The Ways of Karma


Every object in this universie is endowed with four characterstics — dharma, karma, prema and gyana. Of these, karma is the most talked about and the most misunderstood. The Bhagavad Gita says ‘Gahna Karmanyo Gathi‘, which means unfathomable are the ways of karma and yet it seems to be the only logic to explain this whole ¬†creation, its existence and the cycle of life and death.

Karma is beyond all logic and reasoning. The more you understand it, the more amazed you are. It causes people to be together or separate. It causes some to be weak and some to be strong. It makes some rich and others pooor. The literal meaning of karma is ‘action’. There are three types of karma — prarabha, sanchita and agami. The first is the latent karma which is karma as an impression or seed of action. The second is karma as an action, and the third is karma as a result.

Prarabha means ‘begun’; the action that is already manifesting and that is yielding its effect right now. You cannot avoid it or change it, as it is already happening. Sanchita is the gathered up or piled up karma, It is latent or manifested in the form of a tendency or impression in the mind. Sanchita karma can be burned off by spiritual practices before it manifests. Agami karma is the future karma of the action; that which has not yet come and which will take effect in the future. If you commit a crime, you may not get caught today, but will live with the possibility that, one day you may get caught.

Karma is also always bound by time, because every action has a limited reaction. If you do something good to people they will come to thank you and be grateful to you as long as they are experiencing the effect of your action.

If is often asked, “Why do good people suffer?” No good action will yield a bad result and no bad action will bring a god result. This is the law of karma. As you sow, so shall you reap.

Karma is that which propels reincarnation. Why are some people born in a very violent environment and others in comfortable environment? The stronger the impression, the greater the possibility of the next life being according to that . So, often you reincarnate like the person you hate or love. The mind which is full of different impressions leaves this body but the impressions wait for a proper situation to come back. So it is the last thought that is very important. Whatever you do throughout your life, in the last moment your mind should be free and happy.

Getting rid of karma means getting rid of impressions. Some karma can be changed and some cannot. As human beings we have the ability to erase fear through meditation. If you meditate, become hollow and empty, whatever the fear is will just dissolve and disappear.

Our perception of suffering, of good and bad, is always relative. God is absolute reality; witness of all. See God as a movie director, rather than as a judge. He has no ill feeling for the villain and no special favour for the hero. Each one is playing his role. Live with the karma and not be attached to it. Awareness, alertness, knowledge and meditation will help erase past impressions. It has the strenght to dissolve and destroy any karma and bring freedom to you.

— Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

The Speaking Tree, Page No: 18, 13, April, 2011