ACTION AND CONSEQUENCE
The only thing each soul takes from each lifetime is our karma and the consequences that the soul must face as part of our education and purification that takes all souls from ignorance, selfish egotism and vice to Enlightenment, virtue-love-wisdom.
Regardless of the source of our negative karma (problems) it is our responsibility to learn how to choose to respond to these issues. If get caught in the "blame game" then we are stuck blaming others, life, or ourself. When we are suffering then we can accept, acknowledge, understand, and act positively in our attempt to overcome the difficulty.
- KARMA MEANS ACTIVITY: Actions and their Consequences
- KARMA YOGA: Yoga of good activity
- How to avoid activity from selfish egotism
- Don't mistake activity for achievement
- THE TRINITY OF ACTIVITY: Creation, Maintenance, and Change.
- CREATION, MAINTENANCE, CHANGE.
- IMPORTANCE OF UNDERSTANDING MAINTENANCE.
- IMPORTANCE OF UNDERSTANDING CHANGE.
- IF CONSEQUENCES ARE THE RESULT OF KARMA SHOULD WE HELP OTHERS?
- GAINING SKILLS TO SERVE LIFE: Making good work.
- SVADHARMA: Finding activities that suit your temperament.
- LIFE IS SERVICE.
- ACTIONS AND CONSEQUENCES.
- KARMA AND CONSCIENCE: Swami Sivananda speaks on karma
- KARMIC CLEANSING: Purifying your soul from all past negative karma
- REINCARNATION: God's gift of life to the soul.
- FUTURE LIVES: The Law of Karma takes care of all justice needs
- Related Reading
KARMA MEANS ACTIVITY
Karma is a Sanskrit word that means activity. Consequence follows action and we are all responsible for our actions - in thought and in deed. Karma and it's consequences follows a soul through many incarnations. So we must learn to put matters straight, get on the good path, and get it right.
Karma Yoga is a set of spiritual guidelines that help us get on the good path, serve life and God, and remove many negative karmic consequences from previous lifetimes.
God can remove any negative karma if It thinks this is appropriate to our learning and development.
Karma yoga basically consists of entirely selfless service, in which the Ego is given up to the desire of the soul to serve God in every thing, be it man, animal or plant. To respect and love life and to serve it all with Virtue-Love-Compassion-Wisdom-Balance.
Karma (activity) performed by right means is "karma yoga" and is:
- harmless and non-violent
- respectful to life, cooperative in nature, and mutually beneficial to all life
How to avoid negative karma from activity arising from selfish egotism
Whatever we do, we do by cooperating with the God given experiences of body, heart, mind, soul, and environment therefore everything we experience and do is only possible because God has created it All thus the wise work respectfully, harmlessly, healthily, and cooperatively with the body, heart, mind, soul, and environment in the mode of sattva – LoveWisdomGoodnessHealthBalance - taking only WHAT WE NEED and giving the rest to appropriate others - (serving the God in All).
When somebody compliments us on our achievement we accept the compliment with thanks and inside we pass the compliment on to God, knowing that it is God that has made it all possible and we can feel good that by cooperating with God good experiences have arisen for all.
We souls consciously cooperate with our God given good qualities to make good things happen and to bring happiness to all. If we are thanked and complimented then we silently offer a prayer of thanks to God for making it all happen. God, the cause of all causes and source of The Creation, is the provider of all experiences, so it is That which we thank and compliment.
"God has given me this life and these skills, qualities, and attributes of body, heart, mind, and soul, so that I may improve and enhance life for all sentient beings - for all souls. I dedicate this action to all souls and I thank God for providing the possibility for me to cooperate with It in bringing happiness to All."
If I have good qualities then I love and thank God that these things exist.
If I have bad qualities then I love and thank God that these things can to be understood and overcome.
Either way, always love and thank God for all things. Do not claim anything as your own, realize that everything about life is God given and in this way avoid egotistical claims that always spoil the experience, activity, or achievement.
LOVE-WISDOM-GOODNESS-HEALTH-BALANCE: Whatsoever is done, however large or small, as a skillful and devotional offering to the holistic health and welfare of the Unity of Life, this is an act of LoveWisdomGoodness. For those who skillfully serve LoveWisdomGoodness for the benefit of all, all negative karma and negative holistic habits eventually drop away, and this process can be consiously done by taking control of your own holistic purification.
Try to make all your activities an act of pure LoveWisdomGoodnessHealthBalance.
Don't mistake activity for achievement
Karma yoga is skillful life service dedicated to "The One in All."
I do what I can to the best of my abilities. I understand my limits and I try to learn. By steadily and holistically improving myself, I am able to deliver a higher quality service to the collective community of life.
"Whatever you do, let it be a perfect act. What is a perfect act? It harms nobody, it brings at least some benefit to somebody. If you have control, you can use anything and everything to achieve some good purpose. Keep that in mind as your goal. Whatever you think, whatever you say or do, ask yourself: 'Will it harm anybody?' The answer should be, 'Absolutely no.' The next point is, 'Will it at least benefit somebody.' The answer should be 'Yes.' If it is not benefiting anybody, it is a wastage. So, no harm to anybody, at least some benefit to somebody." - Swami Satchidananda: Integral Yoga Institute.
THE TRINITY OF ACTIVITY: Creation, Maintenance, and Change
"THE TRINITY OF
Brahma (creation), Vishnu (maintenance), Rudra (change/dissolution)
This is the trinity of activity and is represented in Hindu symbol above featuring Brahma (creation), Vishnu (maintenance), and Rudra (change/dissolution). We observe this trinity in all life activities.
Coming to terms with death (change as dissolution) is essential for a healthy life. Not just death in the physical sense but the coming to end of events in all areas of life (each chakra). In relationships, in projects, in groups, in everything. When we come to terms with this fact of life, then we learn how to let go of the old and embrace the new.
CREATION, MAINTENANCE, CHANGE
The Three Governing Principles of Life Activity. Everything in Life obeys these three principles. Every area of life will involve communication and action based around these three principles. We can learn more about each principle by considering what is required at each stage.
- Similarity of purpose.
- Meeting with appropriate others.
- Establishing required resources and skills.
- Gathering of Appropriate Resources.
- Organization and Itemization.
- Persistence .
- Judgment .
IMPORTANCE OF UNDERSTANDING MAINTENANCE
After creating something we then need to decide whether or not we want to maintain it - keep it alive.
IMPORTANCE OF UNDERSTANDING CHANGE
Learn to love change and overcome grief
Life is always changing, moving, mutating. If we are successful at creating and maintaining then we need to be open and ready for the inevitable changes that is the very nature of life. Life is not static, it is fluid, always in movement. We need to learn how to be flexible and adaptive to the reality of change otherwise stagnation will set in. Stagnation is death. Stagnation is decline. Whatever happens change will occur. Change towards growth. Change towards decline. The movement of the changes in our lives depends on our understanding and skill in creating and maintaining and our openness to change.
It is useful to realize this and try to master this trinity so that we can achieve:
Happy acceptance of change.
Another important trinity of activity is:
"Do your work as service, then let go, relax, play, enjoy your leisure."
IF CONSEQUENCES ARE THE RESULT OF KARMA SHOULD WE HELP OTHERS?
Well, Swami said everybody has their own karma; the unhappy person must have done some wretched thing in his last birth. Let him suffer now." That should not be our attitude. Maybe, they are suffering from previous bad karma, but we should cultivate compassion. If you can lend a helping hand, do it. If you can share half of your loaf, share it. Be merciful always. By doing that, you will retain the peace and poise of your mind. Remember, our goal is to keep the serenity of our mind. Whether our mercy is going to help that person or not, by our own feeling of mercy, at least we are helped.
To be in the position to wisely and skillfully help others, the awakened soul has a duty to:
- Understand the seven chakra system of the human experience
- purifyall seven chakras of the human experience
- Understand the influences upon the chakras that imbalance them (the three qualities (gunas) of nature
- Integrate the seven chakras in a holistically balanced way
- Integrate the inner male and female sides in a holistically balanced and healthy way
- Understand and Heal the inner child and all life traumas that we have experienced so far and have the tools and skills to heal any future traumas that may happen
- Learn the wisdom and discernment to know how best and most appropriately to help all varieties of individuals
- Be skilled in deep listening and gain certification in counselling skills
In a nutshell, please follow and study the HELM guided study program to gain a rounded knowledge of all these, and other crucial subjects.
The first person we need to help, heal, and support is ourself. We have to be in a healthy, grounded, knowledgeable, skillful, and wise position to be able to help another. Otherwise we will lack the knowledge, skill, understanding, and wisdom to be able to help another.
GAINING SKILLS TO SERVE LIFE: Making good work
To maintain and improve the quality of life, and our service to life, then we need to gain skills that we can put to good use.
The gaining of skill is an essential activity if we are to serve life with confidence.
SVADHARMA: Finding activities and occupation that suits your temperament
Svadharma means "doing that which comes naturally to you and is always good for everybody" - our natural calling in life. When we try to do things that are not part of our natural character (our soul) then we often fail. This is because we are not following our svadharma - the natural temperaments of our soul.
Bhagavad Gita: Chapter 3 - The Yoga of Action
Find out what your svadharma is. Ask yourself, "How do I feel when I am doing certain things? Does something come easily? Is it natural for me or am I trying to imitate somebody else?"
First, take stock of your natural inclinations and your capability, which is your taste, temperament, style, and capacity. With some things it's so natural. You're like a fish in the water. You just know: "Ahh, that's what I'm meant to do." This is your svadharma.
Svadharma is different from karma (which is just an action based on selfish interest). Svadharma is something righteous, natural, and benefits everybody. That is why you cannot say "It is my svadharma to steal." The word dharma always implies benefit to the welfare of everybody - there's no personal desire behind it.
Our svadharma may change over the years. It's not a conscious decision, it just flows, it develops naturally. It is often unplanned by you and it is always good for everybody.
LIFE IS SERVICE TO THE ONE IN ALL
There is only one universal, unified, living entity that is the Totality of All - God. So in truth there is nothing but God. God is All. So we serve God in the All - that is the essence of karma yoga.
Everything in life serves the whole. Each organ of the body serves. The mind serves. The heart serves. The soul serves. God serves the whole Creation. The whole of nature serves the Unity of Life on Earth - the One in All. The only thing that does not serve is the egotistical selfish mindstate of human ignorance, narcissism, and egotism.
Yoga serves to rid humanity of the mindstate of egotism. That's the whole point of the science of yoga - the operation of the egodectomy by the removal of its cause - spiritual ignorance. The removal of the selfish ego by purification and the appointment of the spiritually motivated soul to take charge of the body/mind/worldly character.
We can make our activities a great ocean of holistic life support that lovingly benefits the lives of many or we can fall foul of egoism and become a sad and selfish personality on the Great Stage of Life. As our holistic awareness of interconnectivity and interdependence increase sthen we begin to realize the great benefit of becoming "a Holistic Life Support Nodule in the Great Network of Creation!"
Karma Yoga is a technique to avoid the arising of egoism.
Karma yoga is thus the conscious interpretation of our life activities as acts of loving service and support to "The Unity of Life on Earth.
For example, we perform some activity, like washing up, and to avoid egoism - getting all puffed up with self-admiration - we then dedicate that action back to life "I dedicate this washing up action to the health and well-being of my family."
Every time you do something, feel, "May this activity be dedicated to The Unity of Life on Earth."
Mine binds, Thine Liberates. If you drop "mines" all over, they will "undermine" your life - or blow up in your face. But if you change all the "mines" to Thine, you will always be tranquil and safe.
Let us dedicate our lives to The Unity of Life on Earth.
Can we see how karma yoga cuts right through the possibility of getting egotistical and at the same time it helps us to increase our heart (fourth) chakra awareness and expression by learning to consider others?
ACTIONS AND CONSEQUENCES
As we sow, so shall we reap, in this life and in the next.
Karma and it's consequences follows a soul from one life to the next, weaving itself into inner and outer events.
Outer events are concerned with our interactions and experiences in the world and the Creation.
God helps the soul sorts out negative karmic problems by:
- REINCARNATION: God's gift of life to the soul
- Appropriate forgiveness and merciful acts
- Providence: Divine intervention
- Teaching the soul how to live the good spiritual life
- Showing the soul, often by direct experience, the error of deluded/egotistical behaviour and of previous mistakes in previous lives
KARMA AND CONSCIENCE
Souls who are still behaving with egotism and vice (badness) arising from spiritual ignorance, are always, beneath their amoral arrogant pride, full of deep rooted fear, guilt, bad feelings, anxiety, mental confusion, and shame, because their conscience (which is an inbuilt spiritually atuned part of the soul) is trying to alert them to the fact that they are making a huge mistake by choosing to behave as they do. All the negativity, pain, and suffering that they give to others will be experienced by themselves in future lives due to this planting of a huge harvest of negative karma. By choosing to embark upon the necessary process of soul purification and conscious self development we can begin to purify our karmic account and learn moral and virtuous behaviour.
Swami Sivananda speaks on karma
Action and reaction are one and the same. You can't separate the action from the reaction. If, as I'm walking along the street, I see a person lying injured, I can't say, "Oh, it's his karma. Let him die there. He is suffering because he did some wrong Karma in the past." and then walk by. His karma may be bad; he is suffering for that. But I also have a duty: to help. As a human being, love and compassion are inherent in me. He may die; I may not be able to save him. But I must try. As an example: There is an artist from Bulgaria living near the Yoga Camp. I used to take people there sometimes to see his paintings. One day I went there and he said, "Swamiji, our dog is missing. If you ever see him anywhere nearby, please report it to me." The next day I was driving to Montreal alone, and I saw a dog just like his lying on the road. It was partially paralyzed from being hit by a car. I thought that it must be his missing dog, so I put it in my station wagon and directly brought it to the artist. He took one look and said, "Swamiji, it's not my dog."
So now what shall I do? Shall I throw the dog back on the road? No. I am stuck with a paralyzed dog. I must do whatever I can. So, I brought it to a veterinarian. He found that the pelvis and legs were so broken that it would never be able to walk again. The animal was in such a tremendous pain from internal injuries that he had to be put to sleep. It was very hard for me to do that, but I brought the dog to the ASPCA and told them the situation. They said, "Okay we know what to do." I was asked to bring the dog over to be put inside a window. Do you know what was behind this window? The gas chamber. But what could I do? I couldn't keep it since it was in such pain with no way to be cured. That the only thing I could do.
So, with my own hands I put a live dog into a gas chamber. Do I get bad Karma for that? If I do, I don't mind at all, because I couldn't bear to see the suffering of that dog. That was my entire intention - to end his suffering.
So it is not the action but the intention. My intention was not to bring any suffering to the dog. I would have done anything if I could have saved that dog and given him help. But the dog's karma was that he had to die, and at the last moment I must carry him to the death chamber. That's my Karma. Somehow some past relationship existed. But I did not do my part with malice or anger; I was helpless.
I'll give another example of how Karma works. I was on a pilgrimage as a swami. The custom is that we wander penniless, begging food when hungry. I wanted to go to the Himalayas, to Badrinath, at about 15,000 or 16,000 feet with only one small blanket. I had never seen snow before in my life. I was barefoot and had no money because I had decided to go by begging, even though it is very difficult to get any food in those places. Many pilgrims carried their own food. In those days there was no hut or anything, just a small tiny path. Each day you walked about 15 or 20 miles and then rested and cooked a little food before continuing to walk until evening. But, as I didn't have any food or money, I had to rely solely on begging in order to survive.
After walking a few days, hunger came more and more. One morning, when people started cooking their food, I climbed up to the near village to beg some food, but there were only very poor people so I came down without getting anything. I was lying under a tree. I had only my cloth and a blanket and a vessel. I was really hungry and tired. It was evening and I had to walk again without food. I was only 18 or 19 then. As I was thinking that I must get up, an old pilgrim walked by. He saw a swami lying under a tree and he asked me, "Are you hungry? Do you want something?" "Yes, I am hungry. I want something." Pilgrims usually carried only enough food for 30 days. He carried some dried food fried in ghee and with sugar on it. He had just a certain amount, enough so that he can reach his destination and then come back, because there's nothing to get on the route. But from this small ration, he took some carefully, and gave it to me. I put out my cloth and he put the food in there. I was so happy - something to eat and it smelled so wonderful too.
Then I thought, "the sun is hot. Let me take a bath in the Ganges; afterwards I can really enjoy the food." So I left the food there on the shore in my cloth and jumped into the Ganges. After one dip I came out shivering. As I picked up my cloth, all the food fell out into the water.
Do you understand the suffering I went through? Food came to my hand. Almost to my mouth. But my Karma was that I could not eat. That pilgrim's Karma was to give me from his own rations. It doesn't matter whether I am going to eat or not. That's not his problem. He has to share his food with another hungry person. And he did this with all his heart. But my Karma was there; I could not eat.
Now do you understand how karma works? My Karma was that I must have taken some food from someone's mouth before, perhaps in a previous life. So I had to undergo the same suffering as I had created for another person. I did not share, so I suffered.
That evening I walked under painful conditions. I reached the next place where we were going to camp for the night. An old swami came and looked at me. He asked me, "Where do you come from?" "I come from Sivanandashram. I am going on a pilgrimage." He took me by the hand as if he knew me and led me to a small hut. There a sumptious meal was waiting. After we ate he said, "you cannot go alone; I will take you." From then onwards he fed me. So I must have also earned some good Karma.
Karma has brought me so many things. I've got ashrams in various places. I've got Paradise Island which has a private beach, and I've got yachts and boats and so forth. But none of them do I keep for my sake or in my name. I don't have a penny. I will not keep any money in the bank in my name, not will I keep a house or anything. If I did that while all these people are working without getting a penny, my Karma would be so painful, like the lowest animal eating human flesh.
So your Karma will work out. Your duty is only to have love and to serve. Don't worry about good karma or bad karma. We don't know whether we are making fresh karma or enjoying old karma. We don't know. The peace of mind will come.
PURIFYING YOUR KARMA FROM THIS AND ALL PREVIOUS LIVES
KARMA AND DESIRE
As actions are impelled by thoughts and desires no one but you is responsible for the subsequent reactions, good and bad, which are the outcome of desires.
Man's nature is threefold:
- Ichchla - desire, feeling.
- Jnana - knowing.
- Kriya - willing.
Before committing any action of importance you should think clearly, which most people do not, and weigh up the possible consequences. This, people will not do, as at the time their horizon is bounded by desire. Desires are illusory, for no sooner is one desire satisfied than, more often than not, it is no longer desirable. An employee of the electricity board in this village hankered after a certain make of car costing £3,000, a price far beyond his reach. Then his father, a provident man, died leaving him precisely that sum which, instead of being invested wisely, was spent to gratify his desire.
When I saw him weeks later and asked how he was enjoying his new toy his face lit up: 'You should see the eyes of the householders pop with astonishment when I go to read their meters,' he said; 'it gives me a hell of a kick.' He soon dis-covered, however, that this monster had an insatiable thirst which his pocket could not satisfy; repair and other bills ate holes into his savings and - most tragic of all - the car depreciated in looks and value. When he had gratified his desire of racing up the M1 at 'over a ton' the thrill soon palled and when he was prosecuted for exceeding the speed limit and had his licence endorsed he began to realize that his patrimony had been frittered away. He aquired a little wisdom, sold the apple of his eye arid now goes about his lawful occasions in a much more modest vehicle.
Every Thought Is A Seed
The moment you think, you tend to start a chain of actions, though frequently thoughts of desire lead only to day drearns. They are like seeds, many of which fail to fertilize; but those that do flourish and produce flowers and fruit always have the same kind of fruit; that is, an apple pip will produce only apples; a peach stone only peaches.
Every action has a threefold effect: it leaves an impression on your mind which will urge you to repeat the action until it becomes habit; it affects character; it has external effects.
To discipline (not repress) your mind you should indulge in pranayama and mowna (silence). Retire if you can to a quiet spot, a room of your own if possible, and meditate in silence. Meditation moulds character.
Desire, Thought and Action
These three always go together and when the threads are twisted in to one they form the Cord of Karma. Thoughts lead to desires; desires produce emotions; emotions affect the endocrine glands which secrete hormones into the bloodstream and in due course the character built up by desires, thoughts and emotions is reflected in your face.
Physical characteristics are shaped by the way you think and act! As we think, so we become.
Beauty is not formed by bone structure alone but by desires, thoughts and emotions, Riffle through the pages of the 'glossy' magazines devoted to the caperings of Society and a glance at the faces of 'beautiful' women will reveal vacinity, hardness arid ambition. Study the photographs of business tycoons and their mouths and eyes reveal the ruthlessness necessary to claw their way to the top. On the other hand some plain, even 'ugly', people have kind, generous expressions and when they smile their faces light up with true beauty. Thoughts and desires lay the foundations of character. Have no doubt about it.
Vedantic literature gives us innumerable analogies to illustrate truths, The bundle of arrows an archer has in his quiver is likened to sanchita. The arrow he shoots into the air is prarabdha and cannot be recalled. The arrow he is about to release is agami.
He has complete control over sanchita and agami but none over prarabdha. He must take thought betore loosening his arrows for he alone is responsible for the damage they may cause or the benefits they may bring.
What you are today is the product of what you thought and did in the past. If your deeds were evil you will pay by good actions in this life until the slate is wiped clean; then the tide will turn in your favour. But if you continue in your evil ways the chance will not come again until you are reincarnated.
If, however, you have lived constructively in a past incarnation and developed your character, your path should be smooth and your future rosy, unless you descend to depravity once more, in which case you will amass a further debt. Some lucky people seem unable to put a foot wrong. They are reaping the benefits of past virtue.
FUTURE LIVES: The Law of Karma takes care of all justice needs
When we perceive and experience the injustice, lies, dishonesty, corruption, and vice (which all has its roots in spiritual/metaphysical ignorance (avidya) and arising selfish egotism (asmita)), we may begin to analyse each instance of it like the leaves on a tree, getting highly emotional charged concerning the individual souls who are behaving in such ways, and overlook or forget THE ROOT CAUSE OF THE BEHAVIOUR, which is completely explained in this one sutra and commentary from The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali.
Click the link for the full explanation and commentary:
Once we understand the curriculum of the soul embodied in the human experience in a soul-school, like Planet Earth, then we realise that reincarnation is a reality and that NO SOUL CAN ESCAPE THEIR KARMIC CONSEQUENCES OF THEIR ACTIONS! So there is no need to get entangled in a web of wrathful and vicious reactions of anger, hatred, blame, and revenge because other souls are doing you and your loved ones wrong. You realise that you are a soul, not the physical body, and that once you have learned the difference between good (virtue-love-wisdom-enlightenment) and bad (selfish ego-based ignorance and vice) then you have GRADUATED FROM SOUL SCHOOL and that YOU ARE FREE to explore and live in any area and in any physical body within The Creation!
TAKE NOTE DEAR SOUL!
If at anytime in future lives you fall into IGNORANCE AND SELFISH MERCENARY EGOTISM then you will once again have to go through a soul-school until you have once again learned that which you need to learn to purify your soul and once again become established in virtue-love-wisdom-enlightened behaviour, and thus reincarnate in more suitable circumstances for your soul, and this matter and type of future lives is entirely your responsibility.
ALSO! Even if you do no wrong, all souls are still required to attend and graduate from a soul-school at regular time intervals, so as to appreciate just how bad the darkness of ignorance is, and just how good the understanding and experience of enlightened behavior and freedom is!
Many enlightened souls, decide to spend time as a guide and teacher within soul-schools, because we realise how important it is to help our family of All Souls, to also graduate from soul-school and gain their freedom!
- Divine Life Society: Karma Yoga
- HELM Guided Study
- The Indivual Soul
- Egotism, Ignorance, and Selfishness
- Integration of The Seven Centers
- Narcissism: Selfish Egotism In Action
- Personality and The Seven Centers
- Psychology Index
- Purification and The Seven Centers
- Spiritual Ignorance
- Stages of Human Development