How Many Spiritual Laws Are There?


I see repeatedly the mention of Laws in our Guru’s books, like the Law of karma, reincarnation, harmony, giving, success. Is there actually a list of all the divine laws? Can you point to where if that is printed or discuss it? Are these laws just the summary of for example what Lord Krishna advises in the Bhagavad Gita? I am a practicing Hindu, and wanted to understand this better? Does this just mean that the "divine" way of doing things versus the wrong human way of working? Please clarify.

—SS, United States


Dear Friend,

You ask an interesting question. When we refer to the law of gravity, for example, we are simply referring to a cause and effect relationship that is so unfailing consistent that we bestow the title of law to it! The “Law of Karma” for example is a metaphysical version of Sir Isaac Newton’s Third Law of Motion (for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction). The Law of Duality is similar in that all “things” (emotions, actions, qualities, phenomenon) have their opposite. What would the term “light” refer to if there was never any darkness?

Thus using the term “Law” is a shortcut way of describing a phenomenon that is universal and consistent, though no law in this relative creation is absolute. There are always exceptions or situations that seem like exceptions.

Yogananda wrote a booklet called The Law of Success. Once again, this title or term implies that there are certain actions and attitudes that will provide consistent results. So far as I am aware, therefore, there is no definitive listing of all the physical or metaphysical laws such as there are for the “traffic laws” or “criminal or civil law.”

Humanity is prone to want to codify and define reality in ways that make the human experience more understandable, rational, and predictable. There’s no harm in the effort and to do so provides people with a sense of security and stability. I suppose for every human virtue someone out there will make up a law: the Law of Gratitude, for example.

If you are seeking one thing to hang the hat of your understanding upon, perhaps I could offer you this one:

In the Christian Bible at the time of Jesus Christ, there were so many religious rules (laws) that Jesus was asked to summarize the important ones. Quoting the Old Testament he said there were two: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength;” and the second one was like the first: “Love your neighbor as thyself!”

Or, from Krishna in the Bhagavad Gita (12:6-7): “For those who venerate Me only, offering to Me all their actions, their minds concentrated on Me by yoga practice, and their hearts’ feelings uplifted to Me in devotion: Such devotees I rescue from the ocean of mortality.”

Nayaswami Hriman