Spiritual Topic: God's Law > Law of Karma and Free-will

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Karma
Kal Niranjan is the creator of "Law of Karma". Karma is basically an action or doing. Any kind of action whether mental, verbal, or physical, is regarded as Karma. Karma is far greater than the sum of a person's actions, for it includes both the effects of those actions which are the causes, and the impressions or tendencies created in the subconscious mind by those actions. Key factor in the working of karmic law are the impressions (samskaras) deposited in the lake of subscious mind as a person's character, circumstances, and activities.

The law of karma is equally applicable to all. Every action produces results which finally return again to source. When we perform any action, we are bound to reap the fruits of our actions. The fruits of those actions will then again motivate us to perform more actions. There is no end to this process of action and consequences - it becomes a whirlpool for us: we cannot live without performing actions. A human being is bound to perform certain actions simply because he's a human being. This is the way our habits are formed. The more we repeat something over and over, the more it creates a great, deep groove in our mind, and then that eventually becomes a habit. These habit patterns create our inner nature, our likes/dislikes, our capacities and limitations, our biases and prejudices etc. We all are born with a certain personality trait because of these mind impressions. This is an old saying: An act becomes a habit; habit makes a character; and the character makes destiny.

The subtler cord of karma is the cord of mind. Our past samskaras are deeply rooted in the unconscious. These latent samskaras, or impressions, create various bubbles of thoughts that express themselves through our speech and actions. In other words, our mind functions within the boundaries of karmas; but it can go beyond and thus we can be free from the bondage of karma.

The fruits of our actions comes to us either:
* Immediately
* Delayed
* Carried over to next birth
* Or stored, to be carried over to the life beyond the next.

Karma could be done physically, in thoughts, and in speech and for each we are bound to have fruit of that karma. e.g if always we are thinking bad of someone but does not do bad to that person; we've to pay for this thought.

Types of Karma

  1. Sanchita Karma: The total sum of past karmas (good + bad) yet to be resolved. In other words: The accumulation of past good and bad actions. e.g Think of them as the “Arrows in the Quiver”. These types of karma can be burnt/destroyed by knowledge of self, mind and Truth within.

  2. Prarabdha Karma: That portion of sanchita karma that is to be experienced in this life. In other words these are the portion of sanchita karmas used up to create the present physical body, relatives, and the experiences we are to encounter in this life. e.g Think of them as the “Arrows in Flight”. These types of karma cannot be erased in any case unless the person leaves his/her physical body (which is also result of Prarabdha Karma). But the way/timing/effect can be manipulated e.g let’s say something bad was going to happen you, but because of your Spiritual practice that bad thing happens in dream only.

  3. Kriyamana/Udham Karma (Free-Will): The karma that humans are currently creating and will bear fruit in the future. These are the actions that are done out of total free choice and NOT compelled by the forces of past karma. These actions help in the release of the soul from bondage to matter. Think of them as “Arrows in Hand”. All the scriptures are based on this fact and they advise directing the "Free Will" in the right channel.

As long as we look only on the effects of karma it remains a mystery. We must look for the root cause, and to do this we must try to understand the nature of  free-will. It is the attachment to our desires and results of our actions that give strength to the rope of karma. All deeds and actions are inspired by desire, and desire is motivated by samskaras. Any act done with the view of increasing one's pleasures affect our karma, but deeds done without any desire do not affect the doer. When acts inspired by desires are given up, this is called renuciation.

How to get freedom from Karma

We should always accept life as a challenge and not be disappointed by anthing, for life is simply a vehicle for us. It is only our ignorance that makes us think that we exist apart from the whole. It is the rope of karma which binds us and prevents us from realizing this. There are 2 paths to achieve liberation  from karma bondage:

  1. Renunciation/Tyagi: In this path, we say "I don't want any pleasure which is not practical in helping me achieve my goal. Thus I choose to lead a monastic  life". It is very hard path.

  2. Non-attachment: Don't get attached. Normally, we are slave of our duties. In this world we do our actions, but we must do them (every duty including family duties) selflessly and skillfully. Just learn the skill of performing our actions, yet remaining free from reaping the fruits. That is accomplished when we cultivate the attitude of love. Learn to do things for others because learning to act in this way libertes us. Whatever we do, do it with genuine interest. If we do not do things wholeheartedly we do not enjoy then, no matter how much selfless action we try to do. We just need to change our attitude. Decide in the morning that we will do our duty lovingly, no matter what is expected. If we think like that, we will find that we will not be tired at the end of the day as we usually are.

To become free from Karma and from all miseries and pains, we must gain knowledge - knowledge of the Self, of the mind, and of the Truth within. Life's problems cannot be avoided because of our previous karma and free-will. They have to be faced and accepted. We have no alternative but to learn to love our duty. Then it becomes easy. If we do not love something, and yet we do it, it creates a division in our mind, and gives us stress. Learn to create love toward your duties. It can be done. Coming to grips with life and karma by meeting their challenges with knowledge, spiritual strength, and skillful action done selflessly is the only way to be free from karma.

There are 3 obstacles in the path of doing one's karma successfully. They are:

  1. Enjoying the fruits of one's own actions; not giving them away to others. Give all credit to GOD.

  2. Not doing one's duty skillfully and selflessly. e.g Promotion will be given by employer if the employee does every assigned duty successfully and happily.

  3. Doing what is improper, that is doing what becomes obstacle in the path of progress.

Free-Will (Kriyamana/Udham Karma)
The advancategorye of being re-born as human is that it provides one with certain degree of free will which can be used for spiritual progress and for overcoming the bonds of past karma. All the scriptures are based on this fact and they advise directing the "Free Will" in the right channel.

Having free will means we have the ability to choose the direction we will go on the path that lays before us NOW (as per our karmas). e.g in a simple example, our thoughts (based upon karmas) will provoke us to do meditation but it is our decision to go with it or not. Another example is our good karma will wake us up in the morning and we think of doing meditation, but another part says go to sleep - I'll do it tomorrow; but ultimately it is our decision (free-will) whether to wake up and do meditation or not. By choosing our direction, WE bring experiences into your life. This is where free will interacts with the Universal Law of Cause & Effect.

Somtimes there are situations and events that do not involve free will choices, and can be seen predicted for certain. It is because of the result of our past free-will choices. e.g Earth changes.

Our "Free Will" is like the very limited freedom of a dog on a leash/chain. In other words, there is "Free Will", although its range is somewhat dictated by the past. It is because the environments around us, the relatives around us, and the situation in which we are at the moment are controlled by our past karmas. GOD created such atmosphere (based upon our karmas) and then gave us the choice: sometimes easy enough to decide and sometimes hard to decide. Our whole thinking process, habits etc. are made up from the subconscious mind and which in turns is based upon the impressions from the past karmas. In other words, the choices and decisions we make are greatly influenced by the habitual patterns of thought, feeling, and behavior arising from our past.

Actually "Free Will" is a delusion as long as one is a slave to the ego's fears and desires. "Free Will" can be exercised only when one is aware and unattached to desires, and the dualities of life, and has no ego. By cultivating non-attachment one sees beyond liking and disliking, success and failure, loss and gain, pleasure and pain, to the Truth of things.

There are those who totally believe in fate. They say all things are pre-destined, and we cannot change them. Others believe that there is no such thing as destiny at all - that we totally make our own reality. These two concepts are a paradox, and both are true. The paradox is this: we have free will and shape the future through our choices, but everything is pre-destined by a definite flow/Universal plan/pattern. Impossible, yet true. Don’t forget it is (Free will) a paradox. But also know this: there are two fields of prophecy. The first is the prediction of pre-destined events. The second is the prediction of events that are yet to be determined because they involve the free will choices of one or more individuals.

Cause and Effect (Karma) are very very vast. Cause and Effect works something like ripples in a pond. You throw in a rock and see the concentric circles go out from the point that the rock entered the pond. Most people only realize the rock was thrown in the pond, they don’t pay attention to what happens with ‘the ripples’. Even those who see the original ripples, usually don’t see beyond them. But if you watch the ripples closely, and keep following them, you see that the ripples may reach a shore, or a large rock in the pond, and then they bounce off and start making new ripples. And then the new ripples may even interact with the original ripples, or make more reflective ripples themselves. Human events are much like these ripples. One action sets an entire series of other actions into motion. And our ripples are interacting with other people’s ripples. Doing something that appears to be good, may not always create positive karma, it could even create negative karma.

e.g [ If you give some needy money, he could use that money for good but could also use towards something which could harm him/her or even someone else etc. On the other hand, you could insult the poor man and due to which he would stop begging and do something good with his life. This seems to be bad karma but you ended up being doing good karma. But the problem is that you do not know what that begger will do with our money. We cannot see that unless we're at higher spiritual level. Here higher beings can help us IF we surrender to GOD. ]

e.g [ For instance, let’s look again at the example of the beggar in the street that was used earlier. We said one scenario would be you gave him the money, he got warm clothes, a new livelihood, etc., and lived happily ever after. Wonderful. That would seem to be a positive outcome then, right? But let’s follow the ripples further. What if his new livelihood was making a special kind of glass that was impervious to changes in heat and cold, that subsequently enabled scientists to develop a new chemical for killing insects on farm plants, in order to help feed more people. But instead, the chemical had an unknown reaction, that began a process of some kind, that created weather or solar changes that started ruining the food plants, or created new diseases? Now is the initial karam was good or bad. ]

We could never know if we are doing good or bad because Karmas like ripples are very long AND we would not know if something good happened to us or bad happened to us because of the same reason. Therefore, just surrender ourself to GOD and do what HE wants. When God is our employer, and our life is truly dedicated toward serving others rather than dedicated to “self” survival, such things (Food, Shelter, Clothes, transportation etc.) aren’t an issue anymore. God is the true provider of all things, and provided for all those day to day needs for its humble servant (but everything could come through a variety of “normal” or “strange” sources).

Realizing our free will gives us the responsibility of choosing between the powers of light and of darkness - between selfishness and Unselfish Love - between our separate self, and God. We are responsible for the fruits of our current free-will choices.

Moreover, the only time one should interfere with another person’s free will, is when the other person is inflicting their will on someone else. Universal Law dictates that we are not to interfere with the free will of others, regardless of whether or not we think their actions are wrong. Even if we KNOW for certain something is wrong or the person will get hurt, other than warning them about the effects they are causing, we are NOT to interfere with their freedom.