There is a story about a Buddhist monk, see the Buddhists don’t believe in God, so they have to accept all the karma, they believe in law of karma, reincarnation, but they don’t believe in God. So there is one disciple of Buddha called, he was a man eater, cannibal. He used to go around and he would attack people, rob them and do different thing, to show that he would defeat them, he would cut off their little fingers and he would wear them as a bracelet, he was called angulimala asura, angula-asura that he was, to say the least, he was a demon, but somehow by the association of Lord Buddha he became purified, according to the Buddhist history. And Lord Buddha convinced him that he should become a monk…
and the suffering and misery in the material world. He became a monk and he was begging door to door, you see. And one time somebody who lost a finger to him saw that, “This is angulimala asura, he cut off my finger now he is a monk.” and they took… and they just literally tortured and beat him and killed him and that was considered that, “His karma’s caught up to him.” In this way next birth will be a little better off, after so many births this type of austerity, he’ll be purified and gradually he can work his way upto nirvana, which is a type of material impersonal realization.
So the normal chain of events, if a person gets a human birth they can actually decide to work in a certain direction, that would take a long time, they have to work off all the karmas in the past, the special thing about Krishna consciousness which the impersonalists don’t understand… Krishna is saying, there is
mām ekaṁ śaraṇaṁ vraja
ahaṁ tvāṁ sarva-pāpebhyo
mokṣayiṣyāmi mā śucaḥ
That if you surrender to Me, abandon all varieties of religion and just surrender unto Me, I shall deliver you from all sinful reaction, do not fear. I shall deliver you from all sinful reactions.
That means all the karmas, that means whatever that person destiny was, that all the negative aspects will be taken off just by surrendering to Krishna. Then there’s… only Krishna can offer this, nobody else can offer, only Krishna through His representative this offer can be made, no one else can make this offer, Buddha never made the offer. Even if you surrender to Buddha in terms of the material, his… his teaching, that he was giving materialistic teaching, even though he was an avatar of Visnu, they had to take the karma, that facility they didnt get, even he was very austere, he was may be more austere than we were, he was eating once a day, not eating after 12 noon to be a Buddhist monk is… is very… especially in those days it was very strict, whatever they put in your begging bowl you will eat, nothing else, they were very austere, only wearing one cloth, certain way, type of sannyas… that good karma does not neutralize bad karma, he was doing good karma, for that austerity he will get happiness if he wants to cash in on it, but it won’t neutralises bad karmas, that he’ll have to suffer. But actually by surrendering unto Krishna one gets rid of karma.
H.H. Jayapataka Swami Maharaj
1983, 5th,November, SB Class @ USA