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Karma

 

What Is Karma

The Sanskrit word karma has two closely related meanings, which reflect two phases of the same process: a) activity influencing the formation of one’s destiny (this gave the origin of the term karma yoga), and b) consequences of such activity, i.e. destiny proper.

This article discusses the second meaning.

Formation of karma

Everyone builds one’s own destiny oneself — by decisions and corresponding deeds which have ethical significance. Depending on such deeds of a person, the Holy Spirit (Brahman), Who controls our destinies, chooses for that person the place where  he or she will be born, chooses the parents, the body, the illnesses for incarnation of that person, also chooses what people — good or bad, clever or fool — that person will meet, etc.

In particular, if we make unjustified harm to a living being, then by this action we program a similar situation to occur in our own lives — but this time we will be the victim.

On the contrary, kind thought, emotions, and deeds create good karma.

This is called the law of karma — the law of destiny formation.

In this way God teaches us not to do evil deeds, teaches us to be compassionate to the pain of others — He teaches us through our own pain.

Let us remember: by causing pain to others, we program pain to occur in our own destinies; by stealing now, we form our destinies so that we will be robbed, etc. The only way to avoid such consequences is to reform and to repent sincerely: so that we rid ourselves of the very ability to do such deeds.

The operation of the law of karma is not limited by the time of one incarnation; its effect is manifested in the next lives as well. This is why, in particular, sick children are born.

Inborn karma and acquired karma

The destiny of every one of us is composed of two interlacing destiny lines — the inborn one and the one acquired in this life.

For example, if children are born with some kind of bodily defect or acquire it at a very young age — this is their inborn destiny, i.e. complication of their lives as a result of their making gross mistakes in previous incarnations.

As children grow up, they acquire the ability to make ethically important decisions. As a result of these decisions, the destiny line in the current incarnation is formed. It gradually starts to prevail and then even to dominate over the inborn one.

Thus, an unfavorable destiny can be completely changed if we develop ourselves in the right direction.

And vice versa, a good destiny can be degraded by one’s own ethical mistakes in the current incarnation.

Destiny is not some sort of a mechanical law defined by stars or planets, as astrologers claim. Destiny is the direct guidance that we receive from God — from the Supreme Consciousness, Who possesses Omnipresence, Omniscience, absolute Love, Wisdom, and Power. He leads every one of us to Himself, into Himself. If we move the right way — then He encourages us by giving us a feeling of bliss, but if we turn away from the Straight Path to Him — He points out to this by causing us some kind of pain.

Karma for incarnated or non-incarnated life

One should note that there is a difference between a) formation of good or bad karma during life in the material body b) predetermination of the qualities of the “afterlife” abode.

 This concerns the problem of what abode we prepare ourselves to live in after the death of our bodies — hell, paradise, or Divine eons. And it depends not only on our actions but also on the levels of subtlety-coarseness that we have accustomed ourselves to during life in the physical body.

In other words, the quality of the abode where the soul appears after the death of the body is determined by the emotional status to which we got accustomed during life in the material body.

The abode of those living in subtle, pure emotional states will be paradise, at the least.

Coarse people predetermine themselves to abide in hell after disincarnation.

 

See also:

Karma Yoga
 

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