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The Law of Karma

Whenever we come across a difficult situation in our life, we often complain - "God, why this is happening only to me? Why I am alone suffering from this pain?" See the funny part. We never ask such questions when we are happy! We never say - "God, why I am happy? or why I am alone getting this happiness?".

What we are today is the result of our past Karma (actions or deeds) and what we are going to be tomorrow is also decided by our Karma today. This Law of Karma is ever at work. If you do some Karma you are going to get its fruit. Our Karma creates cycle of birth and death. Karma can be burnt only by experiencing their results. They can not be skipped. Some people say that we are bound by our "fate" or "luck". However, in reality there is nothing called fate or luck. Everything is the outcome of our past and present Karmas.

Some people do not believe in reincarnation. They say that the current life is what to be enjoyed. Who knows about past lives and future lives? However this argument can not explain the contrast in our lives. We often see people who do good to others but themselves suffer from great pains. Why are two children of the same mother are so different? One brilliant and the other dull? Why is that one is stronger than other? Why there is so much inequalities in the society? One can not answer these questions without Law of Karma and theory of reincarnation.

The fact that our life is governed by our Karma is a great relief to all of us. This is so because we can control our Karma which in turn will control our life. If you do good today you will get pleasurable fruits whereas your wrong deeds give you sorrow.

Though the fruits of Karma are pleasurable or full of sorrow, a Yogi renounces from both. You may wonder as to why a Yogi rejects pleasurable results of his Karma. He does so because he knows for sure that when you enjoy happiness you get a free gift of sorrow. It is impossible that one enjoys only happiness and no sorrow at all. Similarly it is not possible that one gets only sufferings and no happiness at all. For example, if you study hard for your examination you are bound to get good marks. The preparation might be tough. You possibly need to give up watching your favorite television serial. You may need to study till late nights. But all this "pain" gives you "happiness" in terms of good marks. Let's take another example. You like sweets and can not control yourself when somebody offers them. However you are a diabetes patient. After eating sweets your blood sugar increases and you start feeling uncomfortable. That means "pleasure" of eating sweets gave you "sorrow" in terms of increased blood sugar. You will find the same thing happening in every sphere of life. Where there is happiness there must be sorrow and vice versa.  

If happiness and sorrow go hand in hand then how to deal with life? Yogis advice that sorrow that has not yet come should be avoided. For example, if you know that eating spicy food is going to give you gases you must avoid eating such food. This requires control on your mind and that is what Kriya Yoga teaches you. When you learn to see "future" sorrow then you automatically avoid the root cause. When you avoid buying a costly necklace you instantly become from the sorrow arising out of its theft. Thus the only way to avoid sorrow is to avoid happiness also. The thought of avoiding happiness may sound strange to you. For most of the people lack of happiness is equal to presence of sorrow. But that is not true. A mind controlled by Yogic techniques remains in equilibrium at all times and Meditation is the key to achieve such equilibrium.

Karma is born whenever there is union of seer and the seen. Seer refers to the "observer" or "Atman" that has trapped into this body. Seen refers to the external world. Seen doesn't mean only visible objects but everything that can be "experienced" by sense organs. We experience the world not just when we are awake but also when we are dreaming. When we experience this world the seer identifies itself with the objects being experienced. Thus there is union between the subject(seer) and the object (seen). This union is the root cause of all Karmas.

Every objects in this world consists of five great elements viz. earth, water, fire, air and space. It also bears threefold qualities or gunas viz. Tamas, Rajas and Sattwa. Tamasic qualities are represented by inertia, laziness and inaction. Rajasic qualities are represented by constant action whereas Sattwic qualities are represented by knowledge. Thus our Karmas are also tamasic, rajasic or sattwic in nature. 

The Atman is nothing but pure consciousness. However, it experiences this world through mind. Note that mere body can not give you any experience. Let's take a simple example. Suppose that you are standing near a window and looking towards a lake. How you see the lake? First your sense organs (eyes in this case) gather the information about the lake and convey it to sensory nervous system. The sensory nervous system and mind then sends them to brain. The brain then creates the image of the lake. This image is then "seen" by the eyes. Thus mere body can not experience anything. It is the mind that is responsible for experiencing anything. Now you can understand why Kriya Yoga gives so much emphasis on controlling mind.

If we want to avoid union of Atman and Maya we must stop the seer from experiencing this world. In other words we must dissolve our mind. This can be explained like this:

  • Atman is pure consciousness
  • Atman unites with the objects in this world and experiences them
  • To experience them Atman uses a vehicle called mind
  • These experiences give rise to Karma
  • Maya is the cause of union between Atman and the external world
  • To liberate the Atman one must overcome the influence of Maya
  • Since Atman experiences this world via mind, if mind is restrained from taking any experiences then automatically Atman will remain in un-united state
  • Thus controlling the mind gives you freedom from Maya
  • One can not directly destroy Maya. So Yogis take another route. They dissolve the mind which is must for Maya to play her tricks.

 


Bipin Joshi is a software consultant, an author and a yoga mentor with more than 22 years of experience in classical yoga system of India. He is an internationally published author and has authored or co-authored more than ten technology books for Apress and WROX press. He has been awarded as a Most Valuable Professional by Microsoft. He has also written a few Marathi books including Devachya Davya Hati and Natha Sankentincha Danshu. Having embraced yoga way of life he also teaches Kriya and Meditation to selected individuals.

बिपीन जोशी लिखित देवाच्या डाव्या हाती आणि नाथ संकेतींचा दंशु या पुस्तकांची आपली प्रत आजच विकत घ्या. त्यांच्या अजपा योग मार्गदर्शनाविषयी अधिक माहिती येथे उपलब्ध आहे.


Posted On : 14 Jan 2007


Tags : Yoga Vedanta Kriya Yoga Courses