Karma

Karma (Sanskrit kárma, kárman- "act, action, performance". Karma actually means "cause and effect." The process of action and reaction on all levels-physical, mental and spiritual - is karma. God does not give us karma. We create our own.

Karma is one of the important spiritual laws that govern our life experiences through principle of cause and effect, action and reaction, total cosmic justice and personal responsibility. Karma is not fate. You have free will. No God or external force is controlling ones life. It is our own karmic creation. We are bounded by Karma in this and other lifetimes until we understand the complete consequences of all our actions. As Athma (Soul), we experience a constant cycle of births and deaths into a series of bodies until we have learned all the spiritual lessons that the totality of all experiences have to teach us. Until we have learned, we will find that "resistance" to the rules of karma is "futile". A person carries with him the dharma and the Karma from one birth to another.

Karma can be divided into four parts called Sanchita Karma, Prarabdha Karma, Kriyamana karma and Agama karma.

  1. Sanchita karma: is the sum of all past actions performed in this lifetime and past lives.
  2. Prarabdha karma: is the part of sanchita karma which is going to be experienced during this lifetime.
  3. Kriyamana karma: is what we are currently creating through our choices right now. It is our creativity that is unfolding, it is our "free will".
  4. Agama karma: is the actions that we are planning for the future. Actions that will or will not be achieved depending on the choices (free will) that we are making now and those that we have made in the past.

Karma: Pre-destination and Freewill

Hindus believe in Karma which is actually a underlying principle between Pre-destination and Freewill. One can't use the word "pre-destination" or "fate" to substitute with Karma because they do not mean the same. Karma is not pre-destination!

The Vedic understanding of karma includes both pre-destination and free will. To understand the implications of karma, we have to understand the sublime synthesis of pre-destination and free will. Both aspects exist simultaneously. To conceive of this apparently inconceivable reality, we have to consider both sides of the law of karma: the point of view of action, and the point of view of reaction.

Karma is one of the important spiritual laws that govern our life experiences through principle of cause and effect, action and reaction, total cosmic justice and personal responsibility. Karma is not fate. You have free will. No God or external force is controlling ones life. It is our own karmic creation. We are bounded by Karma in this and other lifetimes until we understand the complete consequences of all our actions. As Athma (Soul), we experience a constant cycle of births and deaths into a series of bodies until we have learned all the spiritual lessons that the totality of all experiences have to teach us. Until we have learned, we will find that "resistance" to the rules of karma is "futile". A person carries with him the dharma and the Karma from one birth to another.

The free will is excersized in Kriyamana karma and Agama karma. In terms of prarabha, it’s clear that one has no choice about whether to allow prarabha or not, because the reaction has started, and it is going to have to work itself out. Yet, we are free to choose what we’ll receive, but what we receive is determined by our past Karma (prarabha karma - part of the reaction that is coming from all the accumulated actions of the past). Thus, as far as experience is concerned, one is given a choice to choose according to their Karma. The choice always has two paths - to face darkness or to turn towards light. The decision made now (good or bad) determines the future ones and that will determine the future choices given.

To put it simple, Karma works to develop our ability to handle free will responsibly. Karma perates impersonally, giving us the opportunity at every moment to become open to greater levels of love and compassion. The goal is to give us needed experiences so we evolve into greater levels of awareness and responsibility. All we do at every moment is our choice. Once we accept total responsibility for who we are, for what we have done or will do, and for all our choices, life straightens out.

In a nutshell, Karma (good and evil, or whatever) - are actually by-products of our free will. As we realize this, we come to the point of the exercise. At that moment of awareness, at the instant we understand our responsibility for our situation, we can let go of thousands of years of karma, good and bad.

Although the laws of karma set up and predestine the circumstance we are now in, we have free will to decide how to react in each situation. But having free will doesn't make us "free" and independent. Free will means that we can choose how to act under the influence of a specific set of circumstances, positively or negatively; however, we cannot control the results of our actions which come upon us according to the law of karma which is constantly awarding us the results or reactions of our previous actions.

We are not restricted to act in a specific manner. We have free will. But with this free will comes responsibility, because the way we act determines our reactions. Thus we are free to choose our future, both individually and collectively. Whatever we do creates a reaction that we must enjoy or suffer. We are constantly receiving the reactions of our previous actions created using our free will. We are responsible for our happiness and distress, and the material nature creates the conditions within which we enjoy or suffer. The ultimate goal is to give us needed experiences so we evolve into greater levels of awareness and responsibility.

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