is Karma? Karma is an activity which all the human
beings have to perform, until death releases them from
this body prison. Man cannot live for a moment without
doing Karma. Even while he is sleeping, the breathing
process becomes his Karma. Karma is the cause of man's
bondage to the cycle of birth and death. The life has
been given to man to sort out the consequences of the
previous Karma deliberately done, in many past lives, as
well as in present life. Man cannot be liberated, until
and unless he has sorted out and neutralised all effects
of past and present Karma, and bringing the Karmic
balance to nil.
Many times Kriya
(natural activity), is being considered as Karma. Kriya is a
natural activity, which we perform in our day-to-day life, without
thinking, questioning or seeking anybody's advice. If you get a
nature's call, you would immediately run to the toilet, without
thinking or consulting anybody. Every morning we get up, brush our
teeth, take bath, wear clothes and go to work, or go to the
garden, take some exercises, and do many more such acts. Such acts
are known as Kriya. They do not bind us to the 'Law of Karma'.
Karma is the action or activity, deliberately done, with full
knowledge and intention of the doer, and also in expectation of
certain results in consequences thereof. This kind of Karma binds
man to the causes and effects of the 'Law of Karma' .
There are three
types of Karmas. Instant Karma, which brings instant result. (Such
as when you slap someone in the face and he slaps you back, or you
offer a glass of water to someone and somebody else offers you a
glass of water. They are action and reaction are instantly
neutralized leaving no balance behind).
The Mass Karma
(Natural calamities like a plane crash, train accidents,
earthquake, floods or cyclone, etc.) and the Delayed Karma which
baffles the human beings most because its consequence is not
instant and immediate, but takes a much longer time to appear. The
seed needing to be planted, the soil to get fertilized, and the
tree to grow before its fruit can ripen. By the time this whole
process gets over, the past actions are totally erased from the
memory, and the person is confused when he gets the fruit of his
past actions. But be very sure that whatever you shall sow, so
you shall reap. The same theory applies to the 'Law of Karma'.
When you sow a
seed of Karma and whenever it yields the result and become the
fruit, whether it is sweet or bitter, rest assured that you and
you alone will have to eat it, whether you like it or not, and no
one else will be able to eat it on your behalf, even if somebody
volunteers to do so. Most of the people are under the mistaken
impression that after doing one bad Karma and at the same time by
doing another good Karma, they can mitigate the result of the bad
Karma. If one does something bad to someone, he is sure to get it
back, in the same manner, today or tomorrow, from that very person
himself or by any other person. By the same token, if one does
good to somebody, he is also going to benefit in a similar manner.
Karma is not a bank account. You deposit Rs.5000/- today, withdraw
Rs.3000/- and the balance is Rs.2000/-, so when you again deposit
Rs.1000/-, it becomes Rs.3000/-. Karma theory is not adding and
subtracting like a bank account. It is 'tit for tat, blow for
blow, help for help'. It is same like Newton's 3rd law,
'Action and reaction are always equal and opposite'.
Gita, Lord Krishna has clearly declared about the Karma theory. He
cautious, "Do the action but do not keep the desire of any fruit".
He further asserts "Dedicate all the actions to Me". Bhagavan Sri
Sathya Sai Baba also preaches the same, but with a little
difference. He says, "By doing any action, you may have a desire,
but that desire should be to find God and to realise and know that
you are God". He further guides us by telling us that whatever
work we are doing and in whatever capacity we are doing it, we
should keep in mind, that it is an act of God, done for the sake
of God, and dedicated to God, and whatever the results, are gladly
acceptable to us. By feeling thus, we will not be bound by the
cause and effect of the Karmic Law. Baba will take everything on
Himself and set us free and help us to progress towards
Baba has given
us two paths by which we can cleanse our mind and make it subtle
and pure, so that we are able to understand, the simple way to
liberation. Baba tells us to do Nama Smaran every day (singing the
glory of the Lord) with pure and dedicated mind and to do Seva
(service) to the poor and the needy, to the disabled and the
crippled, to the sick and suffering, to the healthy and humble and
to the good and the Godly people. This will illumine our mind, and
we will be able to understand ourselves more clearly.
Baba says that
man has unlimited potentialities to realise and know himself. In
one of the recent discourses on Ugadi day, He said, "Embodiment of
love: You can not find in the entire Cosmos any place or object in
which God is not present. The divine is present on the mountains.
The divine dwells in villages and cities. The Divine is
Only those who
recognise this truth can redeem their lives; they alone can
achieve the goal of human existence. The powers of the Divine are
limitless. Every living being in the world is governed by some
limitations. Birds, beasts and insects are all taken care of by
the Divine in respect of their essential needs like food and
drink. Among all living beings, however, the life of human being
is supreme as it is governed by morality and the good conduct. The
Divine has placed some limitations on the physical powers of man
but has set no limits to the mental powers. Man can achieve
whatever he resolves to achieve. He can even realise God. This
Divine power is only given to human beings.
Ignorant of his
limitless divine potentialities, man suffers from various
disabilities by considering himself as human being.
Man today is
soaring in the sky as a bird and moving in the ocean like a fish.
He has been able to land on the moon. But unfortunately he is not
able to live like a true human being on earth. This is indeed a
matter of shame.
accomplish anything if he surrenders to God. When he submits
himself to the Will of the Divine, there is no task he cannot
the true nature of the Divine principle, man wastes his time on
rituals and religious practices of various kinds. God cannot be
realised through such practices. It is only by loving God and
getting close to Him that one can realise one's aspiration. Swami
does not disapprove of Sadhana practices. They are good activities
for using time sacredly. But without service to Godly persons,
they are of no use for realising freedom from the cycle of mundane
for liberation (Mukti). They have no idea what constitutes
liberation. Man seeks liberation from the ills of the body, the
senses, the mind, the intellect and the Anthakarana (internal
motivator). All these are no doubt necessary. But liberation in
the ultimate sense consists in liberation from the cycle of birth
and death. This means that one should redeem one's present life so
that one is free from rebirth.
Men should pray
to God for freedom from rebirth so that they will not have bodies
which are bound to be afflicted with diseases. People have no
clear idea of what Dharma, Artha, Kama and Moksha (the four goals)
mean. They think that Moksha (liberation) is something which you
attain after death. But, in fact, liberation can be attained here
and now. Moksha means "Moha-Kshayam" the elimination of "Moha" (or
attachment). People are not ready to give up attachment to wife,
children, property etc., you have a duty to protect your family.
But you must not be immersed in concerns about them. Realise that
love is the most important quality in human life. It is not love
for kith and kin that is precious. It is love for God that is more
taken from Sanathana Sarathi, April, 1998).
There are three
types of Karma : Past, Present and Future. Present Karma must
continue. It is like the carriage behind which is a trail of dust.
If the carriage stops, the dust will settle on it. A doubt might
be that the carriage cannot forever continue so as to be ahead of
its dust. But the carriage need not always travel on a dusty road.
It can get on the surface highway where there is no dust. The
highway is equivalent to the Grace of God. There is a difference
between the benefit of Grace and the benefit of the Bhakthi, or
devotion. A patient with pain is given a sedative which dulls the
pain. But Grace is an operation that does entirely away with pain.
Make no mistake; Grace does entirely away with Karma. It is like a
medicine which is labelled, 'good until 1968'. If used in 1973,
the medicine is entirely ineffective. The body is the bottle, the
karma in the body is the medicine, God puts a date on the
'medicine'; so it is not effective.
form Sanathana Sarathi, April, 1998)