Somewhere I seem to think I once read the line “Karma is the mechanical expiation of sin.” I mentioned it in my book and seemed to think it came from Tolstoy.
There was a time when I loved that quote and it seemed to explain everything about life’s difficulties. I took it to mean that the universe wanted you to renounce vanity, ambition, and pride, and embrace God. Voluntary renouncement would be best, an act of grace. But if you didn’t renounce voluntarily, then karma, the everyday causal workings of the universe, would slowly and mechanically grind away at your vanities, flaying off your skin of pride and self-importance until you submitted.
I’m not sure I like it as much anymore. But either way, I’ve never been able to find that line anywhere, despite many web searches. I know I didn’t hallucinate it, but I don’t know where it came from.