Note: This article is part of the series ‘Is Harry Potter A Series For Kids?’
Karma (कर्म) is a Sanskrit word which literally means action, work or deed. It also has spiritual meaning. In Hinduism and Buddhism Karma means the sum of a person’s actions in this and previous states of existence, viewed as deciding their fate in future existences. (The aforementioned meaning is according to Google dictionary.) It also has a day-to-day meaning. Good or bad luck, viewed as resulting from one’s actions.
In our not-so-fancy, day-to-day words, Karma means, “What goes around, comes around.”
The other day I was just browsing the net with no specific purpose, when I came across a Harry Potter fan fiction named Karma. It had nothing to do with whatever I am going to write next, but the fanfic’s title triggered something in me. Some instances from the books came to me and I began to wonder if Karma played its part in the series.
These are just few instances which I can think of. There are many other instances I am sure we all can come up with if we seriously apply our mind. Along with proving the words, ‘What goes around, comes around’, it also proves Newton’s Third Law of Motion, “For every action, there is equal and opposite reaction” true. You just don’t know when the reaction will come. But come it will, and that too when you are least expecting it.
For instance when Harry was feeling down in the dumps because Peter Petttigrew had managed to escape at the end of Harry Potter and The Prisoner Of Azkaban.
Harry sat down in his vacated chair, staring glumly at the floor. He heard the door close and looked up. Dumbledore was still there. “Why so miserable, Harry?” he said quietly. “You should be very proud of yourself after last night.”
“It didn’t make any difference,” said Harry bitterly. “Pettigrew got away.”
“Didn’t make any difference?” said Dumbledore quietly. “It made all the difference in the world, Harry. You helped uncover the truth. You saved an innocent man from a terrible fate.” ….
… “And then she sort of became normal again, and she couldn’t remember anything she’d said. Was it… was she making a real prediction?
Dumbledore looked mildly impressed. “Do you know, Harry, I think she might have been,” he said thoughtfully. “Who’d have thought it? That brings her total of real predictions up to two. I should offer her a pay raise. . . .”
“But …” Harry looked at him, aghast. How could Dumbledore take this so calmly?
“But I stopped Sirius and Professor Lupin from killing Pettigrew! That makes it my fault if Voldemort comes back!”
“It does not,” said Dumbledore quietly. “Hasn’t your experience with the Time-Turner taught you anything, Harry? The consequences of our actions are always so complicated, so diverse, that predicting the future is a very difficult business indeed. . . . Professor Trelawney, bless her, is living proof of that. . . . You did a very noble thing, in saving Pettigrew’s life.”
“But if he helps Voldemort back to power … !”“Pettigrew owes his life to you. You have sent Voldemort a deputy who is in your debt. . . . When one wizard saves another wizard’s life, it creates a certain bond between them . . . and I’m much mistaken if Voldemort wants his servant in the debt of Harry Potter.”
“I don’t want a connection with Pettigrew!” said Harry. “He betrayed my parents!”
“This is magic at its deepest, its most impenetrable, Harry. But trust me . . . the time may come when you will be very glad you saved Pettigrew’s life.”
–Harry Potter And The Prisoner Of Azkaban
When Professor Dumbledore suggested that Harry should be proud of what did the previous night, he learnt that Harry thought that whatever he had done the previous night did not matter as Pettigrew had managed to escape. Harry was actually feeling bad because he had stopped Sirius and Professor Lupin from killing Peter.
That is when Professor Dumbledore suggests that there may come a time when Harry will glad that he had saved Peter’s life. Even though Harry found it rather difficult to believe, Professor Dumbledore managed console, if not convince him. Did Professor Dumbledore know the future? Did he foresee the exact moment when Harry would be glad that Peter was alive?
I doubt that. Albus Dumbledore was a highly gifted wizard. But I seriously doubt whether his many gifts and talents included the ability to predict the future. He was most certainly not a Seer. But he was a great visionary. He was a wise old man who did not know exactly what circumstances would lead to Harry being glad that he saved Peter, but did know that, that time will come.
As we all know that time came years later in the basement of the Malfoy Mansion where Harry and his friends were held prisoners. Peter Pettigrew was sent to investigate the noise which was Dobby disappariting with Luna, Dean and Ollivander. When he realised that half the prisoners were missing, he tried to strangle Harry. Harry reminded him of how he had saved his life. Peter’s silver hand, the gift from his master turned on him because of a slight impulse of pity, he let go of Harry’s throat.
It is ironic that Peter Pettigrew should have died, no doubts involuntarily, to save the only son of the very friends he had betrayed. It is ironic that he should have died to save the same boy who was in danger all those years ago and whose life had held no importance to Peter. For him his own skin was far more important than that of his best friend’s only son.
Voldemort was never really interested in killing Lily and James particularly. He wanted to end them because, he thought their son would be the reason for his downfall and ultimately his death. And since no sane parent would stand aside and watch a maniac kill their child, their death was inevitable. The Fidelius charm was essentially put for Harry’s protection. Peter was made the secret-keeper to Harry’s location. And it was for Harry that he was not willing to endanger his life. In the end it was for Harry’s protection he died, albeit involuntarily.
The next instance that comes to my mind is the scene that took place in the graveyard in Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire. Lord Voldemort’s rebirth.
To be continued…