The Proverb “As You Sow,  So Shall You Reap” Has Great Significance In Our Lives

Zile Singh IFS


As the saying goes, “ As you sow, so shall you reap”, we will be rewarded or punished according to the good or bad deeds that we do.  This proverb has a great significance in our everyday life.  Nature adheres to this principle perfectly.  Nature cannot give us mangoes from a Neem tree nor can we get grapes from a lemon tree.  The final result of any action depends upon the type of action we perform.  The result is the natural fruit of one’s action.

An act of love, kindness and compassion will not go to waste but will bring positive results, whereas an act of hatred, ill-will and jealousy will make you a niggard and despondent.  One needs to watch one’s acts and behaviour on a daily basis to be happy and successful in life.  A student who does not pay proper attention to his studies and to his health will bear the brunt of failure (academically) and ill-health.  A householder needs to perform his duty towards his profession in right earnest to earn adequate money to bring up his family and perform other obligations towards the society.  If a youth indulges in drugs or other crimes, he will not be able to succeed in life.  Sooner or later he will be behind bars.   In old age as well one is required to conduct his life as per the  good norms set by the society.

The scriptures of all religions emphasize the same thing.  Goodness is the child of good deeds and misfortune and calamities are the children of evil.  This makes it necessary that we must check consciously whether our actions are beneficial or harmful to others.    Our actions have an immediate impact on us before they affect others.  Good deeds make us happy whereas bad deeds make our conscience sad.  The choice is individual.  Sow the wind and reap the whirlwind or sow love and reap love.

In Buddhism,  “cause and effect” is a cardinal principle. But human beings today do not believe in this law and are suffering directly or indirectly by dint of unmindful actions and behaviour.  It is said:  sow honesty – reap trust;   sow goodness- reap friends;  sow humility – reap greatness;  sow perseverance – reap contentment;  sow hard work – reap success;   and sow forgiveness – reap reconciliation.

“We sow a thought and reap an act; we sow an act and reap a habit; we sow a habit and reap a character and we sow a character and reap a destiny.”

Guru Nanak fully believed in the law of Karma.  According to him, “God never wants any person to do evil action. We are bound to reap the fruits of our evil or good deeds.  We should never blame others for the result of our bad actions.   The fault lies with one’s own actions.  Whatever I did, I have obtained the fruit accordingly.”

In Hinduism the Law of Karma stipulates that if a person spreads happiness through charity, good work,  kindness and sympathetic behaviour towards others it means he is sowing the seeds of happiness for himself  in the present as well as in future life.  “ Jaisi karni vaisi bharni”.  Karamyoga literally means “discipline of action” .  Every karma will yield its fruit.

The principle of sowing and reaping is common throughout the Bible as well because it is something that humanity can relate to.  The practice of ploughing the ground to gain a harvest is as old as humanity itself.   “Whoever sows sparingly will reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.”

According to the Quran, “Allah is fair.”  It alludes to the same principle. Allah will never spare you for your bad deeds.  “A Muslim shall never leave another Muslim helpless in the time of need.  What you give, you will get it back.”

Those interested in science will also recognize and appreciate a different version of this same concept in Physics: “Action and reaction are equal and opposite.”

The story of Alexander Fleming and Winston Churchill is  a great example from modern history that validates the age-old wisdom related to  sowing and reaping.  The former, a poor young man once saved the latter, a wealthy noble, from drowning.  In return, Churchill bore the cost of Fleming’s college fee.  Fleming became a doctor and discovered Penicillin.  Churchill,  as an army officer,  was injured in the war and suffered from infection. .  He was finally cured by injecting penicillin. Both of them helped each other and were benefited by the good actions of each other, many years apart.

So be careful.  What you sow now will determine what you will reap later. And what goes around does come around!

Zile Singh is a former Ambassador(Retd.) of India and a Vipassana Meditator. He can be reached at zsnirwal@yahoo.ca .











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