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Prashnottara : Karma and Freedom

(Extract­ed from talks at Vikasa, Rishikesh, Decem­ber 2016)

Q: Can you talk about how kar­ma gets gen­er­at­ed and also how one gets lib­er­at­ed from kar­ma?

See let’s take a sim­ple exam­ple. You are a child, let’s say, we have been chil­dren. We play with toys. It gen­er­ates kar­ma right? Action means kar­ma, that is all. So you do things, with that you want this, you want this, you want this, this this…if you log­i­cal­ly project it, how should your whole life be? More and more of toys, whole life, right? I remem­ber hav­ing imag­ined as a child, “I want this, I want this.” If I go into a store, I would want the whole store, not one thing or two things! My sons are much bet­ter! (Laugh­ter) When Deep­avali arrived I would want sacks of them, I would dream about sacks and sacks of crack­ers, store crackers…I would dream about those, but now I don’t dream of it. So what has hap­pened? There is a shift that has hap­pened. You pur­sue it up to a cer­tain point but you will see that it is not a log­i­cal pro­jec­tion. It does not work that way. There are gra­da­tions, there are flips, that hap­pen. You will come to a cer­tain point and there will be an inner flip where you will be free of that, which you have cre­at­ed until that point in time. You want­ed that so much and that has cre­at­ed kar­ma. But you will come to a point where it does not hold the same mean­ing to you as it held ear­li­er. So that is when you are free of your own actions. That is an inner response. See it is not always to do with the out­er con­di­tions. Out­er con­di­tions might remain the same or it might actu­al­ly work out as you imag­ine, but at that time when it hap­pens, some­times it might hap­pen that you are free of that. What to do? You are free of that. If you are sen­si­ble enough, you will rec­og­nize it and take your life from there. Most par­ents don’t rec­og­nize it and hence, it is like,”Hey, you told that before, now you are say­ing this.” This is not about jump­ing incon­sis­tent­ly. Or impul­sive­ly. It is not about that. You come to a log­i­cal point where actu­al­ly you will be free of that. All your pro­jec­tions, how you relate to it, you will be free of that. It is not some­thing that can be explained, but it hap­pens. Actu­al­ly you can work towards it also, these are all tools that make you enhance that, where you will have jumps, so many jumps in one life­time. That is very crit­i­cal, to the path of evo­lu­tion. You will go from tamas, rigid attach­ments, to action and then to satt­va, where it is like free! Rela­tion­ship to action. It will give you a lot of maneu­ver­abil­i­ty with­in. Out­side it might be the same. So it is not to do with out­er cir­cum­stances, so much as it is to do with inner growth. That can­not be rec­og­nized by any­body oth­er than those who have already seen it. They would be able to see,”Ah! Okay” And that sight is not to do with this. You can see, who is what. So that is called cleans­ing of sins. And that is enhanced by these theerthak­shetras, tapo bhu­mis. It is like you go to an appro­pri­ate envi­ron­ment, it res­onates and you get a boost. It is not always your effort. You get boosts, you get bless­ings, such things also work. Such things also hap­pen. For instance, Ma Gan­ga is known for bestow­ing her bless­ings. So that is very crit­i­cal.

Q: So on the one hand, there are peo­ple like us who play with toys and we get over it when that flip hap­pens. On the oth­er hand there are peo­ple who get addict­ed to cer­tain things life­long (like cig­a­rette smok­ing). What deter­mines one indi­vid­ual going in a down­ward spi­ral and anoth­er going up the path of evo­lu­tion?

So that also is a log­i­cal pro­jec­tion. We see and eval­u­ate peo­ple by their out­ward actions, like cig­a­rette smok­ing, or drink­ing and so on. If you take even addic­tion, only some are addict­ed life­long. Not every­body. At some point in time, they will feel,”Che!” and a virak­ti, that will detach them. They will active­ly strive to avoid that com­pa­ny which locks them in those cir­cum­stances. See, it is a lock­ing pat­tern that emerges. You get out of those pat­terns, you will see, for exam­ple, back home, you might have been locked into drink­ing tea and cof­fee, here (in Kriya Baba­ji’s ashra­ma) you don’t get that. You are tem­porar­i­ly out of that pat­tern. That is a tem­po­rary thing. But the more it hap­pens, the more you will see, you will grow in strength. Maybe tem­porar­i­ly it hap­pens, you go back, you con­tin­ue that. But you have had a glimpse. You will no longer be the same. Your inner real­i­ty would have shift­ed. You will no longer be the same. That is very impor­tant. So it is not a log­i­cal pro­jec­tion, it does not work that way. But some are seri­ous­ly addict­ed, and hence as a soci­ety we strive to increase the lev­el of con­scious­ness, you know, so that aspi­ra­tions are ele­vat­ed. The aspi­ra­tions are also gov­erned by the col­lec­tive field in which we stay. You stay in a cer­tain field, you will have a cer­tain lev­el of aspi­ra­tion. You go back to a dif­fer­ent field, your aspi­ra­tions, if you are not well-built yet, well-inte­grat­ed yet, your aspi­ra­tions will shift accord­ing­ly. It is not wrong. That is why we call it sang­ha, asso­ci­a­tion. Sat­sang­ha, asso­ci­a­tion with wise and enlight­ened beings, becomes very impor­tant for one’s per­son­al growth. Sang­ha dosha hap­pens through asso­ci­a­tion.

Q: What is sang­ha dosha? You pick up.…”Tell me who your friend is, I will tell you who you are.” (Laughs) The col­lec­tive group with which you move con­stant­ly, most­ly your super­fi­cial thought pat­terns, every­thing will be to do with that group. Most­ly. But that is still super­fi­cial, it is not deep down. But most­ly you will be that and hence you will think you are that. You are not that. If you get out of that group, actu­al­ly you will see, that will fall away. That is why diver­si­ty of expe­ri­ence is so impor­tant to go deep with­in. You see,”Oh!” Of course, diver­si­ty does not mean jump­ing from here to there.

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