The Karma Controversy
Everything about Karma is a controversial enigma, in fact. The meaning of it is as loose as a ship without an anchor, and its mysterious origins have been disputed by academicians all over the world; indeed the debate goes on.
For the record, if the meaning of a word is uncertain it's that its origin can't be tracked down, in the first place.
Anyway, might you say, so many words we use everyday are just as cryptic; so, what's so hot about this one?
Ah, yes. But very few of them carry as much prestige as Karma; find out why that is as you read this controversial piece of writing, which has been forbidden until now.
The meaning of Karma has baffled every lexicographer since Webster, varying all the way from a native cooking recipe of India to the famous Kama Sutra, a kind of ancient eroticism also from India—and some modern experts have even related Karma to a widely popular TV series no one seems to recall (that's why they make movies into series actually, so you remember what happened last time as soon as next episode gets started, which takes about 20 minutes.)
This is all so confusing. Yet lexicographers (academicians who write the dictionary) are serious people—they are even called philologists in fact, one of the best nickname in this business. Philo is your friend, not someone to confuse you on purpose.
Western etymologists have been divided on what to make of Karma ever since the word came to Europe—either through the British or the French, most agree altho that claim is now disputed by Spanish scholars, as we shall see.
Usually when the meaning of a word is uncertain the thing to do is check its origin, a process called Etymology in academic circles. Well, every word today has been demystified by this procedure, except Karma; no one really knows where or when that word first appeared, let alone how it came into the English language, and in this case the experts themselves admit to being at a loss, except most agree it is a foreign word of Oriental origin, that is, without an equivalent Greek or Latin root which most European, including English words have.
Trouble is Asia is the biggest place on Earth, stretching all the way from the Mediterranean to the Pacific—which explains why map-makers had to split the Orient into Middle and Far East, to prevent geopolitical confusion (because Oriental could mean anywhere in Central Europe or along the West Coast of America, actually.)
Thus among those scholars who believe Karma to be just a trendy variant of Korma, the famous cooking recipe of Oriental origin, some say Karma is a traditional Chicken Dish imported from the Middle East by the British who first discovered it there in the Region at about the time of Lawrence of Arabia—the man who made Lebanese cooking fashionable in the West.
Though contested this theory holds good insofar as the Middle East has been called The Region by political analysts and reporters, ever since.
According to other academicians however, Korma is a traditional recipe from the Far East, and not necessarily a chicken specialty but a kind of adaptive sauce which, they say, goes well with any meat or seafood—Curry, the Indian housewives call it, for lack of better word, so versatile is this sauce. Apparently this same versatility would explain various English expressions either relating to or replacing curry, such as It's getting hot in here. Not that curry is always hot. Also you can say Oh, Dear, what a mess, instead of Oh, Dear, what a curry, and that word can also mean being in a fix, when we're in trouble and can't tell who started it—especially if you don't know what else to call it, because curry could mean almost anything actually. Such a versatile word is Curry, which begat Korma—and Karma would be a corruption of that exotic sauce, so to speak.
But more recent scholars seem to have realised that Karma has nothing to do with cooking, it's just the name of a popular TV series that never got off the ground—probably because, some say, the meaning of Karma is much too vague to have any real market-value, altho most word-power experts today believe the real reason Karma never picked up in the West is that it ties in with Retribution which, according to the Indian philosophy of Reincarnation is a kind of debt we owe from our Past Lives.
According to some of the 20th Century most eminent dictionary-makers however, the term Karma only ever came into the English language after the Hippies returned from Katmandu, which is in the Far East.
Though somewhat more likely this explanation has been rejected by 21st Century word-power experts, on grounds that last century's academic people only went by the ordinary dictionary and never even knew of word-power, and so their definitions could not very well be realistic.
The connection between Karma and the Hippies has since received wide acclaim, nonetheless—except a number of European powers gave the theory the cold shoulder, arguing that their own navigators definitely reached the whole Far East 500 years before the Hippy Era.
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