Breaking free of our karma

“Why have you followed the spiritual path for your whole life ?”  There are many answers to this question, but a big one is, “It brings me freedom”.  Freedom to change negative patterns that have kept me in their clutches, freedom to respond with calmness and kindness even when others are angry or challenging, freedom to enjoy whatever life brings.

Swami Kriyananda says, ” When you see a fault within yourself, don’t despair, but rejoice.  It has been there all along, but now that you have seen it, you can start working to change it.”  What are some spiritual tools that help us to break free of our Karmic patterns ?  Karma is simply energy generated by past thoughts or actions that we have steered in a certain direction.


Karma chakra


With conscious awareness and determination, replace a negative pattern with a positive one.  Use affirmations repeatedly with deep concentration to change chronic patterns of thinking.  Be patient.  The deeper the Karma, the longer the time required to change it.  Don’t constantly dig up the spiritual seeds you are sowing to see if they have taken root.  Let them grow in their own time to become mighty plants.

Bring the problem to God in meditation and prayer.  Our sincere efforts and desire to be free draw the grace that brings release.  We have to do our little part, and then God steps in and unties the knots of Karma that have kept us bound.

—————– Nayaswami Devi.  

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Nishkama Karma

Nishkama karma


NISHKAMA KARMA (State of No – Action) becomes possible only for a yogi at heart.  Meditating on what is unimaginable is considered to be the ultimate sadhana.  It is supposed to be beyond any conceptualisation.  If we imagine light, that is also a kind of form.  If the mind keeps thinking about the term ‘unthinkable’ to focus on, that is also limited in sphere.  So it is a challenge,  one has to overcome and the secret is that it can be attained by not pursuing anything with an intention to pursue, by becoming absolutely blank.

That is the state of ‘no – action’ in every sense (the state of Godhood) that supplies the energy for all action.  Why do we need sadhana of the unthinkable ?  We need the strength to pursue the most fruitful action.  Ramakrishna talks about three thieves, representing three gunas : RAJAS (can make you exhausted), TAMAS (can completely destroy you ) and SATTVA (the thief that has a lot of compassion)  SATTVA also guides you to the road that takes you safely home, the STATE OF NO – ACTION.

Kabir Das called this SAHAJA YOGA.  If we can become completely blank even for a moment, that is the real state of GOD – REALISATION.  In deep sleep, we may attain this stage.  But from a spiritual point of view, this state has to be experienced when we are awake.

It is very difficult to become completely thoughtless.  After remaining blank for a while, w may feel sleepy, but even then it is worth practising.  The effort to make ourselves thoughtless is also an action.  So, that action has to be discarded.  But as a beginner, we may take some form or light and remain blank, which may ultimately lead to the state of nothingness and thoughtlessness .

A sage suggested, you may think of God’s feet to begin with, but do not try to perform anything on the feet.  Just remain stable.  A state will come when the feet will disappear ——- what would remain is ‘nothingness’.  As one attains the state of ‘nothingness’ spontaneously, permanent peace prevails.

That is why it is said that BRAHMN is ‘unspeakable’.  Even one who realises cannot utter a word about it.  Buddha simply smiled and said nothing as He was asked to comment on NIRVANA.  It is for individuals to experience it.  Those who follow the path of sadhana and human welfare are able to perform this selflessly.  Thus, NISHKAMA KARMA becomes possible for a yogi at heart.

———– Arup Mitra. 

Chitragupta Jayanti

CHITRAGUPTA JAYANTI is celebrated today (13th November).
Human beings act inherently to lead their life from the moment of their birth till death and receive rewards and punishments according to the law of KARMA.  Vedic Scriptures say that each soul, after the death of an individual, leaves the body with Chitragupta Bhagwancertain karmic account of virtues and sins earned by the person during his lifetime.  The balance sheet of the karmic account determines the nature of the body, quality of life, happiness and sorrow that will accrue to an individual in the new life.
It is believed that the deity CHITRAGUPTA is hidden in the CHITTA or mind of human beings as an accountant of God, to maintain complete records of their pious or sinful acts on earth.  It is believed that BRAHMA assigned to Chitragupta, the gigantic task of deciding the dues to be granted to an individual on his death according to his positive or is negative balance sheet of the karmic account.
According to legend, BRAHMA enjoined YAMA, the god of death to keep records of virtues and sins of all sentient beings.  Yama requested Brahma to provide him an accountant to assist him in discharging the enormous responsibility of keeping records of deeds of all beings and deliver justice to them.
Brahma went into deep meditation for 11,000 years.  Finally when he opened his eyes, he saw a resplendent man in front of him, bearing a pen and inkpot in his hands and a sword girdled to his waist.  He said, “Thou hast been created from my KAYA or body, therefore shall thy progeny be known as KAYASTHAS.  Thou has been conceived in my CHITTA in GUPTA or secrecy, thy name shall e CHITRAGUPTA.
Chitragupta paintingBHAVISHYA PURANA states that Brahma fixed the residence of Chitragupta in the region of God for the purpose of discerning and recording the merits and demerits of each karma of all life forms.  In GARUDA PURANA, Chitragupta is always present in the “conscience” of all sentient life-forms, keeping track of every deed, building up statistics of virtues and sins from birth to death, so that on their death, PRARABDHA, or destiny for the next life can be determined accordingly.
The worship of Chitragupta bestows prosperity and mitigates the evil effects of KETU during its transit period according to one’s horoscope.  CHITRAGUPTA JAYANTI, the birthday of Chitragupta, is celebrated on the second day of the rising moon period after DEEPAVALI in the month of Kartik.
Chitragupta ordained that the life should be fruitfully devoted for writing, education, patriotic, benevolent and charitable work with cultivation of values like piousness, patience, service and forgiveness.
————— Satish Kumar Mathur (Speaking Tree)

Mystery of desire

krishnabhagwatgita


There are several clichés about desires, action and results.  In the Bhagwad Gita (7:11), Krishna tells Arjuna, “I (the Lord) am in the form of desire which is unopposed to Dharma, universal ethical values.”  The Gita in keeping with the philosophical tradition of India, looks upon desire as a privilege given to us, and not something that one has to eliminate.  We are endowed with the capacity of desire, to know and to do.  In fact, the final human end as envisaged in the Gita and Vedas is MOKSHA (freedom).  The person who desires Moksha is called MUMUKSU.  The one who desires to know the reality of ATMAN (Self), is called JIGNASU.


Lord-Caitanya-Dances-Ecstaticly-at-Gundica-Temple


If so, why is desire presented as a problem in some spiritual teachings ?  The problem lies in the fact that often desires have a great force.  They impel a person to go against universal values, such as not lying, cheating or hurting others, which come under Dharma.  That means, even though we cannot label desire as an unwelcoming thing, the challenge is in managing these desires ——- this is where ones discretion comes into play.  One has to learn to use the privilege of desire wisely.  Growth lies in ensuring that we don’t act on those desires which go against Dharma.

Therefore, desires can be pursued and one can be free to have one more desire, provided desires don’t create pressure in us.  Spirituality is all about gaining mastery over ones desires, so that they don’t take us on a tangent and make us do inappropriate things.  With mastery, we can utilise the privilege to desire to do useful things for society and also evolve spiritually.

stones-inspiration


Often, spiritual teachings talk about “unconditional compassion and love”.  As we become more objective and mature, we naturally become a contributor to society.  We define our role in this world more broadly and reach out to others.  Krishna says that those who are self-centred are creating paap (sin).  This is because in this inter-connected world, we depend upon many people for our life.  If we just take and don’t give back enough, we are like thieves.

But these spontaneous acts of care and compassion, out of understanding of our connection with the whole world, cannot be idealised to the point that one loses discretion in choosing actions that are called for in a given situation.  Different situations call for unique responses, depending upon what is the need of the hour.
The advice that one should be detached and not expect results also requires careful examination.  Krishna says you have a choice over your actions, but never over the results of those actions.  If we could choose our results, there wouldn’t be any failures.  The question is, if the result is not in our hand, then who determines it ?  Is it random ?  If things were random, there would not be any predictability.  There would be no relationship between our actions and results.
Here Krishna says, results are determined by the laws of cause-effect, which connect our present cause with past causes to produce an effect.  Because of the presence of this order that connects various past and present causes to produce an effect, things are predictable.  Predictability implies that we can influence outcomes through our actions, but don’t totally control the results.
A wise person lives one day at a time.  Of course, we can plan, but focus on a day and make the most of it.  Nothing is too big for one to manage for one day.  A lot of our anxieties, worries and fears about what results are going to come to us through future events of life can be handled if we live one day at a time, with awareness that results are taken care of by the infallible order of God.
———– Neema Majumdar

Shakti

Shakti

Every woman, as the embodiment of SHAKTI, has three aspects to her —- creation (janani), preservation and destruction.  Suppression of any of the three aspects results in “imbalance”, causing the woman to fall ill.  It’s not without reason that the incidents of cancer are so high in women.  A man, if he understands all these three aspects of a woman and nurtures them, can never go wrong.  He will always be successful.  A home where all the three aspects of a woman are nurtured, such a home prospers.  Nothing wrong can touch it.

Ganesh janani


Every day, too, can be divided into three parts ——- each corresponding to a specific aspect of SHAKTI.  In fact, the Vedic science of “havan” also talks about performing “havan” three times in a day, before the sun sets corresponding to the three aspects of SHAKTI.  However, a “havan” is performed long after the sun set, because there is a “fourth” aspect, which has in it the essence (samavesh) of all the three aspects of SHAKTI.  One must not forget that SHAKTI runs the creation.  A man cannot do anything without SHAKTI.  Therefore, when a man performs a “havan”, he needs to have the SHAKTI (whether his mother, daughter, sister or wife) to be seated on his left.  A “havan” is incomplete if there is no presence of a woman.
While a woman is SHAKTI, the “nature” of SHAKTI is “chanchal”.  An imbalanced woman is like a bomb, a bomb which when explodes, first destroys itself and then everyone around it.  In fact, when women get emotionally volatile, the first thought that comes to them is, “let me kill myself”.  A Guru is like a “bomb diffuser”, the difference being that while the bomb diffusing squad wear suits, the Guru has to diffuse the bomb without any protective suit.  A Guru’s job is not an easy one.  First the Guru has to save the bomb from self-destruction, as well as the people and environment around her.

Destructive mood of Shakti


However, when a woman comes into a state of balance, nothing is impossible for her.  Even in Guru “tantra” it is mentioned that a woman, as a Guru, is pure SHAKTI, which leads to phenomenal experiences.  A woman used as an embodiment of negative (asuric vritti) forces seeks only destruction and the Guru cannot prevent it.
A woman’s life is a “karmic” one.  She experiences pain in three aspects of her being —- (whether it is creation—child birth, preservation —– being in the kitchen, running the house or destruction — blowing up herself and those around her)  It is a payback of which river Ganga and mother Earth are ample proof.  Ganga washes away sins and takes the pain of all people ; mother Earth holds Ganga and bears the same atrocities committed on her.  That is why the water of Ganga is non-potable and the soil of mother Earth has turned a dirty brown.
There are two aspects to creation and all its manifestations : The “force” inside a woman has the ability to self-destruct or be channelized towards positivity.  The latter assures entitlement to acquire plenty of good karma that she can direct towards a higher plane, like evolution.  But the former is also a strong possibility in the absence of a Guru.
——– Yogi Ashwini.

Good and bad karma

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Most people believe that as spiritual beings, our souls survive death, and continue their existence in a spiritual realm.  Others believe in reincarnation or rebirth on the material plane, still others believe in transmigration of souls, or rebirth in different forms in accordance with one’s karma.
Heaven and hell are described as places where the virtuous find happiness and sinners languish in suffering.  In reality, they are not places but states of existence of joy and sorrow, of having attained nearness to God or being distanced from the Divine threshold in accordance with our deeds.  The key to proximity to the Divine threshold is the performance of good deeds.  We are required to do all the good possible, so that at the end of each day we find ourselves on the credit side.  We should question ourselves each night and answer honestly.  “Was I completely sincere today ?  Was I humble, kind and generous ?  Was I frank and courageous, obedient and faithful ?  Or, was I dishonest, proud, impatient and quarrelsome, unkind and miserly, deceitful and cowardly , disobedient and disloyal ?”  The personal audit takes five minutes.  You confess to yourself only, and the exercise comes to be a gradual self-purification and spiritually rewarding process.  This is also called an examination of conscience.  Eventually, it leads to salvation.
49c8f702349af4f69f8e0ddcd1ec653cA kind of personal audit was suggested by a wise man to a conscientious seeker.  “For every sin you commit, drive a nail into the wall of your room. And for every good deed, draw out a nail.  At the end of the month you will know by the number of nails in the wall, whether your sins were greater or your good deeds outdid the bad deeds.”  This the man did faithfully.
At the end of the month, he found he had no nails in the wall, but was left with a scarred wall, where the hails were wrenched out.  He went back to the wise man and reported : “I have no nails left, but my wall is damaged.”  “That,” the wise man said, “is the scar left on your soul, even though your sins and good deeds may seem balanced.”