Finally, it is

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

The Science of Karma

In simple terms, Karma is what we do. The concept of doer ship is based on the participation of the doer in the event. When you participate or react fully in the situation, you get good or bad impression of that event. In both cases, your mind builds a picture, an image, a belief based on that event. Your collective behavior pattern is then based on your belief system - what you have built over possibly countless lifecycles. This mind is called biased mind, not a pure one. What we call Sanskara or Basic nature of any person is these impressions in mind. (Though in truth, basic nature of all is Self only.) It is the impressions of our past deeds that decide how we react in present.

The theory of Karma is perfect and works on all. You do well and reap good fruits. You do bad and reap bad fruits. Many people complain that there is no justice in this world as it seems people engaged in good activities are suffering and people engaged in bad activities are enjoying. This however is not the case. We must understand that suffering and joy is seen with reference to mind situation and not to external situations. If a person is doing some work with doer ship, he will bind some good or bad fruits with it. Whatever good or bad fruit he might get, he has increased his bondage by adding more to his mind impressions. The next time any situation arises, he will interpret it from his mind impressions (biased mind) and react. That might add few new impressions. And the cycle continues. Anything that increases your bondage is suffering. Anything that sets you free is joy. In this way, all the works, done with pure consciousness doesn’t reap any fruits - good or bad as you see situation as it is. No distorted interpretations, no identification with previous mind impressions, no reaction. So, no bondage, all joy. Therefore, suffering or joy is not external, it is all internal. Situations don’t define you. Your internal state defines you. No one can tell whether you are suffering or joyful due to any situation. Only you know that because you feel that. There might be a terrible monetary or emotional loss for you. But internally, you are your original calm self. Are you suffering? Not at all. In this regard, good activity is activity done with consciousness and bad activity is activity done with unconsciousness. Conscious people do not suffer because of this.

Now, opposite to that, when people are engaged in unconscious activities, their joyous state doesn’t last long as nothing that is not real lasts long. The seed of ignorance is the cause of suffering. It doesn’t matter when the suffering manifests in your life. It may need some situation to surface. However, your suffering already begins the moment you act unconsciously.

When you suffer, people say “It is because of your past Karma”. Very True!! In past, you have not been so conscious to see the truth behind any event and has formed some impression in your mind (about good, bad, true, false, everything). Now, you interpret present event with this impressions in your mind. If you find it acceptable, you are joyful. If not, you are suffering. Had you not been ignorant in past and known for sure that you suffer only because of your doer ship and only you are at fault if you suffer, you might not have got the pain you get from this event. There is one another concept saying:” You get suffering from somebody because in previous life you have done similar thing to him. You should be happy to know that now the Karmic bondage between both of you is released.” I am not yet very clear about this concept to comment further.

It is said that the fruits of the actions in this life is reaped in the next life. For me, it is not necessary that next life is next incarnation only. We live in present moment. Out next moment is metaphorically our next life only. Therefore, if we are joyful and conscious in this moment, the fruit of that are more joy and consciousness in next moments (life). If we are unconscious and ignorant, the fruit of that action is more unconsciousness in next moments. Consciousness draws more consciousness and ignorance brings more ignorance.

How then one can burn the accumulated Karma? Through consciousness and knowledge. The mind impressions get cleared when the truth is realized. Once you find any such Vritti or Sanskara in you, you practice sincerely to remove that Vritti in the light of consciousness. Once you overcome it, you have burnt the seed of that Karma. Pure knowledge and pure love can do miracles because they can bring forth the true nature of us. And the true nature of all is Self - a blissful, joyous Self, devoid of any suffering. Once the seed of any Karma is burnt, can it again come to you? It can, if you are not conscious enough. But even if it comes again, it would not be very difficult to clear it again because you have now already tasted the nectar of consciousness. However, the more consciousness you have, the more your true Self will shine through you. And the more you feel your true Self, the less you engage in these Vrittis again.

The science of Karma is very simple, yet very complicated. An egoist mind makes it complicated. A pure blissful mind finds it simple. As Bhagvad Gita says:

karmany evadhikaras te ma phalesu kadacana;
Ma karma-phala-hetur bhur ma te sango 'stv akarmani (2.47)

Your right is to work only, but never with its fruits; let not the fruits of actions be your motive, nor let your attachment be to inaction.

Buddhiyukto jahaateeha ubhe sukrita dushkrite;
Tasmaad yogaaya yujyaswa yogah karmasu kaushalam. (2.50)

Endowed with wisdom (evenness of mind), one casts off in this life both good and evil deeds; therefore, devote yourself to Yoga; Yoga is skill in action.