Karma is a principle of causality in many Asian religions that maintains for every act done, no matter how insignificant, it will eventually return to the doer with equal or greater impact. Good will be returned with good and evil with evil. You know the lines, “what goes around comes around,” “reap what you sow,” and “do unto others…”
I was driving in Anchorage, AK on the main downtown one-way street and stopped at a red light. I was the only car at the intersection. As my car’s front bumper barely crossed the first of the large white lines of the pedestrian cross-walk, I looked down the empty street. Ten adolescent ravens were fighting over a piece of road-kill on the line between the traffic lanes. Each of the teenagers pecked at each other, flapped their wings, jumped back and forth, and puffed out their chests trying to out tough the others and move up the “pecking order” of their gang. From the distance I could only imagine the cawing and raucous chatter this foolish flock was making. Suddenly, a huge eighteen-inch high ruler of the skies gladiator raven swooped down into the center of the teenagers to seize the road-kill prize from these obvious squabbling children. He jumped into the middle of the childish chest puffing and and flapped his wings and shoved aside the less-than half sized teens. He pecked at them, jumped up and down, and cawed loudly up into the sky that he was the ruler of these skies and he was going to take what he wanted. The adolescents dances around and tried to sneak up behind him and attempt a half-hearted peck at the king as he whirled around and to bat them away with his huge wing proclaiming his reign and control over the free meal on the street.
The light turned green and my lone car picked up speed and headed down the street towards the fracas. My car was now going 35 miles per hour and as I neared the battle. The huge raven in a show of grandeur jumped into the air, chest out, cawing loudly, and wings flapping to show the teens his superiority and magnitude. As I drove by the battle, the huge bird suddenly lurched back in the air directly in the path of my side of the windshield. As his head hit the glass I saw the terror in his eye as he looked directly at me. His neck twisted back over his shoulder and left wing snapped in half as his eye and left side of his head flattened against the smooth surface. He rolled up and over the top of my car ending up in the middle of the lane. Just as quickly as he had attacked the teenagers, the ten punks pounced on him and finished him off with their beaks, cawing and flapping as they celebrated their mortally wounded adversary.
This Karmic lesson took less than a minute and has lasted a life-time with me. As John Lennon once wrote:
Instant Karma’s gonna get you
Gonna knock you right on the head
You better get yourself together
Pretty soon you’re gonna be dead
What in the world you thinking of
Laughing in the face of love
What on earth you tryin’ to do
It’s up to you, yeah you