The word karma has come from the Sanskrit word “कर्म” which means action. When we speak about karma, we refer to the consequences of the person’s action. The law of karma is the law of cause and effect.
Many people believe that karma is a punishment for the wrong things that they have done. This is not the truth. Karma is only the consequence of a person’s action. If a person does a good thing, then he/she will get the good consequence of that action i.e. “पुण्य” (punya). If the person does a bad thing, then he/she will get the bad consequence of that action i.e. “पाप” (paap).
This is similar to sowing a seed and growing a tree. If a person sows a mango seed, then he/she can only grow a mango tree. He/She cannot sow a mango seed and grow an apple tree. The consequence of the action is in proportion to the action performed. This is similar to the saying in the Bible – “As a man sows so he reaps”.
Karma is based on the principle of oneness. When a person does something to another person, he/she is in effect doing something to himself/herself. Thus, he/she will experience the effect of that action. A person creates their own karma.
There are four types of Karma-
- Praarabdha Karma (प्रारब्ध कर्म) – This is the Karma accumulated from previous lives. It is the Karma a person is born with. A person has to deal with this Karma during their current life.
- Sanchitha Karma (संचित कर्म) – This is the Karma a person accumulates during their current life. A person will face the consequence of this Karma either during their current life or during their next life.
- Kriyamaana Karma(क्रियमाण कर्म) or Varthamaana Karma(वर्तमान कर्म)-This is the Karma that is happening in the present moment. It is the consequences of the actions that you are taking right now.
- Aagaami Karma(आगामी कर्म)-This is the Karma that will come in the future. This is the Karma that is being created as a result of the actions in the current life and will be added to the Sanchitha Karma.
A person must understand that they are responsible for their own karma. If a person is having some trouble in life, then there could be due to the effect of some bad karma from a previous life. God is not responsible for a person’s karma. God does not interfere with a person’s karma. A person should not be angry with God for the troubles that they are having in their life. They should realise that the cause of the trouble could be some karma from their past life and request God to forgive them for their mistakes. By God’s grace, the consequences of their negative karma can be reduced.
There is no time limit on Karma. A person may experience the consequence of their Karma either in the current life itself or in their next life. How and when a person will get the consequence of their actions is not in their hands. This is as per the shloka stated by Bhagawan Shri Krishna in the Bhagavad Gita.
“कर्मणयेवाधिकारस्ते मा फलेषु कदाचन।
मा कर्मफलहेतुर्भूर्मा ते सङ्गोऽस्त्वकर्मणि।”
(Karmanyevaadhikaraasthe Ma Phaleshu Kadachana
Ma Karmaphalaheturbhurma The Sangosthvakarmani)
[Chapter 2 Shloka 47]
[Meaning: Your only right is to perform your action. You cannot claim the fruits of your action.
Do not do action only for the sake of the fruit. Do not be attached to inaction.]
If a person intentionally harms another person, then he/she will bear the consequence of that action. Either they will face the same type of harm from the person that they have hurt or another person will give them the fruit of their action. This will happen either in the same life or it can happen in the next life. The same holds true for the consequences of good actions.
If a person is good in this life but still faces a lot of trouble or is harmed by another person for no fault of theirs, then it could be due to a karmic consequence of some bad action they have done in a previous life. Similarly, if a person is bad in this life and is constantly giving trouble to others or causing harm to other people but is enjoying a good life, then the good things that the person is enjoying is probably due to a karmic consequence of some good action they have done in a past life. A person who does good things to others will get the good consequence of their action sooner or later. Similarly a person who does bad things to others will get the bad consequence of their action either in the same life or in the next life.
A person can face the consequences of their past karma in various ways.
- Some relationship issues like between lovers or between husband and wife may be due to consequences of bad karma from a previous life. A person may face problems in their marriage from their partner or from their in-laws as consequence of certain bad actions in a previous life.
- Some diseases may be due to consequence of a bad karma from a previous life.
- A person may become rich or famous or have an amazing skill or talent from a young age due to the consequence of a good karma from a previous life.
Past life regression helps a person to find out if there is a karmic cause for the problem that they are experiencing in their current life. By seeing their previous life, they will understand what they had done in a previous life and how it is contributing to the problem that they are experiencing in the current life. They will also learn the lessons from their previous lives and in this way will be able to break any pattern from a previous life which is causing them trouble in this life.
The horoscope of a person indicates the karmic balance from a previous life. If the person has a lot of negative karma from a previous life then the planets will be placed in houses in order to give the person the consequence of their negative karma. Similarly, if a person is to experience the positive results of previous karma in this life, then the planets will be in better houses.
Saturn (शनिदेव) is the major planet which helps to give the fruits of a person’s karma. Many people fear the time period of their life during which Saturn is more dominant (शनिदशा) thinking that they will only suffer during this period. This is not a correct belief. If a person has done good karma then they will get the good benefits of their karma during the period of Saturn and if they have done bad karma then they will experience the consequences of their bad karma. The placement of the planet Saturn in the chart is not the cause of the troubles in their life; it is their previous karma which has caused them to take birth at a time when the planet is not in a good position.
The karmic consequences are not fixed. A person can reduce the consequences of their negative karma by asking the Creator of All That Is to forgive their past mistakes. A person should also forgive themselves for whatever mistakes they may have done in their previous lives. The person should also ask the other person whom they have harmed to forgive them. Forgiveness helps to break the karmic bonds. The Violet Flame of Light can also be used to transmute negative karma.
A person’s karma can become like a cycle. E.g. A person A does something bad in one life to a person B. B will come and give the consequences of that action back to A either in the same lifetime or in the next lifetime. Then A will give the consequences of that action back to B. Thus, the cycle continues lifetime after lifetime. The only way to break the cycle for A is to ask B to forgive him/her for doing the action, forgive themselves and request the Creator to forgive them. Forgiveness in this manner will break the karmic cycle.
According to Lord Shri Krishna in the Bhagavad Gita, the best course of action for a person is Nishkama Karma (निष्काम कर्म). Nishkama karma means to perform one’s actions without being attached to the results of the action. In this way, the person is able to stop accumulating further karma. Once a person dies and the soul goes back to the higher realms, the soul will review their previous life along with their guides. If a soul has a lot of positive karma remaining, then it will have to take another birth on Earth in order to get the positive fruits of their good karma. Similarly, if it has negative karma remaining, then it will have to take another life in order to experience the negative results of their previous karma.
It is important to note that karma can only be cleared on the physical plane i.e. on Earth. A person has to keep taking birth on Earth to get the fruit of their past karma. A person will have to keep taking birth on Earth and will be stuck in the life and death cycle until he or she is able to balance their karma. Once a soul is able to balance its karma completely, it will be liberated from the birth and death cycle on Earth and will go to the higher planes of existence. This is called as Moksha (मोक्ष). Thus, if a person wants to get liberation from the cycle of birth and death on Earth, then they must balance their karma.