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Date Posted: 07:25
Author: Om - 13 June 2002
What is Karma?
The word "Karma" originates from a transitive Sanskrit verb, and means "to
do" (or act)
"For every action there is both an opposite and equal
reaction." This, as we well know, is one of the laws of
physics, attributed to Sir Isaac Newton. It is also a law of
Karma. Put more plainly, everything that we do, every action,
comes back to us in some way, shape or form. This is also the
law of Karma.
Most people feel no incentive towards work (action), if in so
doing, they will not receive any reward. Hence, they are
attatched to Karma.
The Yogi, on the other hand, in trying to be free from Karma
(both good and bad), performs actions that are appropriate at
the approprite time, yet without being desirous of the results
(i.e. rewards) of those actions. When Karma is exhausted, he is
liberated. Liberation will not result until all Karma is
Many "religious" people perform good deeds, with an eye for
getting into "heaven." They do indeed go to these higher
heavenly spheres (lokas), after death to enjoy the fruits
(rewards) of the good deeds perfomed for that aim. When,
however, the karma that earned them time in these spheres is
exhausted, they must return to earth in physical embodiment.
Therefore, heaven is not the ultimate goal of the Yogi.
There are three kinds of Karma. They are: Sanchiyaman Karma,
or actions which produce an immediate result, Sanchita Karma, or
Karma lying in wait to produce results, and Prarabdha Karma, or
Karma (action) that did not give results prior to physical
death, and therefore are transfered to the next incarnation.
Sages warn us to work to destroy all desires. This is because
if death occurs prior to the fulfillment of desires, one must
return to incarnation in order to fulfill them.
Sometimes, a person will learn that he is getting ready to
encounter/experience bad Karma. He may learn this through an
astrologer, or psychic for example. Let's say he learns that
the plane that he will board next week will go down. So he
cancels the plane reservation, and decides to drive. Has he
avoided that Karma? No.
Once, Lahri Mahasay was walking on a path with on of his
disciples. Lahiri Baba, being established in the Self, could
see what was going to happen before it happened. Suddenly he
instructed the disciple to grab a cloth for him. The disciple,
surprised, grabbed the cloth. Just then a brick, that had
become dislodged from one of the buildings they were passing by,
fell and caused a deep gash in Lahiri Baba's leg. The disciple
asked him, if he knew that was going to happen, why did he not
walk a different direction. Lahiri Baba replied that if one
avoids what is meant to happen, one has to pay back later, "with
interest." Lahiri Baba was completely beyond body-
consciousness. When he got home, his wife laughed at him...he
had tied the tourniquet to the wrong leg!
The Bhagavad Gita, held by many to be one of India's greatest
scriptures, teaches us how to live, performing actions without
expectations for results. This applies to all spheres of life,
even our sadhana.
May God crown our efforts with success. May all of our desires
be burnt in the fire of yoga.
Blessings be upon all.
a little one
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