Four types of Karma

Patanjali Yoga Sutras - Knowledge Sheet 20

Contd. from knowledge sheet 19

There are four types of karmas (actions).

  • Meritful action. Karma that gives you merits. You do good to somebody and they feel good about it and they thank you very much. They thank you from their heart and that brings you good, meritful karma.
  • Demeritful action. Action which gives you demerits. You do something to somebody and they feel suffocated, they suffer, they cry, they yell and they are miserable. That brings you a karma of demerit.
  • Mixed action which gives mixed results. There are certain karmas which are a mixture of merit and demerit.
  • Action which gives neutral results. It is devoid of both, merit and demerit. For example, you go for a walk in the evening and that has no merit or demerit. It is an action.

There are certain actions which have no merits or demerits. You are vacuum cleaning the hall, so it has no merit or demerit. Yet if you are doing it to help someone then that is an action of merit.

The very core of your existence, the Being is free from all these karmas. It has no karma. Whatever action that comes forth from the Lord is not attached to any karma. Good, bad, right, wrong, nothing is there.

Vipāka is the fruit of the action, result of the action. Enjoying or suffering the fruit of the action is not there. These fruits do not touch that very sensitive, purest core of your Being, of your existence, which is the Lord of Creation. That Consciousness is free from this.

Āshaya means, latent desires, impressions, opinions, or seeds. That Being which is free from klesha or misery; karma or actions; vipāka, the fruit of action and āshaya or impressions of actions. That special Being is Ēshwara or the Lord. And where is the special being or Lord? Not somewhere hanging in the sky. It is in your heart. It is in every being’s heart.

Whatever action you do, whatever events happen around you, it does not touch a central point of your life. That central core of your life remains a virgin. Jesus is born to a virgin means, the Lord is born to this virgin area deep inside you, which is untouched by any event or happening in life.

Purusha vishesha that special being is the Lord. When your external mind is worshipping, it is to the core of your being. It is like a boundary, circumference, that is outside is collapsing to the center. When the boundary collapses to the center, what happens? It becomes infinite, limitless. Our little chattering mind, when it prays, it prays to the infinite being that you are. That is prayer. For that you can say, “Okay Lord, Oh my Lord, help”. Lord Krishna says, “To whomsoever you pray, everything comes to me alone because I am the core of the existence.” Wherever you worship, it is just an act of dissolving. Whichever point a sugar doll, a candy, gets into the water it does not matter. It is just going to mix and become one with the water. Similarly worship is an act of dissolving the mind into its being. When you keep your mind on the Being, who is free from klésha, karma, āshaya and vipāka (you will find that) dissolving in it is almost instantaneous. Immediately your mind starts dissolving. That is why there is no difference between the God, Guru and yourself. “Ēshwaro gurorātméti mūrti bheda vibhāginé.” It is just a matter of words. Whatever the Master is, it is nothing but the core of your being. It is the same as the Divine that rules this entire creation.

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(This is part of a series of knowledge sheets based on Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar's commentaries on Patanjali Yoga Sutras.)