Ancient science: Defining work done (Karma)
In this blog of the series of exploring science in ancient scriptures, I will talk about the definition of “work done” as per these scriptures. In the previous blog, I had defined Logic or saMkhya and explained how an “adaptive algorithm” was established based on the series of changes and how this adaptive algorithm drives the establishing of the logic during the rise of the self path of existence. Once established, I had explained how the roles reverse and the logic drives the changes that are picked up to be included in the self-path of existence. The question that arises from this is, “is the logic rigid and henceforth does not change?” If so, how then does the self-path go towards fading and becomes non-existence? This is where “work done” or “karma” comes into picture.
The definition of work done in modern science is limited purely to moving objects from one location in space to the next location in space. In fact movement of an object across the frames or slices of time is not independently studied or recognised. It is assumed that work needs to be done only for motion across space. But, this is not so from the ancient science view. It should be recognised that to move across space, movement across time frames is a necessity.
From the previous blogs, we saw that in ancient scripture, the base of individual matter is a network that consisted of observables connected together by bonds. This network is changing at different rates at different points. If these changes can be followed through with a certain logic at some given point, we have a self-path established which defines existence. It should be recognised that if that self-path of existence has to be sustained, then energy has to be consumed to maintain the motion of self-path. So, what do we call this consumption of energy? What does this consumption of energy do to the self-path? Does it just maintain the path with the logic as is?
Which brings us to the question, what is work done or karma? Karma, as I have indicated in the translation of Bhagavad Gita’s Karma Yoga, is work done to move the observable from one time frame to the next time frame, incident to it can be the movement from one point to another point in space. But, when we read the Surya Siddanta, this definition is given a small twist. In the 56th verse of chapter 1, it tells us:
“This expanse approaches from turbulent to concise process through movement of thought, is work connected to acquired seeking.”
The seeking that is talked about here is related to the “picking up of the changes that match the logic or saMkhya established”. The logic or saMkhya as I have described previously is an adaptive algorithm established based on the continuously occurring series of changes. From the above verse, it seems to imply, that the logic is undergoing a change to go towards establishing an “optimal process”. The question that naturally arises is “what is optimal in this case?” After all, we are looking at an adaptive algorithm, so any algorithm can be considered optimal?
Going back to our example with series of numbers from the previous blog:
“For e.g., if we take a series of numbers that are being revealed one by one and we want to understand what the algorithm of the series is, we need to have an adaptive algorithm. Say the first three numbers revealed are “1, 1, 2” and we have to guess what the next number in the series is. We can guess it to be either 2 or 3. If it was 2, the series could have progressed as “1, 1, 2, 2, 3, 3” and if it was 3, the series could have progressed as “1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8”. So, the algorithm adapts itself based on the next number revealed in the series of numbers.”
According to the ancient scripture, after a 100 thoughts have passed, the logic is established and subsequently there is a seeking of thoughts that match the logic established. In our case above say that the established logic after 6 numbers have passed is “1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8” or the Fibonacci series, then, subsequently, the logic seeks out a number that matches the logic. So, the next number sought is 13. This has to be sought from a base “series”. Let’s say, that the base series from which this logic is sought is the “integer set”. So, we have a base set of numbers as (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 …. ). Thus the logic to seek the next in this series has to pass through 4 numbers in the base set (9, 10, 11 and 12) before reaching 13. So, the algorithm can be written as “take the next number in base series”, “compare to expected number”, “If matches then add it to the series as the next number”, “otherwise repeat the steps”. This is the most basic logic which is un-optimal, since it traverses all the numbers in the base set. Else, the logic can just be written as “pick up the previous number”, “skip the <previous number – 1> locations in the base series”, “pick up the number at the next location”. Meaning skip “4 locations” in the base series and pick up the number in the 5th location. For the next number “skip 7 locations” and pick up the number in the 8th location. These steps will be more optimal than the first algorithm. While it seems obvious to us when we see it from external view, such an optimal logic to something that is being established has to “go through a process to get the optimal algorithm”, similar to our learning algorithms.
According to our ancient scriptures, it says that once the logic has been established, a “concise or optimal process” is established to pick up changes that match the established logic of the self-path or existence through various thoughts that are present in the base network. This establishing of an optimal process is called “work done” or “karma”. Also to be noted is that it is associated with a “seeking” and not a self-path. My take is that the “established logic” can change across the life of a self-path or existence.
Karma is usually referred to as something occurring over which we have no control and typically this is attributed to “past actions”. In a way, when we look at the above definition and compare it to the notions that have arisen, it seems correct. Since, we cannot change what is occurring because it is optimising the logic that has been established, which is in the past and cannot be changed. What is changing is just the process of following that logic to pick up the next change. If we want to change the “work done or karma”, what we need to do is change the established logic.