Updated: Jan 22
The above quote is derived from the Vedas. Here's its original text:
Buddhihi Karmanu Saarini.
The Law of Karma is the most speculated laws of universe. So, first let us understand the basics of Karma. The word Karma is derived from Sanskrit which means 'Deed'.
The term Karma or deed has enormous importance in most of the philosophies including Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, and Christianity. It's also popularly known as 'The Law of Attraction.'
"Your experience on this planet is entirely dependent on you. This is called Karma."
Pic credits- Wishyourfriends
Anything we do, think, say, or intend is considered as 'Karma'.
So literally no one can stay without performing any Karma. In the post 'You have the right to perform duty..' of this site, there's a mention of 'Karma Sanyasa'. So I request you to kindly go through it.
For what purpose we perform Karma, and with what mentality we perform it influences our quality of life. This is justified by the below quotes:
"What goes from you, goes around and comes back to you."
This is the fundamental principle of Karma.
The law of Karma is very simple but its applications are vast and and all inclusive. As we apply the Newton's law to Karma(energy)
Karma is a form of energy, it can niether be created, nor be destroyed but constantly undergoes transformation and transmission.
"Alike economics, Karma operates at macro, micro & even at nano levels. So be mindful."
The above quote explains the way Karma operates. there's a mention of being mindful. Yes, It's very important. Being mindful of what we think, act or tell enables us to prevent Karmas.
Our Karmas are recorded in the snake like coiled entity, just below our spine known as Muladhara Chakra and in our subconscious mind.
As per psychology, these are like computer programs that run in our mind in the form of thoughts expressed as our behaviour, actions etc. But these are not just limited to one incarnation. Actually, we are afflicted to Karmas from millions of incarnations. And those karmas program our subconscious mind, and they in turn determine our deeds.
As we repeatedly do the same mistakes, this attracts us to higher Karma. So this traps us to the continuous cycle of death & rebirth.
As long as we nullify our both good & bad Karmas, we continue to enjoy or suffer in this endless cycle of birth & rebirth. If at all we wanna attain Nirvana or Salvation, we need to nullify all our Karmas. Techniques to nullify Karmas will be explained in the coming parts of this post. However let's know the types of Karma first simultaneously we learn how they can be written off and nullified.
Based on the the principal of writing off Karma, Karma can be classified into 2 types:
1. Chith Karma: These are the Karmas that occurs on day to day basis by doing mundane activities like same patterns of thinking, taking actions, carrying out same activities.
As per psychology, 95% of our deeds are carried out subconsciously. Only 5% we make a conscious effort to change our behaviours & ultimately deeds. This afflicts us to Chith Karmas.
Chith is a Sanskrit word which means 'Fallible'.
Various techniques to nullify Chith Karma:
Practicing mindfulness meditation:
Practicing mindfulness enables you to experience your emotions and enables you to nullify them. Remember nullifying thoughts is nullifying Karma, esp. Chith Karmas.
Practicing mindfulness detaches you from your thoughts nullifies them, this in turn nullifies Karma.
Chanting the holy name of Lord:
Chanting the holy name of Lord Krishna not only increases your vibrations but also nullifies Chith Karma. However, we need to dedicate that to Lord.
This is confirmed in Chaitanya Charitamritam:
harer nāma harer nāma
harer nāmaiva kevalam
kalau nāsty eva nāsty eva
nāsty eva gatir anyathā
Translation: For spiritual progress in this Age of Kali, there is no alternative, there is no alternative, there is no alternative to the holy name, the holy name, the holy name of the Lord.'
So by chanting
Hare Krishna Hare Krishna
Krishna Krishna Hare Hare ।
Hare Rama Hare Rama ।
Rama Rama Hare Hare ।।
And by dedicating it to Lord Krishna, we are not only burning off Karmas but also nullifying them.
Practicing any sort of Meditations:
By practicing any sort of Meditations, chanting hymns and thereby meditations and thereby dedicating it to Lord Krishna nullifies our Karmas.
Dedicating our each deed as a service:
As we dedicate our each deed as a service to God and thereby dedicating our being to Lord we could nullify all our Karmas. This is described as 'Karma Yoga' in Bhagavad Gita.
Lord Krishna tells Arjuna; 'Mayi sarvani karmanam sanyasva.' It means dedicate everything (Karmas, being etc) to me. This is confirmed by Lord Krishna in Bhagavad Gita through the following shloka (stanza): yajnarthat karmano 'nyatra loko 'yam karma-bandhanah I tad-artham karma kaunteya mukta-sangah samachara II Work done as a sacrifice for Vishnu has to be performed, otherwise work binds one to this material world. Therefore, O son of Kunti, perform your prescribed duties for His satisfaction, and in that way you will always remain unattached and free from bondage of Karma. 2. Sanchitha Karma: These are the Karmas that remain for a long term through incarnations & has to be burnt of through either enjoyment or through sufferings. "Kundalini Awakening is the process of burning all our Sanchitha Karmas." Sanchitha Karmas are very painful and it generally takes years together to burn them off. Although some of our Karmas are paid through either going to hell or heaven, some of them are retained in the form of Sanchitha Karma.
Chitha Karmas which remain in our account for too long gets transformed into Sanchitha Karma. It's always better to nullify Karmas on day-to-day basis.
Can't we burn off Sanchitha Karma by not paying off through enjoyment or suffering??
Sri Jayateertha Swamiji, Author of book; Sri Man Nyayasudhaa
The answer is not fully. Sri Jayateertha Guruji in his scripture 'Sriman Nyayasudha' that through sincere & honest devotion and dedicating our being to Lord Vishnu, he will reduce the intensity of those Karmas by reducing some of them. This is the beauty of Bhakti Yoga.
Acharya Madhwa propounded in his Dwaita philosophy;
'Wisdom alone could never give you salvation, wisdom coupled with devotional practice(Bhakti Yoga) can only give you salvation.'
3. Prarabdha Karmas: These are also called 'Pracheena' oldest Karmas. These Karmas are committed after complete spiritual awakening, they are beyond all Trigunas, 3 gunas(based on nature.) As you do Satt karmas (Read more to learn about Satt Karmas.) beyond your 'Roopa Yogyata' it has to be written off through enjoyment. The soul will be made to stay in the earth till it's written off. This has been illustrated in Eeshavasyopanishath.
What's this 'Roopa Yogyata'??
A soul has a certain ability to receive & transmit cosmic energy in its incarnative form through various Satt Karmas performed through various human incarnations. It's displayed by a person's ability to receive wisdom, interprete it and digest it. It's also displayed by your ability to sit and meditate for longer hours etc.
Prarabdha Karmas are entirely based on 'Swaroopa Yogyata'.
What's this 'Swaroopa Yogyata'??
It's understood that soul continuously transcend and descend through incarnations before attaining salvation. The initial ability of the soul which is far beyond the 'Roopa Yogyata' is 'Swaroopa Yogyata'
Ex.- some souls are originally aliens from other higher planets, owing to a curse of some crime they attain human incarnation.
So here the ability possessed by an alien represent 'Swaroopa Yogyata'.
4. Agama Karmas : Agama in Sanskrit means 'some thing that occurs in the future.' As you proceed further in spiritual awakening, after nullifying all your past Karmas, and nullifying present karmas, you will also be preventing the further occurance of karmas to you. There by, you'll be forever free from Karmas, Karmic debts so on. Eventually, you'll be forever free from this painful cycle of death and rebirth.
Based on the nature of Karmas into 3 types: Sattvic Karmas: These are the Karmas that enable us to transcend spiritually a does so much good to the universe. Most importantly, these deeds pacify Lord Vishnu. As given in Vishnusahasranamam, Lord Vishnu is referred to Satt. Satt Karmas are the ones which relieve us from the continuous cycle of this death & rebirth. Higher Satt or Sattvic Karmas we do, better would be our spiritual progress. Sattvic deeds seems very difficult to do at the beggining but in the end, they give eternal bliss. Ex.- Practicing Meditation.
People generally refer to Good or Bad deeds, but these are at the extreme ends, there's something in between these two. As an intermediate Karma we have:
2. Rajasic Karma: Rajasic Karmas refer to those deeds that are done with the intention of satisfying our sensual pleasures. Rajasic Karmas doesn't incur us sins, but if we continuously do it & exceed a the limit it could turn into sins.
Ex.- It's OK to watch movie once in a while, if we do it every day without doing any other work, we are violating our duties. It becomes a sin. That's why we should be conscious of what we do. It will be very exciting in the beggining, but after sometime or at the end we get bored of it & realize it produces the same results.
Albert Einstein says:
"Insanity is doing the same things again & again, expecting different results."
In Bhagavatha sage Vedavyasa (an incarnation of Lord Vishnu.) says:
"You don't have to work too hard just to enjoy sensual pleasures, even hogs enjoy them. Instead perform penance this purifies your existence & you will reach my abode (Salvation)"
3. Tamasic Karma: These are Karmas that are harmful to us and also harmful to the entire society are called Tamasic Karmas. Tamas is a Sanskrit word that means Darkness. Tamasic Karmas right from the inception till end it creates delusion and results in grave sufferings. It has tragic consequences and results in spiritual descendance.
The Divine Law of Karma governs the Universes, it's beyond human conception and horizons. We may try to understand it under the guidance of scriptures & Guru, but still large parts of it are unknown.
We enjoy because of Sattvic Karmas & suffer because of Tamasic Karmas. But to attain Nirvana, there shouldn't be any Karmas at all.
Karma Vs Sanskaras.
Buddha beautifully defines Sanskaras:
'What we repeatedly do is what constitutes sanskaras.'
Sanskaras are stains of Karma that are left behind even after writing off Karmas.
Karmas get written off in the process of death and rebirth, but irony is Sanskaras won't. That's one of the reasons why we repeat the same karmas. As we repeatedly do the same Karmas, more Karmas get accounted to our account. Sanskaras can be classified by the same way explained above. Mindfulness meditation is one of the best ways to write off Sanskaras. As we write off Sanskaras, easier it becomes for us to be more detached from worldly affairs.
Hope this inspires you!