Karma is simply action. It includes action latent in us due to past actions as well as action happening now as a result of the past. And it includes action in the future as a consequence of what is happening now. But Karma is not rigid nor set in stone. It is fluid. It gives destiny but also freedom.

Strange are the ways of Karma. There is Sukshma Karma, Sthoola Karma, Sanchita Karma, Prarabdha Karma, Agami Karma, as well as Karma of family, society and the time we are living in. The more you understand it, the more amazed you become. 

Karma brings people together and separates them. It causes some to be weak and some to be strong. It makes some rich and some poor. All the struggle in the world, whatever it may be, is the bondage of Karma. It cuts across all logic and reasoning. This understanding will lift you from getting stuck to the events or personalities and help you in your journey to the self. 

Does this mean a thief can say it is his karma to steal? Then the police have the karma to catch him too! Only human life has the ability to be free from Karma. And only a few thousands aim to be free from it. Only through Grace can the bondage of Karma be burnt. Performing actions cannot eliminate Karma.

When you increase your sense of knowingness, your Karma gets reduced. For example, you feel like strangulating somebody, but because you are aware, you don’t do it. If you are not aware of the thoughts and feelings, you may just end up going and strangulating someone. 

There are billions and billions of living creatures and so many kinds of feelings arise within each of them. All of these feelings propel or cause some action. That feeling is called Karma, and the (resultant) action is also called Karma. 

Certain activities and actions imprint certain impressions on the mind, creating Karma. And certain activities do not imprint any impression on the mind; in this case, there is no Karma. 

All animals have only Prarabdha Karma, which is the Karma over which they do not have any control. Mother Nature runs them, so they don’t accumulate any future Karma. If you are totally like an animal, you don’t get any Karma. But as a human being, this is impossible because the mind stores impressions and accumulates future Karma. And Karma is that which propels reincarnation. 

However, there is one thing that can erase Karma, and that is knowledge and self-awareness. If you are aware of yourself and if you are in total love, then you are free from Karma. Then you are not bound by any impressions – you are free. What gives you freedom is your awareness.

Path of love

You must have heard people say that one must remain detached and dispassionate while performing any action. It means that you must act, but do not attach yourself to it and harbour it in your mind. Do not get stuck to it. You cannot exist without doing something or the other. Everyone has to do something. But if you take an action too much to heart and drag it as a burden on the mind, then it becomes a different kind of Karma altogether (that creates bondage). 

Every object in this universe is endowed with four characteristics. They are Dharma, Karma, Prema and Gyana. Dharma means nature. Everything has a definite nature, living or inanimate object. Monkeys have their nature, human beings have their nature. In the same way, metals have their nature, aluminum has its nature, copper has its nature. Nature is called Dharma. 

The third is Prema that means love. There is love in every particle of this creation. Love is attraction. Love means absorbing the viscosity, bringing togetherness. Many atoms come together so a molecule is made or an object is made. There is something that holds thing together, and this force of bringing things together, holding things together is called love or Prema. 

Love is present in the entire creation, in every particle of this creation there is love, and that is how reproduction happens. Through love planets are moving in their orbits. Through love the sun is shining, the stars are shining. There is love in every atom, that’s why the electron is moving around other charged particles.

The charge in this entire creation is a power. It is love or Prema. 

There is something in this body that is knowing. It is the consciousness. But it’s not just the little mind or the consciousness in your little body alone that knows. This knowingness is present in every particle of creation. 

We don’t know only through the head. The mind is not just in the head. It is all over the body. See, suppose if in a dormitory you are having a pyjama party. Some others are sleeping in a room and someone calls for James. Only James will wake up. When you are sleeping in a room and there are many others, only you will wake up if your name is called. If the name is shouted loud, then everyone will jump up. But normally that’s not the case. Even in sleep, we have an ability to know. 

This ability to know is permeating in our entire consciousness. And consciousness is present all over the body and beyond the body. This is called Gyana, the knowingness of the intelligence. Or the intelligence in the existence. You might have seen about the ‘touch me not’ plant. When you go near it, it closes before you touch it. In the same way, animals have got their own degree of knowingness. The dog can sense, birds can sense something that is going to happen. If there is an earthquake, you can hear the birds a few hours earlier making huge noises. Your dogs can feel much earlier than you could feel it. There is a degree of knowingness present in the entire creation. 

When you are in total knowledge, total awareness then you are coming out of the cycle of birth and death. That is you have a choice if you want to come you can come. Okay, let me go there play for some time and come back. You can then have that choice.

Cracking the puzzle

Just like truth, Karma is not linear, it is multi-dimensional. It’s spherical. In a sphere every point is connected with so many other points. If it is just a straight line, one point is connected with only two points, one back, one front. But in a sphere a point is connected from all sides. Karma is such a thing. Krishna has said in Gita, ‘gahan karma o gati ‘. This means unfathomable are the ways of karma. 

Sometimes people ask, why do bad things happen to good people. You are good today but you don’t know what you did yesterday. As you sow, so shall you reap. Every Karma has a limited span of results. Mainly five things come to us in our life from the Sanchit Karma, from the karma you have acquired from the previous time. Birth and the place of birth, and the parents you are born to is from past Karma. Your education and line of education, degree of education, how much you acquire knowledge. And then the wealth, the source of wealth. Finally your longevity and mode of death. How you would die? These five things come from Sanchita Karma, the karma we have acquired. Now, how rich we become, how much we can grow in our awareness, our marriage, children, and our social work — all this is Prarabdha Karma. Aagami Karma is the consequence of what you did to achieve all these. So you have a certain degree of freedom to act now and acquire more Karma. But you have a fate, a certain destiny that you are provided with that you cannot change. 

Do you have any control where you are born? No, you’re born in America or England, Europe, Australia, South America, South Africa, India, China, or wherever. This has already happened and it is yielding the result to us. 

But things are not all closed. They are open. What makes it an open possibility is the presence of Dharma or nature, which has freedom. The second is Prema, the love that we are. Love is the common factor of the entire creation. If you see birds there is love in the bird. When you see ants, note the love there. Love is permeating all creation – animate and inanimate. 

And your connectedness with that love takes you beyond birth and death. You know, usually we say don’t hate anybody. When you hate someone, their impression becomes so strong in you that you become like them. Your hatred for someone makes you like them. 

You also become like the person you love. Love and hate are strong feelings. Hate is love standing upside down. Distortion of love is hate. You can get beyond love and hatred through knowledge, through awareness. 

We need to go beyond the concept to a reality which is beyond thoughts, which is beyond words, which is beyond the opposites of love and hate. That is real love. That something that is beyond hatred is true love. This is knowledge, this is Gyana. And all the Karmas dissolve in Gyana, in knowledge, in awareness. 

Awareness has the strength to dissolve and destroy any Karma. Because you are one with that Divinity, one with that totality of existence and you live every moment in that. 

Only in life and through the body learning through awareness happens. You don’t learn anything in between incarnations. You are only resting. 

The last thought before death is a deep impression indeed. But there could be other deeper impressions. It’s not that all those who are killed in a war will come back with a similar thought. 

Death is not a frightening thing. It is just deep rest. It’s a loving space you are in and deep rest. There’s Prema there. Uncomfortable souls are only those who have committed suicide.