As far as karma is concerned, even though certain acts can be confidently deemed to be "right" or "wrong" (like rape, child abuse, etc.), most deeds cannot be determined as "right" or "wrong" based on the deed alone. There is no objective or absolute theory here in most cases like "you do this, and you get punished like this, you do that, your reward is that". In spirituality, punishment/reward for a particular karma is not totally dependant on the act alone, but on the circumstance and degree of pain/suffering inflicted on the opposite person.
There are lot of factors that influence the punishment/reward for an act, with the same act deserving different levels of punishments/rewards under different circumstances. So 2 people committing the same act can be punished/rewarded differently according to difference in circumstances. Say for instance, lets take the example of a small "good" deed of feeding a hungry man. A man feeds 2 people at 2 different instances, 1) His colleague who forgot to bring his tiffin. 2) A random begger on the streets, who hasnt had food for 2 days. Though your act is the same, i.e., feeding the hungry, but you gain more brownie points for the 2nd act compared to the 1st. This is because, the satisfaction that a man gains when he gets food after being hungry for 2 days, not even knowing whether he would be able to eat the third day, and the satisfaction your colleague got not having to skip one meal, knowing for SURE he will be able to have something after couple of hours, is different. Though the meal (and the act) of the doer is the same, the satisfaction level of the helped one is different. Definitely the beggar would have been more satisfied owing to 2 days of hunger, and uncertainity the 3rd day.
Similarly, 2 men cheat their respective girlfriends the EXACT same way. But as far as the 1st one is concerned, his girlfriend was not serious about him, so even though she realized she was cheated, she was able to forget the whole thing and move on quickly, say in a week's time. But as far as the 2nd man is concerned, his girlfriend loved him sincerely and was 100% committed to him. When she realized this, it wasnt that easy for her to forget everything, and move on. Now in both these circumstances, though the act committed by both the guys are the SAME, but the 2nd one would be punished severely than the 1st one, as the intensity of pain/suffering inflicted by him on the victim is more as compared to the 1st one.
Then another thing is, sometimes wrong perceptions of "right" and "wrong" can lead innocent people to do wrong things in life. So in such cases, the degree of punishment for the bad karma would not be as great as that would be for a person who commits the SAME karma, knowing it is WRONG.
Take the case of suicide bombers, why would ANYONE agree to sacrifice their own life willingly for whatever the reason might be? They are brainwashed to believe what they are doing is truly noble, and is what they are SUPPOSED to be doing. Though their action is wrong, but while doing it, they dont consider themselves wrong as they believe they are doing all this for a selfless good. So here too, punishments would be subjective taken into account these factors.
I heard there is a book called "Hitler went to heaven". Thats based on this argument I guess, as Hitler never thought what he did was wrong, he thought he had a "right" purpose behind everything he was doing. But "collective consciousness" of so many people was what ultimately determined his karma to be wrong/bad.
So like they say, there is someone sitting up there and maintaining the "Karma book of Accounts" for each of us, its HE who decides whats right/wrong, and what punishments/rewards need to be finalised for each person/deed, based on various connecting factors. "Karma book of Accounts" would be like a Trial Balance or Balance Sheet
...when we do good deeds, its written on one side, and bad deeds on the other. Eventually when we die, our account is closed and an audit is conducted based on which our karmas (good and bad) are finalised, and horoscope for the next life written.
Edited by *dewdrop~pearl* - 20 September 2011 at 8:58am