Written By: Cierra Guerra

I feel my spirit in the leaves
I’m falling falling in the breeze
I let you lead me and let you guide me where you want me to go.
Where I’ll end up only you know.
I had started to think that I belonged on the tree.
But know I let you guide me, I flow in you and I’m free.
You dip me in the river and I begin to flow.
And I sink down down way down low.
I was starting to think I belonged on the tree. That I belonged in the breeze.
But now I feel you, Water, all around me.
I’m wet, I’m soaked in your embrace.
Then slowly slowly, you let me slip away.
It’s cold, it’s dark, and I’m afraid.
But I trust you, still, I trust you anyways.
You guide me back to the shore,
You say you’ll miss me.
I say I’ll miss you more.
Now I belong to the soil:
barren, worn, and tired,
And I’m ground to dust, and dust to the ground.
I stare up at the trees.
I watch one leaf become loose in the breeze.
And so the story repeats.
Are any of us really free?
-karma meets me and it greets me.
It helps me find love,
And let’s my spirit soar high up above.
But then it takes me and it breaks me til I think I’m at my end,
And then it takes me and it makes me begin all over again.
But maybe this time, if I was good, I will be bigger- I will be the tree,
Or take me to Varanasi
And set my spirit free in the Ganges.
-CMG 07/07/16

I’ve been thinking about karma a lot these past few days and what it means
here in India versus what the implied meaning and use is of the term karma is
in the States.

Karma here in India implies being part of a cycle of life in which the concept
is, “You get what you deserve.” That includes both good and bad. If you live a
good life and are a good Hindu person, then you get to have a good next life
maybe be a Brahmin or at least better than you were before. However if you led
a bad life you might be a lower caste member or a insect that gets crushed or
something else bad. This concept plays a lot into how Hindus treat each other
as well. They don’t feel as bad for lower caste members because of the idea
that they probably did something in their past life to deserve the life they
have now. However it is important to recognize that karma is both good and bad
and not just bad as westerners often stress the bad.
Another concept of karma is to find love. Which is a pretty beautiful concept
of you think of repeating your life, or going through your life in order to
find the love of your life.

Karma in the western world however only really emphasizes the, “You get what
you deserve concept.” Like how the idea of karma allows the Hindus to overlook
the injustices of the lower castes, so karma in the States allows for a lack
of mercy and a bitterness to harbor in people’s hearts. It does take away from
some of the getting revenge aspect when someone commits a wrong against you,
so instead of getting revenge you say life will get back at them for it
basically. It allows you to release it to the world or to God, but it makes
you hold on to the injustice longer than needed. A lot of people in the states
don’t even know the true meanings and originations of karma.

Karma is a religious term, and the biggest aspect of it has to do with
repeating your life until you get it right. From the Christian perspective
this looks like a tiresome cycle that is based on deeds, while Christians are
saved by grace through Jesus because we would never be able to achieve heaven
on our own. There is a lot of comfort in that. However, to a Hindu karma keeps
things in alliance with doing good and treating others right, but a lot of
Hindu’s are tired of the cycle and go to Varanasi and the Ganges, the holy
city of India, in order to die in the city and then have their ashes-or body
depending on how they died, spread in the river, which allows them to get out
of the cycle of Karma. Which is just a city and just a river in our
perspective. It would be like going to Jerusalem and the Jordan and expecting
to be saved but never knowing Jesus. But for the Hindu it is access to their
god and to heaven and an escape from karma.
Karma is more than just a saying, it is an inspiration for the Hindu to lead a
good life in order to avoid bad karma, and it is an inspiration to the
Christian to pray and to be grateful for our salvation through Christ. Because
we don’t get what we deserve, we get Jesus and for that we should be grateful
and continue to do good deeds like sharing this love, forgiveness, and mercy.

With the love of Christ,
Cierra Guerra

Study Abroad
 Ken Friesen

Ken Friesen

India 2016