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Karma

A guru once told me:

In reality, you are already what you seek to become. Why do you toil so hard and worry so much?
Conduct yourself like a decent and reasonable person. Sit in a lotus position, practise pranayam (structured breathing)  and chant om with devotion. Karma will take care of the rest.

What is karma? O! You great, one with the shining eyes.

First remember that all matter exists in two states: manifest and hidden. Physics tells us that it is made up of invisible building blocks called atoms and molecules. Atoms themselves are made up of even tinier parts called electrons, protons, neutrons, positrons and others. These building blocks, bonded and extended in different combinations, make up all the natural elements (93)  in the universe. Physical laws govern the manipulation of matter in all its forms. Elements come together in many combinations and make up the forms of visible objects.

Karma is a similar concept, except that the basic building blocks of karma are our daily actions and deeds, great or small, important and unimportant, all alike. Every act performed by a human being generates expanding reflections of concentric rings around them, very much like what a stone does when it hits the surface of a still pond. The effects of the actions result in subconscious and unconscious impressions, which follow the feeling created by the experience of the deed itself and remain rooted in the the person's mind.

Karmic impressions diffuse through the void of the universe, touching every other invisible object in the world. They do not interact with physical matter, but each and every act performed by a human being during day-to-day living, makes a contribution to or detracts from an aggregation governing the quality of an individual's life and his environment, both directly and indirectly. The adjudged essences of our actions, referred to as "latent impressions" in the scriptures, register as separate entries in our own mind. They are carried forward from birth to birth. The positive and negative essences cannot be redeemed. However, balancing and countervailing influences can be cultivated through the quality of one's actions and by removing ignorance from the mind. The latent impressions can bear fruit in the short, medium or long term into real consequences for the individual in this or a future life, the life itself being a consequence of previous deeds. A very complex set of cosmic rules controls the timing of the delivery of a consequence to an individual. And considering the infinitely large variety of actions, situations and interactions possible in a lifespan, no one fully understands the resolution of the application areas, i.e. which original deed or misdeed affects what target result or how the advance-regress - the actual words used in scriptures are black-white - pairings are made or, if they are made at all.

Common sense tells us that good deeds bring us positive feelings and bad deeds make us feel guilty and insecure. The inborn feeling for justice, fairness and equality is rooted in our conscience. Through a complex process of aggregation, the seemingly uncompromising and unforgiving karma fashions a finely tuned conscience and places it in our pure I-Sense (spiritual part) at or before conception. Throughout the lifespan of the microcosm, conscience rules as a mediator between the good and vicious forces and the far-reaching limbs of karma caution the wary in the language of subtle hints, coincidences, gentle revelations and watchful prudence. For the unwary, interminable doubts, questions and a profound sense of guilt rule their lives.
Through the freedom to act, a gift given to us by karma - and it is an elegant trap! - if we want to, we can intellectually turn karma off or pretend that it doesn't exist. But the action is like turning the power switch to "off" in your house. We know very well that, ceaselessly "the potentials are always present in the wires" and that the same currents are running everything else in the whole world. Denying it doesn't remove it.
Physical analogies are so handy to get a point accross, at times.
 So, do not allow yourself to be fooled by the temptation. No form of life can be immune to the effects of karma, because no form of life, howsoever primitive or advanced, can survive on its own without interacting with other life forms - the ecological unity. The spirit and force of karma is omnipotent and all-pervading. The karmic essences are continuously deposited in the mind and diffuse through the void of the universe. This arrangement is at the core of the working of karma and explained by the most fundamental of a set of seed-ideas related to the working of karma.
The first set defines the mind:
Mind is no more than the power and capacity to know. The stream of mind flows in both directions, downhill for evil and uphill for good in the pursuit of knowledge to satisfy curiosity. Mind exerts its power through three channels, namely, intellectual thirst, emotional passion and spiritual devotion. The fountain of experience can never be shut down. Because knowledge is limitless, mind is everywhere. Like knowledge, mind has no beginning. Mind has no end. It is.

I suggest that you read the above paragraph again and again, dwelling on the concepts to grasp the inner meaning. You will find the subject to be irresistibly fascinating. It adds episodes to a current life. It gives one a feel for the continuity of personal evolution.

In dealing with guidelines for good action, the Vedic scriptures speak of volition and deliberate acts of a willful nature. It is stated that willful acts to hurt others, deliberately devised selfish acts of deceit and cunning directed at others, and ignoring cries for help from those in genuine distress when you are well-equipped to provide same, are very low on the totem pole. One can try to argue through circular logic that the karma of the recipients justifies such acts. The prevailing wisdom is, of the first part that one does not become a willing agent for the delivery of pain and suffering to any form of life, under any circumstances, and, of the second part that you are allowed consultations with your conscience at all times. What can be simpler than this?
Now remember that karmic aggregations are stored in the mind, which is everywhere. If somehow you can reduce the influence of the empirical Ego on your daily actions and deeds, it is easy to see that the effects can be beneficial to mental and spiritual health. That is why unselfish acts, deeds of service to mankind and an outlook of altruism in day-to-day living are held in high esteem by most people. These practices defeat the working of the empirical Ego.

Meditation is one of the many techniques that enables us, in addition to other benefits, to perceive the workings of karma around our present life or the series of reincarnations we will inevitably pass through on our paths. At the advanced stage of self-recognition by meditation, through the agency of the realized Buddhi - intuitive wisdom - one can perceive the details of the universal aspects of karma. This is Discriminative Knowledge, the lowest common denominator of all
the variables operating in the universe.

I will now define the second set of seed-ideas.
In the universe each object, each entity, each thing and each idea like "time" is passing from "future" to "present" to "past" in subtle frames called tanmatra. Only the "present" is recognizable by the human senses. Another way of saying this is that the "present" is manifest or visible. The "future" and the "past", by ordinary experience, are not visible but they do exist. Anything that has come into being can never be totally annihilated. Anything which has not existed before, cannot come into being. It's only change and transformation.
By applying this logic, one can see how the "future" and "past" states of a thing exist, albeit in hidden states. Things in hidden states cannot be grasped by the human senses. But they can be perceived by the human mind. The specific term for this experience is "realization".
Intuitive knowledge of the hidden parts of things can be gained by meditation. A person trained to
"realize" invisible states of things is a self-realized person. Meditation enables a person to become self-realized. He is also said to have attained self-recognition.
Remember that pure I-Sense is not visible and cannot be felt.

Now the term "self-recognition" is being explained.

Most religions of the world agree on an important point of reference. They all say that "man is created in the image of God". What does this statement mean? Simply that, at preconception in mother's womb, the proximity of the ovum to the chosen sperm, first, personalizes a pure I-Sense, a core spiritual particle, under the supervision of the mother's spirituality. Pure I-Sense holds all the virtues and supersensory powers which it bestows upon the new life. Then at conception, as the first embryonic cell is set forth, the pure I-Sense pervades the "physical presence" of the new life  and the microcosm is launched as an entity unto itself, distinct from the mother's entity. Note the mother's body is now pervaded by two souls.

Karma has thus prevailed upon the scene.
It has tempered with the prospects of the forming life in four ways.

These events dramatically change the state of affairs of the newborn. The good news is that some actions of karma are reversible. The better news is that the effect of karma's actions can be erased by the microcosm herself/himself. No other person can do it for her/him. The empirical ego can be lifted off the pure I-Sense and dissolved. To regain the original state of pure I-Sense is every person's birth right, for it bestows universal love and bliss upon the person. The term "self-recognition" therefore means that you have recognized your pure I-Sense, implying that you have risen above the "I am the body" feeling. The temporarily felt out-of-body experience is a short-lived decoupling of the empirical ego from the pure I-Sense. It can be made to last longer, even for ever.

To understand the concept of the "set of experiences" ("set") assigned by karma, regard your biological roots as giving you the field of play in the short-term, that is, over one birth and your extrabiological roots in the long-term, that is, going from birth to birth. Derived from your extrabiological roots, the "set" provides the means of the brightest beacons of progress along your evolutionary path because you relive the decisions and actions at successive stages of the changing panorama of your relationships. An automatic learning process for all levels of intelligence is inherent in the scheme because it is based on the "incremental change" principle. Sooner or later the differences will be perceived and used to "learn" and modify behaviour. Given the freedom of action, especially for the humans, it offers opportunities for experiential gain limited only by the intelligence and imagination of the participant. Karma is like mother, who, even in doling out punishment has your best interests at heart! Does karma drive evolution?

To highlight a point in passing, closer to home, many mathematical techniques used in research
experiments employ the same principle of measuring "incremental change" or "deltas" in different settings. Successive approximations are calculated from repeating iterations and the decision to add the given number of terms in the series is made. Remember there are no absolute values anywhere in the universe!

It's worth noting that for the humans, the basis of personal change in a relationship has to be first realized in the spiritual space, i.e. in the self. The Three Verbs of Being (see below at trishul) play a crucial role in how the change will find expression through the emotional and mental spaces and become a practical reality in the interaction.
Regarding karmic consequences, one enlightened swami of the Aary faith realized the existence of a connection between extreme willful selfishness and diseases of the body. He perceived activation of viruses and bacteria by mutation, where originally a state of active coexistence or passive dormancy had existed in the host body.

A guru once told me a simple story to illustrate the subtle working of karma. A gharra is a common sight in the households of rural India. It is a terra-cotta brittle sphere used to store and cool drinking water in poorer households. Every poor man wants to own a gharra of his own. The tale is told of an ambitious laborer who found a gharra lying by the roadside. He was happy with his newfound fortune as he walked to his hut. After arriving there he set the gharra down on the earth floor and lay down to rest. He took off on a jubilant fancy, building visions in his mind of how he was going to fill the gharra with drinking water from the well and sell the water to people who had no gharras. From the profit, he was going to buy another gharra and carry the two on a pole on his shoulder. From the profit, now he was going to buy a cart and two more gharras. Before long, he had visions of his young employees pushing carts and selling water to all the villages in the neighborhood. "The women wouldn't have to go to the well to fetch drinking water; I will become prosperous." He screamed out loud, his arms and legs flailing wildly in excitement, accidentally kicking the empty gharra, sending it rolling against the wall where it broke into many pieces, as did his dreams!

Now the importance of seed-ideas is being explained.

Seed-ideas are agents of gradual change. They are working models of aphorisms, which tend to be tersely worded or condensed statements of first principles. They appear to be simple and straightforward in their import on the listeners. Upon acceptance by the pupils, they operate on their belief systems from the inside. Over time, they can change their mindsets and their values.

I urge you to recall the two sets of the seed-ideas with a quiet mind at least once a day before going into meditation.

Our magic wand - The Three Verbs of Being

This trishule symbolizes the integration of our three solitudes or spaces, namely, Physical/mental, Emotional/Astral and Spiritual into a single axis. This axis is physically present in our body. You can work wonders with your health and well-being with this knowledge.
The operative verb in the Physical/Mental solitude: to think
The operative verb in the Emotional/Astral solitude: to feel
The operative verb in the Spiritual solitude: to experience


 
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Material on this and linked pages at this site is the intellectual offering of Ravi Sadana, derived from his two books . Please feel free to browse and review the writing samples and Kiren-maya's choice readings.

Ravi Sadana, Servant of humanity, Updated on: June 20, 2002

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