The Creation of the World and the Expulsion from Paradise by Giovanni di Paolo di Grazia (1445), On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 956
“When you plant a seed of love, it is you that blossoms.”
― Ma Jaya Sati Bhagavati, The 11 Karmic Spaces: Choosing Freedom from the Patterns That Bind You
Hello, Karma, my best friend!
I’ve come to talk with you again.
Please allow me to introduce you to my lovely audience!
“People fear what they don’t understand and hate what they can’t conquer”, says Andrew Smith, and this must be the reason why I am shining through on this Earth, conquering the limits of your perception and breaking the mortal codes of ignorance and programming, in order to free your mind, release your karmic debts and allow the divine Light guide you through the most precious gift of All – your present Life.
Make it count!
Once you learn to love and appreciate Life deeply, you just “reap what you sow”.
Buckle up, play your part right and never forget the essential Truth of Creation:
“We are not human beings having a spiritual experience; we are spiritual beings having a human experience.”
– Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
What is Karma?
Karma is the executed “deed”, “act”, “action”, “object” and “intent” as a consequence of an activity, as well as the intention behind execution and planning. In its ultimate sense, Karma means all moral and immoral volition.
Involuntary, unintentional or unconscious actions, though technically deeds, do not constitute Karma, because volition, the most important factor in determining Karma, is absent. A positive action and intent will therefore generate good Karma, while negative actions will reap the opposite effect.
Often descriptively called a Principle, a Theory or an Universal Law, one can think of Karma as the spiritual equivalent of Newton’s Third Law of Motion, which states that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.
Defining the conceptual principle of Karma is highly complex, considering the variety of definitions, which combine ethical or non-ethical causality, ethicization and rebirth.
The present circumstances of an individual are often explained by different schools of Indologists with majestic reference to his or her actions in past, may be in a person’s current life or past lives.
Furthermore, consequences of one’s actions may result in current Life or a person’s future lives.
I. The Ethical and Non-Ethical Causality
According to Merriam Webster definition, often capitalized, Karma is “the force generated by a person’s actions held in Hinduism and Buddhism to perpetuate transmigration and in its ethical consequences to determine the nature of the person’s next existence.”
“All living beings have actions (Karma) as their own, their inheritance, their congenital cause, their kinsman, their refuge.
It is Karma that differentiates beings into low and high states” once replied Buddha himself to a truth seeker who approached and questioned him on the intricate problem of inequality in the world:
“We are the heirs of our own actions.”
The consequences/effects of one’s Karma can be described in two forms: phalas (the fruit or evident result) and samskaras (the invisible effect), transforming the agent of Creation and affecting his or her ability to be happy or unhappy in this life and future ones.
Karl Potter suggests the fact that the principle of Karma can be approached as a principle of psychology and habit, since Karma seeds habits which create the nature of man.
Karma cultivates self-perception and perception determines the “mysterious” ways in which one experiences the gift of Life.
Both habits and self-perception affect its course, as both are an assessment of the person, it’s moral “character” governed by habitual thinking and acting.
“Some day people will ask me what is the key to my success…and I will simply say, “good Karma.”
― K. Crumley
According to the principle of Ethicization, the quality of one’s afterlife becomed contingent on the practice of social ethics.
Every action has a consequence which will come to fruition at any time in the present or future life, thus Karma not being merely a process of reward and punishment”, but the law which produces consequence.
A theory without an ethical premise would be purely causal – the merit and reward vs. demerit or punishment would be the same regardless of the actor’s intent.
In ethics, one’s intentions, attitudes and desires impact the evaluation of one’s action. Therefore, the concept of Karma encourages each person to seek and live a moral life.
“Day and night are the two distracting but fascinating nurses, in whose lap all the world forgetting reality is at play. Good deeds and bad deeds – the record is read out in the Presence of the Lord of Dharma. According to their own actions, some are drawn closer, and some are driven farther away. Those who have pondered on the Name have earned Merit through hard endeavor. Nanak, their faces radiant with Divine Light, many shall be emancipated in company with them.”
– Sri Guru Granth Sahib
The reincarnation or the cycle of rebirths (saṃsāra), has been subject to intense debates in the ancient literature of India as it is a fundamental concept of Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism.
According to saṃsāra, which all forms go through the cycle of reincarnation, rebirths which may be in different realms, conditions or forms, depending on the quantity and quality of Karma, as every living soul transmigrates to the consequent life carrying the Karmic seeds from the one just completed, circle which continues indefinitely until the cycle is consciously broken by reaching moksha – the perfect blissful state, free from all bondage – and the realm of Gods.
“Beyond caste, creed, family or lineage,
That which is without name and form, beyond merit and demerit,
That which is beyond space, time and sense-objects,
You are that, God himself; Meditate this within yourself.
— Vivekachudamani, 8th Century AD
As the purpose of a lifetime becomes the achievement of Moksha, the precise meaning of such an enlightened state of being must be revealed to the reader in order to facilitate its spiritual emancipation, liberation and release from saṃsāra – the cycle of death and rebirth.
In its psychological sense, moksha refers to freedom from ignorance: self-realization and self-knowledge.
In Hindu traditions, although currently applicable for any self-aware individual who sympathizes with the ultimate life goal of becoming complete, there are four undeniable aspects of human life, the so-called “objects of human pursuit” – dharma (virtuous, proper, moral life), artha (material prosperity, income security, means of life), kama (pleasure, sensuality, emotional fulfillment) and nevertheless moksha. This liberation is an epistemological transformation, a transcendental consciousness which permits one to see the truth and reality behind the fog of ignorance in order to reach the ultimate stage of Self – knowledge, peace and bliss. Moksha is the perfect state of “realizing the whole universe as the Self”, the consciousness of oneness – the supreme soul.
“It was through me the Creator himself gained liberating knowledge,
I am being, consciousness, bliss, eternal freedom: unsullied, unlimited, unending.
My perfect consciousness shines your world, like a beautiful face in a soiled mirror,
Seeing that reflection I wish myself you, an individual soul, as if I could be finite!
A finite soul, an infinite Goddess – these are false concepts,
in the minds of those unacquainted with truth,
No space, my loving devotee, exists between your self and my self,
Know this and you are free. This is the secret wisdom.”
— Sarasvati Rahasya Upanishad, Translated by Linda Johnsen
V. Christianity, Spiritism and New Age
Western culture, influenced by Christianity, holds a notion similar to Karma, as demonstrated in the phrase “what goes around comes around”.
Mary Jo Meadow suggests the Christian teaching on Last Judgement resembles the predicament of Karma, as Christianity teaches a set of moral values, such as “reap what one sows” and “live by the sword, die by the sword”; most scholars, however, consider the concepts of Last Judgement and Karma as different, for Karma is an ongoing process which occurs everyday during one’s lifetime, in contrast with the final review occurring at the end of time.
“If Karma doesn’t catch up, God will surely pick up the slack.”
― Anthony Liccione
In Western culture, Karma is the precursor of the neopagan Threefold Law, colloquially exposed by “what goes around comes around.”
In Spiritism, however, Karma is known as “the law of cause and effect”, which plays a central role in determining how one’s life should be lived therefore the status of the existence is intimately connected to the moral performance of the individual in life.
It appears spirits are encouraged to choose how and when to suffer retribution for the wrong they did in previous lives, choice which is made prior to being born to a new life.
Humans would channel through birth the intuition of what they have spiritually accumulated through previous existence, they are more or less evolved, depending on the number of previous lives. According to Allan Kardec’s The Spirits Book, God, in His Justice, could not have created souls more or less perfect, therefore through the plurality of existences, the obvious earthly inequality cannot not stand against the most rigorous equity, and that because only the present is accessible and not the past of former existence. What could not have been done in a lifetime, will be done in another therefore no one escapes the Law of Progress – everyone will be recompensed by righteous merit and no one will be excluded from the supreme Happiness, the highest aim to reach for, no matter of the obstacles encountered along the way.
Jesus answered and said unto him,
“Verily, verily I say unto thee, unless a man be born again, he cannot see the Kingdom of God.”
Nicodemus said unto Him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?”
Jesus answered, “Verily, verily I say unto thee, unless a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the Kingdom of God.
That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.
Marvel not that I said unto thee, ‘Ye must be born again.’
“On one hand, we know that everything happens for a reason, and there are no mistakes or coincidences. On the other hand, we learn that we can never give up, knowing that with the right tools and energy, we can reverse any decree or karma. So, which is it? Let the Light decide, or never give up? The answer is: both.”
– Yehuda Berg
“To go from mortal to Buddha, you have to put an end to karma, nurture your awareness, and accept what life brings.”
“The conscious process is reflected in the imagination; the unconscious process is expressed as karma, the generation of actions divorced from thinking and alienated from feeling.”
– William Irwin Thompson