By Latha Krishnan
I would like to begin by saying that I am no expert on Karma, but I keep doing research on this very vital aspect of everyone's lives because it is very intriguing.
Let us first get a basic understanding, before we begin to see how we can live a happy life without getting negativity impacted by our Karmas.
What is Karma?
Karma is simply the law of cause and effect. Just like Newton's Third Law - Every action has an equal and opposite reaction. You bear what you sow. What goes around comes around.
Every action we do in this universe, physical or mental, has either a positive or negative energy in it. So how we use our energy is what impacts us in every way.
You may have experienced situations where you wondered "Why did this happen to me? What have I ever done to cause it? In fact, there seems to be no cause for many things that happen to us in our present life. This can be really frustrating. But that is Karma. It is an effect to a previous cause. To get a better idea of how it works, let us see the types of Karma.
Types of Karma
As per Vedic texts, there are four types of Karmas in every individual's life:
- Prārabdha Karma (Matured Karma): Once you perform any karmic act (good or bad), it is registered in the universe, it will come to fruition in due course. There is no escape. Whatever you are going through in life presently, note the word presently, that you have no control over, it is your prārabdha. It does not mean you cannot change your future. Prārabdha is that which has matured, like a fruit which once ripe automatically falls from its tree.
Sanchita Karma (Stored Karma): This is your store of karma. Not all fruits on the tree will mature the same day, it will be laden again in the next season and the next and so forth. It is for this reason that life is greatly cyclical for an overwhelming majority of people.
There is something unique about sanchita karma, it can be changed! The key is going to the source and then either nurture or destroy the cause.
- Āgāmī Karma (Forthcoming Karma): Āgāmī karma is a mandatory karma, you have little choice, if any. If you have entered the orchard, you will have to perform the action of exiting as well, sooner or later. However, if you could either change the store of your sancita karma or exercise due care in the present one, this one changes automatically.
- Vartamaan Karma (Present Karma): It is also known as kriyamāṇa, actionable, present karma, the one that is being done.
A pertinent question is how do you know if you are creating new karma or going through the results of your past karma? The answer is quite simple, when you do something out of choice, you are creating new karma, and, when you are forced to do something, you are simply repaying your karmic debt. The former will have the consequences, good or bad, drawn up for you, the latter can be tended by managing your karmic store or sanchita karma in other words.
How to begin living a Karma Free Life?
The choices you made yesterday, voluntary or otherwise, have landed you where you are today, and the choices you are making today will dictate your tomorrow. Hence, it is paramount that you pay attention to your present actions, your present thoughts, the range of choices available in the future is a direct function, a derivative of your present actions, your future, well, your life in fact, depends on it.
We must realize fully that we are the cause of all that happens to us. We must realize that every moment in our life, every joy and every sorrow can be traced to some source within us. Therefore by gaining conscious control of our thoughts and attitudes by right action, we can control the flow of Karma.
To remove karmic bonds is to learn the lessons you face in your life, purify your thoughts, and Change your actions. Our actions and even our thoughts set up patterns of reaction that return to us with equal force.
Finally, the most important thing is to Carry your Karma cheerfully! Let go of that useless Ego. It is egoic identification that causes the consequences of our actions to come back to us. If that identification is removed, the consequences of our actions can no longer find us. Be kind and true. Love and accept yourself (you are unique) and nurture your natural talents because they have been given to you for a purpose. Identify your negative aspects and remove it from source.
Hope we all can understand and implement this to lead a wonderful Karma free life.
Note: For this article, references were taken from the book "Merging with Shiva" and articles of "Om Swami".