How Golf taught me the laws of Karma

The tee was placed at an appropriate height. The puckered ball propped just high enough above the blades of grass to align with the sweet spot of the driver club. I shuffled the feet and placed the tee in line with the heal of my left foot. The left arm was straight as the body coiled for the shot. The breathing stopped and the downswing began as the body uncoiled to deliver a smacking blow which was to take the ball soaring across the fairway. The intent was right, but the result wasn’t. The ball shanked viciously veering dangerously off the fairway and into the rough. As the ball soared and disappeared into the rough, I knew I could do nothing about it. The rough was my destiny. No regret or remorse would undo the situation I was in.

The fourball gasped in unison. The caddy grumbled at the grim prospect of finding the ball. He resolutely ventured into the rough on a mission impossible. Finding the ball itself would be a saving grace.

I walked along the others listening to the tips of hitting a proper driver shot. A person who had shanked his driver shot and made it to the rough on the widest fairway was destined and condemned to hear the sermon meekly. There were even jokes, which hurt deep down the sensitive bottom of the soul, which I presume was near my own bottom, which flinched and tightened in seething rage.

The caddie was the only friendly soul on the course that day. He was also the one with the keenest of the eye. He beamed as he pointed at the bad news. The white ball was stuck in the tough blades of the rough. The blades were thick and menacing and seemed to clutch the ball with vengeance. My partners moved on with unapologetic apathy, engrossed in their talks and clutching the wedges for a possible chip and a putt.

The caddies face was a combination of sympathy and annoyance. May not have been the most appropriate thing to say, but the caddie could not help but remind me of my tendency of looking up, which had landed us in this deplorable situation. Not only was the ball stuck deep in the rough, I also had a tree blocking the green.

I looked at the ball, the heavy grass and the tree and then looked at the assortment of clubs in the bag. One of these clubs which I would chose would take me out of the mess. Wrong choice would worsen the already worse situation. I knew I had to be prudent.

I closed my eyes and reviewed my situation. The golf ball was calm and static lying nestled in the grass. I thought pragmatically, the last shot that brought me into this situation was a terrible one, but it had no further influence on my next shot. I knew the shot I was to play now will have a profound effect on my game. So I must choose well.

The range to the green was 150 yards. A six iron would suffice in a standard practice range conditions. But then the practice range did not have the ball lodged in the deathly grasp of the heavy grass, nor was any tree in the flight path. This situation required a prudent approach. I rejected the six iron offer by the caddie and picked the trusted nine iron. I placed my feet firmly on the heavy grass and shuffled the feet to create a firm footing. I brought my memory to the many practice shots on the practice range. Keeping the head low and eyes on the ball, I took a short slow back swing and connected with the ball and continued with the follow through keeping my eye on the vacant space left by the ball. The ball landed clear of the rough and landed in the centre of fairway well clear of the tree too. Now the green was clearly visible and in range for a pitching wedge shot. I felt more confident and sure of myself. The shank and rough were in past. My ball was lying on the green. I followed it up with a perfect lofty pitching wedge shot. It soared and landed on the green. I was walking with the putter. I was back in the game. The breeze felt good and I had time to reflect. I had just experienced the rule of Karma at work.

I experienced Karma are all three kinds, viz., Sanchita, Prarabdha and Kriyamana or Agami.

Sanchita – the accumulated Karmas of the past. My complete understanding, knowledge, skill, tendencies (including the tendency to look up) were the Sanchita Karma. I started the game with all these as part of me, the player, the clubs in my bag, the fear, the attitude and the potential.

Prarabdha – the past Karma or that portion of the Sanchita Karma which is responsible for the present. It cannot be avoided or changed. It is only exhausted by being experienced or suffering the consequence. My shank due to my tendency of looking up, landed me at the worrisome situation in the rough. It was my Prarabdha, the consequence of which I was Suffering while in the rough. I had no control on this, since the shot was already hit.

Kriyamana Karma which is now being made for the future. My selection of the wedge was the Kriyamana or Agami Karma which created the future. It was the only action which I had control of. It was the action which crafted my future purely based on my conscious effort.

That day in the rough I learnt the wisdom that we may be laden with heavy burden of the Sanchita Karma and we may be suffering the consequence of the Prarabdha Karma, we are always free to choose the Agami Karma wisely which will shape our future.

Every moment we have the freedom to make the right choice.

I always knew Golf was a spiritual journey.

The karmic heap

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