What is Karma?-I

(Written on the eve of Holi, the celebration day with the transmission of ethereal, astral rays of Swami Nityananda’s kind grace . A gift of revelation, insight and clearing of the cloudy dust of ignorance by the symbolic fires of Holika on an auspicious day)

Cave of rishi Ved Vyasa. The cave is in the shape of a book!

Once I had gone on a pilgrimage a few years ago in the Himalayan region. I have had the wonderful  opportunity of sitting in silence in the cave of the great rishi Ved Vyas in a village called Mana near Badrinath.

Sage Ved Vyas is the writer of Holy Bhagwat Gita, the brilliant book on self realization and knowledge of the Supreme. It was there that I had a brief unspoken mental communication with the spirit of the rishi. I was informed that I was a blessed soul because it is with the kripa or grace of Swami Nityananda that I was able to comprehend the doctrine of Karma although theoretically I had understood it on the surface long time ago. I have been able to understand since then the meaning of shlokas, verses  of Gita far better and learnt how our actions have an effect on us now and in future and hence in turn changing the course of lives to come.

It is true that since I took sanctuary in Swami  Nityananda of Ganeshpuri for spiritual and worldly solace,  I have been able to understand the ideology of Karma and correspondingly also its demonstration in practical life cases.

He has  since the time of my establishing immense faith in him, revealed and explained in detail with examples in my everyday life the working of the cause and effect, the meaning of Karma and karmafal, fruits of our actions and how one’s life depends, shapes, re-moulds on the karmas that we perform. And even so, why and what for are we distressed or enjoying the present life phase with clarity and exactitude.

All along in my life predominantly during lean periods, I used to become desperate and anxious to control the flow of adverse circumstances by altering my own thoughts positively, but all  in vain. It was during such times that I reflected on how one can have control of his life and how not to allow ill effects of past actions to impact me gravely. The earnest desire to have a control over my life led me to believe and trust that there is a master key to all this and the saints are the knower of this riddle called karma. Not only that, they are even possessors of the master key to this  serious puzzling riddle I soon understood.

My intense search and thereafter serendipitous turn of events, took me to Ganeshpuri in those days where I was blessed by His holiness Swami Nityananda who gave me silent initiation or deeksha right at the outset by awakening my intuitive faculties. In the course of this process, He sharpened my sixth sense by clearing my mind of the cobwebs of past karmic influences. Since then, He has been bestowing on me the puzzling knowledge of karma and as each day passes, I get a clearer insight on what happens when we do a particular action and how we suffer because of the imminent consequences. And simultaneously which actions are to be performed, what attitude should be kept and what decision should be taken based on the given insight. Which actions should I perform, which one should I never even think of, leave alone do, and which ones will give me lasting happiness and joy? How can I not have desire or ego yet do my duties so that I am able to offer every bit of my action to the Supreme? All these philosophical questions which were always haunting me have been thoroughly answered by Nityananda Baba’s graciousness during meditation and lull state of mind. Dear friends, here is a gist of that knowledge which I happily wish to share with all of you now. And to embark on this great voyage, I will  first quote two relevant quotes from the Holy Bhagwad Gita Chapter -4

Kim karma kimkarmaeti kavyoapyatra mohita I

Tatte karma pravkshyami yagygyatva mokshyaseshubhat II 16

What is action and what is inaction? Even men of intelligence are puzzled over this question. Therefore I shall expound to you the truth about action, knowing which you will be freed from its evil effects, its binding nature.

Karmano huapi bodhvyam ch vikarmana: I

Akarmanashch bodhvyam gahana karmano gati: II 17

The truth about action must be known and the truth about inaction also must be known; even so the truth about prohibited action must be known. For mysterious are its ways.

First of all let us consider three important terms which are in Sanskrit in verse no.17.  They are – karma, vikarma and akarma.

Karma literally means ‘to do’. Karma means an action or an activity that we perform.

Vikarma are the prohibited actions called sins or paap in Hindi. Paap are of three types-  paap, mahapaap and jaghanya paap. These are sins in increasing order and in intensity and therefore severe punishment is ordained by the lord through nature.( Refer  post-How to live today-?)

Akarma means non attachment to an action, doing what is right for us at that moment by submitting our desire, will or ego and being unaffected by its following outcome, knowing completely well that it is in our best interest although at that moment our mind may not be at rest and we might have doubts on the abilities of God’s power.  This is the main underlying principle, the essence of the sacred book Gita where Bhagwan Krishna preaches Arjuna not to worry about the consequences of his actions and do whatever Krishna tells him because Krishna is antaryami, the knower of all the buried thoughts, the knower of all our past and future lives. Being akarmi or non doer is a state of mind, it is the door to heaven, a means to gain stability of mind, the secret of enjoying uninterrupted joy and a release from appalling effects in the form of sorrow, gloom, mental tension, pain, misfortune, poverty etc in future.

Our actions are performed in three ways- physically, verbally and mentally Kayic, vachic,, mansik respectively.

Out of all these, maximum karmas are created by an individual mentally and quietly by thinking evil thoughts, manipulating and scheming, planning ill of others, jealousy, distrust and other such damaging thought processes. Actions based on such thoughts unquestionably construct negative results either now or in future. These karmas are termed mansik karmas. Simultaneously positive karmas are also created mentally when we visualize positively, do constructive things for the welfare of all and wish well for others.

As humans are more prone to create negative karmas mentally, the solution to this is meditation and other concentration techniques to stop wavering and running of mind. The mind is fidgety by nature but a calm and contolled mind provokes us to act wisely and think prudently.

Vachik karmas are those actions which are performed verbally.

Draupadi called Duryodhana a blind man undecidedly and alas she had to go through such terrible times since she had to face untold hardships later in her life although she regretted her unthinking act. Most of us speak whatever we feel like unaware that every word is being recorded, good or bad. ‘Think before you speak’ is a very significant line to remember as this piece of wisdom is very helpful in all circumstances.

Kayic- Kaya in Sanskrit means body hence it is simple to understand that actions performed by the body means kayic karma.   Gita  is more explicit when it is said that actions are performed with karam indriya, i.e. The organs of actions are hands, legs, sex organs, and the rest of the four senses. Actions performed with tongue is in the category of vachik karma.

So Lord Krishna advices Arjuna that although the mind is extremely restless and almost impossible to control, you can curb it by bringing it back to a still point repeatedly and by being dispassionate towards worldly attachments- that is do abhyas and vairagya. Abhyas means practice and vairagya means dispassion.

As maximum karmas are constructed clandestinely with the mind, it is repeatedly stressed by the saints to control the mind and the senses. So remembrance of God, meditation, silencing and controlling the mind by stopping it from running here and there by various  techniques  is a good karma.                                                                                                                 (To be continued)

4 Responses to What is Karma?-I

  1. Shahid says:

    Blessed to see the picture of cave of Sage Ved Vyasa and to read this post on Karma. Thank you soooooo much Bhagwan Nityananda, Sri Babaji and all other great sages.

  2. Mandira says:

    Dear amma,
    Reading some of your old posts.

    “maximum karmas are created by an individual mentally and quietly by thinking evil thoughts, manipulating and scheming, planning ill of others, jealousy, distrust and other such damaging thought processes. ”
    -Hadnt realised that.

    “the solution to this is meditation and other concentration techniques to stop wavering and running of mind.”
    – so its meditate, meditate and meditate some more?🙂

    “abhyas means practice and vairagya means dispassion.”
    – How does one attain vairagya? Is it driven by wisdom and understanding?

    • spiritinlife says:

      Dear Mandira, I appreciate your interest in reading older posts for your progress. This chapter is of utmost importance because unless a person knows what he/she should be doing and what to refrain from, he/she is sure to have a life of unhappiness, torment and grief. It is because the Spiritual Masters have the key to all the Knowledge of the Unknown and they advise us to refrain from undesirable actions so that our life is full of grace, peace, calmness, contentment, mental rest, prosperity with wisdom and faith in God. Basically a life of blessedness and not the opposite.
      Dispassion comes from wisdom and wisdom is achieved with the blessings of the holy Teachers.
      If you first learn to disassociate your mind from the attraction power of Maya, you will arrive at dispassion. For eg, if somone is attracted to do something impulsive and/or has lackadaisical ideas, he should first contemplate on all the pros and cons, weigh them and then decide rather than get attracted to something without thinking many times-like peeling off the sheaths of onion. In this way, we slowly learn to be more dispassionate and reasonable in our approach. Where most of the people go wrong is they never sit down calmly to think of the after effects of their decisions or actions. There will be many things in the world that blind people so being dispassionate will avoid those bad effects of their actions.
      Meditation is the technique that calms down the unruly mind so the more in control it is, the better it will be for us.
      Now read the next two posts for more detailed information on this and come back to me please.

  3. midhunpk210 says:

    Hari ohm,

    great article about karma, At the same time the writings telling the importance of meditation to fix the mind.

    sarika ji, thanks a lot🙂

    Kind Regards,
    Midhun PK

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