Archive for the ‘Routine part 3’ Category

Forgiveness

Posted: 28/11/2013 in Routine part 3

If we have injured space, the earth, or heaven, or if we have offended mother or father, from that may Agni, fire of the house, forgive us and guide us safely to the world of goodness.

Atharva Veda 6.120. VE, P. 636

The Art of Forgiveness

The Vedas are full of verses which speak of the Divine within man, and therefore Hindu Dharma today implores us to let go of grudges, resentment and especially self-contempt. Most people today are working harder to correct the faults of others than they are their own. It is a thankless job. It truly is. Most are trying to recreate the relatively real world into being absolutely real. Another thankless job. The wise implore us to accept things as they are, to be happy and content at every point in time. They tell us: do not be discouraged in seeing the failings of others. Rather, let it help awaken your understanding of them as to where they are in consciousness and the suffering they must be going through. If others harm you in thought, word or deed, do not resent it. Rather, let it awaken compassion, kindness and forgiveness. Use it as a mirror to view your own frailties; then work diligently to bring your own thoughts, words and deeds into line with Hindu Dharma.

The secret is that we have to correct all matters within ourselves. We have to bear our karmas — the reactions to our actions — cheerfully. And what are the apparent injustices of life but the self-created reactions of our own past actions in this or a former life? The person of perfect understanding accepts all happenings in life as purposeful and good. We must be grateful to others for playing back to us our previous actions so that we can see our mistakes and experience the same feelings we must have caused in others. It is in this way that we are purified and trained not to commit the same adharmic acts again.

All the great ones have preached the art of forgiveness. First we must learn to forgive ourselves, to accept ourselves as we are and proceed with confidence. Many people live their whole lives immersed in guilt. It’s a way of life passed on from generation to generation. It’s like a passive fear, different from a threatening fear. Certain religions push people into fear and guilt. Therefore, if they don’t feel guilty, they don’t feel that they are being religious. Mary Baker Eddy once said God is love and was viciously attacked for it by the Christian community of her day, who believed with a vengeance that God is wrathful, fear invoking. Families who live in guilt pass it on to their children. People who live in a state of guilt don’t give a lot, they don’t produce a lot, and they don’t move forward spiritually very far.

New energy is released for a healthy future when we forgive ourselves. Yes, forgiveness is a powerful force. We must start with ourselves, for as long as we hold self-contempt, we are unable to forgive others, because everyone else is a reflection of ourself. We react to what we see in them that we are not ready to face up to in ourselves.

It is a great power to be able to look beyond ourselves and see others as they really are, how they really think and how they really feel. When we are wrapped up in our own individual ego, this is hard to do. We surmise that those we know are exactly like us, and we find fault with them when they are not. But eventually we break the shell of the ego — an act symbolized by smashing the rough, dark brown coconut in the temple, revealing the beauty of the pure, white fruit inside which represents our pristine spiritual nature. It takes a hard blow to subdue our ego, and this is never without pain. But we can remove the ego’s hard shell painlessly through absolute surrender to Hindu Dharma, absolute surrender to our own soul, to God within us. External worship and internal worship, external surrender and internal surrender, bring about the softening of the ego and the unveiling of spirit.

Congested Energies

What is resentment? Resentment is pranic force, subtle energy, that is congested. What is love? Love is pranic force that is flowing and uncongested. When someone performs an injustice toward us, he is giving us a conglomerate of congested prana. If we were able to look at it in the astral world, we would see it as a confused mass of disharmonious colors and shapes. If we are unable to remain detached, we become upset and resentful. Instinctively this prana is held by us and only released when we find it in our heart to forgive the person. At the moment of true forgiveness, the congested prana is transferred back to the person who harmed or insulted us.

Now we can see that when we resent or hold something against someone, we are actually astrally connected to him and, in fact, holding back the karma that will automatically come to him as a result of his harmful act. If we forgive the offender, we release the congested energy. Then the unfailing karmic law begins to work. In other words, his actions will cause a reaction back on him, and we won’t be involved in the process at all. That is why the Tirukural, a wonderful book written 2,200 years ago, tells us, “Though unjustly aggrieved, it is best to suffer the suffering and refrain from unrighteous retaliation. Let a man conquer by forbearance those who in their arrogance have wronged him” (157-8).

However, it would not be wise to accept the transgressor back in your life until true remorse is shown and resentment on his part is dissolved through apology and reconciliation. Otherwise, wisdom indicates he might just commit the same hurtful acts again. I was asked recently what we mean in sutra 270 which says monastics forgive hurts quickly and inwardly, but not outwardly until the offender reconciles. The devotee who asked the question said he has taken a lot of physical and emotional abuse, as well as verbal abuse, from his family. He had forgiven them inwardly but wanted to know what their relationship should be, now that he had reached middle age. We forgive inwardly because we know the experience is the result of our karma that we have put into motion in the past. But we hold a friendly, firm wall between ourselves and the offenders, which means a friendly distance, because we know that it is their kukarma, too, which must be reconciled with apologies and with the assurance that the offense won’t happen again.

To be affectionately detached — that is a power. That is a wisdom. But detachment does not mean running away from life or being insensitive or passively accepting harm to yourself or loved ones. When we have the ability to let go, through forgiveness, we are warmer, more friendly, more wholesome, more human and closer to our family and friends.

Just the opposite happens if we remain attached by resenting what happened in the past. Take the example of a teenager who sees a promising future ahead of him, then experiences begin to happen in his life, some of which are unpleasant. If these are not resolved, negative prana begins piling up within his subconscious mind, vasanas are made, and the future begins to diminish from view. Year after year, as he grows older, the past gets bigger and bigger and bigger, and the future gets smaller and smaller and smaller. Finally, there is so much resentment that the once joyful adolescent grows into a depressed and bitter adult. Eventually he develops cancer and dies lonely and miserable.

To have a happy future with your family and friends, don’t ignore difficulties that come up between you. Sit down with them and talk things over. Stand on your own two feet, head up and spine straight and bring it all out in the open. Let them know how you feel about what they said or what they did. Especially in Asia, so many things are swept under the carpet, not talked about and left to smolder and mold there. But now, in today’s world, we must clean up the mess in order to go along into a happy future. The basic foundation of Sanatana Dharma is ahimsa, nonhurtfulness, physically, mentally and emotionally. We must always remember this.

Forgiving Is Health Giving

We recently learned that the oldest person in the world is a 118-year-old lady in Canada, who happens to be vegetarian. She is quite up in the news and in the Guinness Book of Records. In a study of her life and that of several others over age 110 it was asked, “How have they lived so long? Why are they still living? What is their secret?” The answer is that these elderly folk are optimistic. They see a future, and that keeps them living. They are easy-going, good-humored, contented and have a philosophy of forgiveness toward what anybody has done to them along the way. They are successful at flowing with the events of life and do not hold on to a lot of resentment or congested pranas. It is when hate and resentment become a way of life that we begin to worry and wonder what life is all about. Forgiving others is good for your health.

The wise have given a remedy, an effective penance, prayashchitta, that can be performed to get rid of the bundle of past resentment and experience forgiveness and the abundance of divine energy that comes as an aftermath. Write down in detail all the resentments, misunderstandings, conflicts and confusions that you are still holding onto. As you complete each page, crumple it up and burn it in a garbage can or fireplace. When the mind sees the fire consuming the paper, it intuits that the burden is gone. It is the emotion connected to the embedded experience that actually goes away.

Resentment is a terrible thing. It affects the astral body and then the physical. When there is a health problem, there may well be a forgiveness problem. Resentment is crippling to the astral body and the emotions, because when we resent others, we can’t get them out of our mind — we are definitely attached to them. Resentment is equally distributed worldwide. Workers resent their bosses. Bosses resent the owners. Owners of companies resent the government. This is modern society today. This is all-pervasive ignorance, and ignorance added to ignorance makes ignorance stronger. One resentment adds to another in the subconscious mind.

We must begin the healing by first forgiving ourselves, by claiming our spiritual heritage, gaining a new image of ourselves as a beautiful, shining soul of radiant light. Then we can look at the world through the eyes of Hindu Dharma. The Yajur Veda expounds, “He who dwells in the light, yet is other than the light, whom the light does not know, whose body is the light, who controls the light from within — He is the soul within you.”

When this vasana daha tantra, subconscious purification by fire, is complete, you will never feel the same again. After this spiritual experience, religion, Hindu Dharma, will be foremost in your life. All other activities — business, social and family life — will circle around your newly found ideals. Many of the wealthiest people on our planet have kept their religion first, their family and business second and other activities third. Their timing was always right. They were magnetic and happy. Others were happy to be near them.

Well-Directed Willpower

Everyone has willpower. It is inherent to the makeup of the physical-astral-mental-emotional body. The center of willpower is the manipura chakra, located at the solar plexus. Unlike other energies, the more willpower we use, the more willpower we have to use. Actually, by exerting our willpower, we store up new energy within the manipura chakra. This happens when we work a little harder than we think we can, do a little more than we think we can do. By putting forth that extra effort, we build up a great willpower that we will always have with us, even in our next life, the next and the next. Willpower is free for the using, actually.

When we relate willpower to actions and compare actions to dharma or adharma, we find that adharmic, or unrighteous, actions bring uncomfortable results, and dharmic actions bring comfortable results. If we act wrongly toward others, people will act wrongly toward us. Then, if we are of a lower nature, we resent it and retaliate. This is a quality of the instinctive mind: “You strike me once, I’ll strike you back twice. You make a remark to me that I don’t like, and I will put you down behind your back. I will make up stories about you to get even and turn other people’s minds against you.” This is retaliation — a terrible negative force. When we use our willpower to retaliate against others, we do build up a bank account of willpower, to be sure, because we do have to put out extra effort. But we also build up a bank account of negative karma that will come back on us full force when we least expect it. When it does, if we remain locked in ignorance, we will resent that and retaliate against the person who plays our karma back to us, and the cycle will repeat itself again and again and again.

Those living in the higher nature know better. Belief in karma and reincarnation are strong forces in a Hindu. South India’s Saint Tiruvalluvar said it so simply, “Worthless are those who injure others vengefully, while those who stoically endure are like stored gold. Just as the Earth bears those who dig into her, it is best to bear with those who despise us” (Tirukural 155-151).

Nevertheless, we see society tearing itself apart through retaliation. Respectable organizations retaliate against their leader, against each other. Countries divide and retaliate. Political parties retaliate. Vindictive law cases are professionally handled retaliation. To retaliate means to pay back injury with injury, to return like for like, evil for evil, an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth. It seems to be a part of humankind, though it is a negative part of humankind. It does not have to prevail. It is not spiritual. We would say it is demonic. We would say it is asuric. We would say it is unnecessary behavior, unacceptable behavior, a wrong use of willpower. People who have a lot of will can, if they wish, retaliate very, very well. They can ruin another person. But remember, the force will come back on them three times stronger than they gave it out, because their strong willpower will bring it back with vigor. This is the law.

Deciding on A Better Way

The wise person chooses his actions according to dharma, which is quite specific as to how we must behave. Those who connive to retaliate after a misunderstanding comes up should know they are carving a destiny of unhappiness for themselves by digging a pit of remorse, self-condemnation and depression. They will fall into it in the far-off future.

Some might ask, “Does nonretaliation mean that one should not protect himself, his family, his community?” We are talking about revenge, not self-defense. To oppose the actions of an intruder to one’s home or community at the time of the intrusion is very different from tracking him down later and vandalizing his home in retaliation. We cannot hurt another without getting hurt back in the future through some other way, generally through other people not even associated with the person we hurt. Those who offend us or commit crimes against us, we can be sure, will receive justice in an unerring manner through the law of karma. If the matter is a serious one, we can seek reconciliation through the laws of the land. In criminal cases, justice can be sought through the courts. It is not wise to take matters into our own hands and be the instrument of punishment, for by doing so we reap the same negative karma as the offender. Retaliation on a wide scale can be seen in cases of mob violence, terrorism and guerrilla warfare.

Therefore, it is wise to cultivate the powerful force of compassion, of righteous response, forgiveness, of admitting our own mistakes, of not lying our way out of a situation just to make ourself look good or putting others down so we can stand taller, so that we can save face. That is a face you would not want to save. It is a face not worth saving.

Those who accept the truth that retaliation is not the proper way to live, but are unable to stop trying to get even, are on the road to correcting themselves, especially if they feel remorseful about their impulses and actions. Through divine sight the soul perceives unwise actions, performed when in the lower nature, as a hindrance to spiritual progress. Penance received from a guru or swami and well performed by the devotee propels the soul into its natural state of bliss. All help is given by the divine devas to those seen performing a sincere penance. Gurus of every lineage receive the verbal confession of devotees and give out the appropriate penance, prayashchitta. They recognize divine absolution, knowing the penance has been fulfilled, when the inner aura is as bright as a new-born child’s, the face happy and the testimony about the results of the penance discloses true atonement.

The Dalai Lama’s Example

Speaking of nonretaliation, the peace-loving Dalai Lama, exiled leader of Tibetan Buddhism, is setting an extraordinary example of not striking back at antagonists. He has campaigned relentlessly for political assistance for his people’s cause since 1959, when at age fifteen he fled across the Himalayas and into India for help. Even today he approaches the Chinese with care and respect, though he never forgets China’s armed takeover of his nation in 1957 and the extermination of 1.2 million Tibetans by 1972. This humble being has never failed to exemplify the dharma of compassion, advocating “the kind of love you can have even for those who have done you harm.” He once wrote: “My enemy is my best friend and my best teacher, because he gives me the opportunity to learn from adversity.”

If there were anyone who could justifiably lash out in a vindictive way, it would be the Dalai Lama; but he has chosen a higher path. We listened to him appeal for Tibetan autonomy over the years at international conferences in Oxford, Moscow, Rio de Janeiro and Chicago, where he never deviated from his posture of love, trust and compassion, with full confidence that the divine law will finally manifest a righteous outcome, an agreeable solution. He also acknowledged that this persecution is a karma that his own people set in motion in the past. He is setting a noble pattern in the international arena, where spiritual people can forge, and are forging, new principles for a global dharma.

On an individual level, all can strive to give up the urge to “get even,” heeding the Vedic admonition, “Here they say that a person consists of desires. And as is his desire, so is his will. And as is his will, so is his deed; and whatever deed he does, that he will reap” (Shukla Yajur Veda, Brihadaranyaka Upanishad 4.4.5. UPR, P. 272). Every belief creates certain attitudes. Our attitudes govern all of our actions. Belief in karma, reincarnation and the existence of an all-pervasive Divinity throughout the universe creates an attitude of reverence, benevolence and compassion for all beings. The Hindu or Buddhist who is consciously aware within his soul knows that he is the time traveller and may incarnate, take a body of flesh, in the society he most opposed in order to equalize his hates and fears into a greater understanding which would result in the release of ignorance. The knowledgeable Hindu is well aware of all these possibilities. The mystery is no mystery to the mystic.

Ahimsa, which the Dalai Lama exemplifies so courageously, is certainly not cowardice; it is wisdom. And wisdom is the cumulative knowledge of the existing divine laws of reincarnation, karma, dharma and the all-pervasiveness and sacredness of things, blended together within the psyche, the very soul, of the Hindu.

Realize That God Is Love

Siva is Love and Love is Siva. People often ask, “How can I worship God if I can’t see God?” There was a young man who had formed an intense dislike for his father because his father disciplined him strongly when he was growing up. Every time the young man thought of his father, it was through feelings of resentment and confusion. Whenever his father was around, the son avoided him, and sharp words were often exchanged. However, his father put him through college, paying all the expenses. When the young man broke his leg playing football, the father visited him in the hospital every few days and paid the medical bills. But still the young man resented his father for what had happened years ago. He could not see that his father really loved him. His inner sight, feeling and emotion were blinded by his bitterness about the past. This story illustrates how mental barriers disable us from seeing people as they really are. And if we cannot correctly see the people around us, how can we expect to see God? We are often blinded by our “ignore-ance” — our great ability to ignore.

People who question the existence of God because they cannot see God must take the word of those who do see God. When they cannot do even this, they are obviously lost in their own delusions and confusions, unable to even see the love or accept the love of those who are closest to them. They most likely misjudge everything through their limited vision, clouded by resentments built up over the years.

We all see people with our two eyes, and we see into people with our hearts. When our heart is pure, holding no resentment, we can then see with our third eye. Someone having problems in seeing God should begin by worshiping his mother and father as divine. He can see them with his eyes and within his mind. This sadhana will clean up the person’s heart and bring his thoughts, speech and actions into line with dharma. Then one day he will see that God Siva truly is the Life within the life of everyone — of the whole universe, in fact.

The word love describes the free-flowing interchange of spiritual energy between people, between people and their things, between people and God and the Gods. Our scriptures clearly tell us that “Siva is love, and love is Siva.” Therefore, our free-flowing love, or bhakti, is our own Sivaness in manifestation. Expressing this love is a profoundly auspicious and beginning form of living with Siva that is complete, in and of itself.

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Karma

Posted: 28/11/2013 in Routine part 3

According to one’s deeds, according to one’s behavior, so one becomes. The one who does good becomes good, the one who does evil becomes evil. One becomes virtuous by virtuous action and evil by evil action.

Shukla Yajur Veda, Brihadaranyaka Upanishad, 4.4.5. VE, P. 759

We Mold Our Own Future

Every action that we perform in life, every thought that we think, has its reaction. We may or may not be conscious of the reactions that will result from what we are doing or thinking. Many people spend a great deal of time acting only with the purpose of covering up the reactions to prior unsatisfactory actions of their own making. Hurt or puzzled, they often ask, “Why is this happening to me? What did I do to attract that? What did I do to cause that? Do I really deserve this? It doesn’t seem fair!”

Were they to become enlightened and find the ability to live in their own intuitive, superconscious mind, they would see in that expanded state of consciousness all of the ingredients that came together out of the forgotten past to create the conditions through which they are passing in the now. They would observe that every action is like planting a seed. The fruit of that seed, harvested perhaps years later, is reaction. Like the seed, actions remain vibrating in the mind until fulfilled. It is not possible to trace past causes to current effects through analyzing or through the ordinary processes of reason, which result in uncertain conjecture. Only superconscious insight can accurately portray the chain of cause-and-effect relationships as a picture of what is.

Thus the wheel of karma continues, on and on and on, creating and recreating. The wheel of karma is simply the mechanism of the mind’s action — your mind, everyone’s mind. Through the study of the wheel of karma, which is a meditative study, you realize that you have created everything that is happening or has already happened to you. Everything that is coming your way in the future you will have created. Everything you will acquire your own wants will have brought into being. You are right now a sum total of millions of thoughts, feelings, desires and actions — all of them yours. Circumstance is not responsible for your condition, for you have made your circumstances consciously and unconsciously. There are no outside forces imposing themselves upon you. Whatever you attract to yourself of the world, though it seems to be external, is but a manifestation of your own inner nature. Yo u are the author of all of your creations; and yet in the inner recesses of your being you are already the finished product at the same time. To understand this fully, you need yoga.

The study of yoga is reserved for the few who have the courage to seek the depths of their being, for the few who can overcome their experiences and their desires in deep meditation. Now, you may meet in your own subconscious, as soon as you sit down to practice meditation, all of the worldly desires latent within you, including several of which you perhaps have no conscious idea. If your meditation is successful, you will be able to throw out the unnecessary experiences or desires that are consuming your mind. When you do this and you travel past the world of desire, you will begin to break free of the wheel of karma which binds you to the specific reaction which must follow every action. To break free of this wheel of karma, you must have a strong, one-pointed mind. Your only key to help you attain this one-pointedness, this steadfastness, is your devotion to God, your devotion to the realization of the Truth. Few people remain steadfast enough under all circumstances and tests that life offers to realize the many causes and effects that are linked together in their lives. It is easy to study the law of karma and to appreciate it philosophically, but to realize it, to apply it to everything that happens to you, to understand the workings of it as the day goes by, requires an ability to which you must awaken.

Attachment, desire, craving, fear of loss — these are the self-created ropes that hold man in bondage to his lower states of mind. It is because man chooses to live in the ignorance of unfulfilled craving and unsatisfied desire that he suffers. How many of you have suffered over something that was anticipated and may never have taken place? You will remember then waking up out of the dream of your suffering and finding that things were all right after all, and that through your experience something within you remained the same.

The Cause of Joy and Sorrow

Somewhere the idea was born that man should live in states of happiness and joy all of the time. But, in the first place, happiness and joy depend upon unhappiness and sorrow, even to be recognized or appreciated. If man would only know that whatever emotion transpires within him foreshadows its opposite. Secondly, suffering is a greater intensity, a higher vibration, than happiness. You do not learn much from your happinesses; you learn from the states of suffering, which awaken the higher consciousness of your soul. But suffering has no value for its own sake. When the mind recognizes it is suffering over something or other, it is time to practice meditation, to see into the causes, to expand your consciousness a little bit more so that you will grasp the workings of life and its karmic laws. Then you will attain to a greater intensity than either joy or suffering has to offer. You will view the wheel of life, of cause and effect, objectively. And you will not so quickly identify yourself with the lower emotions or the objects of your own mind’s creation.

Then there are the people who, like a fish caught by a fisherman, grasp onto the hook, who step on the spiritual path, but spend their time flip-flopping in the water, tugging at the line, swimming first one way then the other, never really approaching the surface. Why? They live in their ego, that’s all. Their consciousness is limited. The ego is just a trifle dumb. Have you observed an egotistical person? He is just a little dumb, isn’t he — not aware of the layers and layers of wisdom within him.

It is the wise man who recognizes the importance of controlling the forces of his mind. His life is a struggle to make his philosophy real, to gain control of the cycles of experience which have tied him to the wheel of karma. You don’t escape the chain of cause and effect by just sitting with your eyes closed, trying to keep awake, trying to meditate. The genuine practice of yoga involves meeting new challenges each day, having new realizations each day, becoming the boss of your mind, not allowing it to flop around at the end of the line. This type of diligent concentration will definitely change you from the inside out. You will begin to realize, more and more, that you are the creator of your life and every aspect of it.

But your incarnation on this planet is not complete until you have exhausted the wheel of karma, and it will not exhaust itself unless you gain control of it. The wheel of karma, of cause and effect, the world of form, is apparent only when you look at it. You only attain the natural state of your radiant inner being when you step off the wheel of karma. It is not natural for man to live bound to the lower states of mind, ignorant of the fact that God dwells within. But the hearing and understanding of this truth is only the first glimmer of the dawn, a preliminary awakening. The rest, the final realization, is up to you. It is up to you and you alone to penetrate the veil of illusion and realize the Self, the Absolute, beyond desire, beyond the experiences of the mind. It is up to you to realize God.

How to Face Your Karma

If difficult things are happening to you and your mind is disturbed because of them and you have mental arguments within you because you can’t accept your own karma, go to the feet of Lord Siva in your mind, go to the feet of Lord Siva in the temple with your physical body, and beg for the intelligence to place yourself firmly on the path of Sanatana Dharma.

Though it is true that we must work through all aspects and phases of past actions, there are ways of becoming excused from the punishments that drastic actions of the past impose upon the future. These ways are grace, sadhana, tapas and atonement through penance and the performance of good deeds, thus acquiring merit which registers as a new and positive karma, alleviating the heaviness of some of our past karma. Through seeking grace and through receiving it by performing sadhana and tapas and the doing of penance, the karmas are in themselves speeded up. The going through and meeting and reaping of rewards as well as displeasures embodied in past karma in the present is accelerated through these self-imposed actions. Therefore, the sages say, “Bear your karma cheerfully.” And as the seeking of Self commences, the karma unfolds in all of its hideousness and glory, to be seen before the single eye and not reacted to by even a tremor within this physical and astral nerve system. The yoga must be that strong. Each time you blame another person for what has happened to you, or cast blame in any way, tell yourself, “This is my karma which I was born to face. I did not come into a physical body just to blame others for what happens to me. I was not born to live in a state of ignorance created by an inability to face my karma. I came here to spiritually unfold, to accept the karmas of this and all my past lives and to deal with them and handle them in a proper and a wonderful way.”

Humility is intelligence; arrogance is ignorance. To accept one’s karma and the responsibility for one’s actions is strength. To blame another is weakness and foolishness. Let’s begin by not advertising our ignorance. If you must blame what happens to you on your friend, your neighbor, your country, your community or the world, don’t advertise it by speaking about it. Keep that ignorance to yourself. Limit it to the realm of thought. Harness your speech and at the same time work to remold your thinking and retrain your subconscious to actually accept this basic premise of Saiva Siddhanta.

Take Full Responsibility

If you take responsibility for all that happens to you, then you will have the power to deal with your karma through the grace of Lord Siva. He will give you the intelligence to deal with it as you worship Him in the Siva temple, contact Him within as the Life of your life and find Him in meditation. Let’s take an example. Say I am holding a plate of rice and curry and I pass it to you. All of a sudden the plate drops on the floor between us. I blame you, and you blame me. I don’t want to be responsible for dropping the rice and curry, and you don’t want to be responsible either. So, we blame each other. The rice and curry is scattered there on the floor. No one is going to clean it up until one of us takes responsibility and says, “I’m sorry I dropped the plate of rice and curry,” and gets down on hands and knees and cleans it up. In the same way, only by taking responsibility, by recognizing what we have done as our own doing, can we begin cleaning up the results of our actions. Those who do take responsibility for their own karma have all the help in the world.

Pride, arrogance and an ungiving nature are characteristics of those who don’t believe in the law of karma. These are qualities of those who do not take responsibility for their actions. They blame everything on someone or something other than themselves. This includes their mistakes and every unpleasant thing that has ever happened to them, is happening to them or may happen to them in the future. They live in the fears and the resentments born of their own ignorance.

Only through being born in a physical body can you experience certain kinds of karmas which cannot be fulfilled or experienced in your etheric/astral body. Therefore, between births those physical-body karmas live in seed form. Only in a physical body do you have all of the chakras functioning that will allow those karmas to manifest and be dealt with. Each birth is thus a precious window of opportunity. For heaven’s sake don’t blame your karma on somebody else and seek to escape from what you were born to deal with. That is the height of foolishness. Stop blaming and criticizing others, and take a good look at yourself. Stop excusing yourself and trying to make yourself look good in the eyes of others. Then a sense of strength will come up within you, a sense of independence and peace. Mental arguments will stop. Arrogance will vanish. Pride won’t be there anymore. You will be a full person. All of your chakras will function properly. Your nerve system will quiet down, and intuitively you will be able to bear up under your karmas and deal with them positively. If it is your karma to be poor in this life, you will be rich by living within the income that you have. You will be content by having desires that you can afford. We make ourselves discontented, we make ourselves unhappy, we make ourselves useless creatures on this planet by allowing ourselves to live in an ignorant state.

Good and Bad; Like Attracts Like

What do we mean when we say there is no good and no bad, only experience? We mean that in the highest sense, there is no good and bad karma; there is self-created experience that presents opportunities for spiritual advancement. If we can’t draw lessons from the karma, then we resist or resent it, lashing out with mental, emotional or physical force. The original substance of that karma is spent and no longer exists, but our current reaction creates a new condition of harsh karma to face in the future. As long as we react to karma, we must repeat it. That is the law.

Good or bad is just a door, going one way or the other. So I say, “There is no good, there is no bad; there is just a swinging door.” Good deeds siphon the collective good deeds of other good deeds. When the door swings the other way, mistakes siphon the results of past mistakes. Hatreds, the accumulated results of hating, are pulled up from way down there. Thus, one of the major keys to understanding the importance of good conduct relates to the release of seed karmas. Performing dharma — acting with correct thought, word and deed — siphons the results of previous patterns of behavior from the past and causes those seeds to sprout in this life. Like attracts like. These patterns then aid the individual by bestowing clarity of mind and a life in which yoga can be performed and truth sought. In the practice of yoga, the negative seed karmas can actually be burned up without ever having to be lived through.

Conversely, adharma — wrong thought, word and deed — siphons the results of past misdeeds, like attracting like. These seed karmas begin to bear bitter fruit, resulting in a miserable life and state of mind. The individual is immersed in confusion, wrong patterns of thought and is, of course, in no position to practice yoga, follow dharma or realize truth. He is simply immersed in samsara.

In His own way, Siva is bringing you into realization, into knowledge of yourself and of Him. He has given you the world of experience. Study your experience. Learn from your experience. If it is painful, that is also good. In the fires of experience, which are both pain and pleasure, you are being purified. It is Siva’s duty to bring you forward into the fullness of yourself. In doing so, you must go through much pain, through much joy. Both register on the scale as the same intensity of emotion. It is what caused it that makes one more pleasurable than another. Don’t be afraid of experience, and don’t be afraid to go through your karma. Go through it with courage.

Of course, you can minimize reactions to unhappy experiences by performing selfless service, which will create good karma. This is what you have to do to progress your spiritual life. Moksha — enlightenment and liberation from rebirth — is the ultimate goal of all souls. The exit is through the crown chakra. Go forward without fear.

Three Kinds Of Karma

Karma is threefold: sanchita, prarabdha and kriyamana. Sanchita karma means “accumulated actions.” It is the sum of all karmas of this life and our past lives. Prarabdha karma means “actions begun; set in motion.” It is that portion of sanchita karma that is bearing fruit and shaping the events and conditions of the current life, including the nature of our bodies, personal tendencies and associations. Kriyamana karma means “actions being made.” It is the karma we create and add to sanchita in this life by our thoughts, words and actions, or in the inner worlds between lives. While some kriyamana karmas bear fruit in the current life, others are stored for future births. Each of these three types can be divided into two categories: arabdha (“begun, undertaken;” karma that is “sprouting”), and anarabdha (“not commenced; dormant”), or “seed karma.”

In a famed analogy, karma is compared to rice in its various stages. Sanchita karma, the residue of one’s total accumulated actions, is likened to rice that has been harvested and stored in a granary. From the stored rice, a small portion has been removed, husked and readied for cooking and eating. This is prarabdha karma, past actions that are shaping the events of the present. Meanwhile, new rice, mainly from the most recent harvest of prarabdha karma, is being planted that will yield a future crop and be added to the store of rice. This is kriyamana karma, the consequences of current actions.

Prarabdha karma determines the time of birth, which dictates one’s astrology, which in turn delineates the individual life pattern by influencing the release of these karmas. Three factors are fundamental: the nature of one’s birth, the length of life and the nature of experiential patterns. Dormant sanchita karma, while not directly being acted upon, is a weighty and compelling force of potential energy, be it benign or gross, good or bad, slothful or inspirational. It is this dormant karma that explains why two people born at the same moment, and who thus have the same astrology, differ in their talents and tendencies. It is this held-back force of sanchita karma that the yogi seeks to burn out with his kundalini flame, to disempower it within the karmic reservoir of anandamaya kosha, the soul body.

Astrologers who understand karma well emphasize that one can influence his or her dormant sanchita karma. Further, one does have power over karmas being made, kriyamana. But karmas set in motion, prarabdha, are binding. They form the gridwork of life and must be lived through. Facing them positively is the key to their resolution. Fighting them through resentment and the release of other negative emotions only creates more unseemly sanchita karma for the future. The law is: we must accept and bear our karma cheerfully.

Intricacies Of the Law

On resolving karma, our friend Tiru M. Arunachalam wrote, “Nonattachment to the fruits of action stops kriyamana from accumulating. Prarabdha is experienced and ceases with this birth; and sanchita is burnt away by the diksha of the guru.” It is the satguru who holds the power to mitigate and redirect a person’s karma. The guru always sees the good in a person and encourages that goodness. With his authority, this automatically mitigates the detrimental areas the person could fall into because of his past actions.

Naturally, karma also determines the circumstance of one’s life in the Antarloka after death. The infallible law of karma continues for disembodied souls between births, though many karmas can only be fulfilled in physical incarnation. Thus, Earth is called Karma-kshetra, “arena of karma.” Karma is also binding, to varying degrees, for those who have attained moksha and are living in the Antarloka and for those who have attained residency in the Sivaloka until vishvagrasa, ultimate merger in the Primal Soul, Parameshvara.

Prarabdha karmas fructify in a given lifetime, fortified by the ripe karmas that are experienced in the in-between. Some of what is learned in the Antarloka is used in the next birth, to know how to best face the prarabdha karmas as they manifest. Some of what is learned will only be used in future births. Karma made in the Antarloka, positive or negative, is added into the big sanchita basket; and, of course, some of it also bears fruit.

All karmas are either ripe or unripe, ready or unready. Of the prarabdha karmas that one is born with, some are immediately released, and others will be ready only in later years of life. This is why if a person commits suicide, the repercussions are drastic, because he has blocked and interrupted the fulfillment of the prarabdha karmas that he had set about to consume in this birth. Then it is like a stringhopper in the inner worlds that must be unraveled when he arrives there unexpectedly.

The prarabdha karmas, as they ripen, open up as you go on through life. Similarly, of the kriyamana karmas created, some are ripe and some are not ripe. Some immediately bear fruit and are consumed in this life. Others go to seed and enter the big sanchita karma bank to be experienced in future births as prarabdha karma. Whatever is not experienced and resolved in the current life is taken by you to the inner world as a basket of seeds. A mystical person who knows he is going to incarnate again can work on these seeds consciously.