much better with the idea of our emotional experience being part of the completeness of God.
Question: Do souls in ‘lower’ species sometimes experience specific emotions in a more focused and perfect way than humans? If they do, that might explain why we ‘choose’ such births. But is it true that having a taken ‘lower’ birth the soul is forced to gradually ‘evolve’ through many species/births back up to human life? Or can the soul just dip in and out to experience a specific rasa? Forced evolving seems to reek of punishment.
Or is it possible that desire for emotional experience continues un-impeded in ‘lower’ species, and that this is just as much the active principle that leads the soul in its supposed evolution through species as it is in choice of next body/species following the human experience? After all, we see in the human species that IQ is not related to intensity of emotional experience, so why assume that animals and other less intelligent species experience emotions less completely?
But many souls find they have taken birth only to have their body eaten alive. What is the explanation? It seems to reek of punishment, but is it possible that some souls desire to experience the rasa (emotional taste) that is perfectly facilitated by being eaten alive (some sort of intense fear/horror)? Or perhaps it is not generally the human species embodied souls that desire that taste, but the souls already in the ‘lower’ species – specifically those that are presently being eaten. Perhaps evolution through species goes something along the lines of eater > eaten > eater > eaten > eater, through increasingly conscious species, all the way back up to the human? But while one might understand why the eaten wants to be the eater (i.e. revenge), it is more difficult to imagine the eater wanting to get the experience of being eaten. Again the process seems like punishment … my original philosophical problem 🙂
So where does that leave us? Still committed to trying to understand, rather than trying to not understand?