11. A Unified Picture Of The World. Part 5

Liberation from Karma

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How to avoid the reactions of karma and degradation into the lower forms of life? What should be done while we are in the human body? Does karma burn out automatically, or do we have to consciously participate in this process?

It is necessary to clarify one misconception, which is “to experience the consequences of one’s  karma” and “to eliminate karma completely” is not the same thing.

Everyone has to face good, bad and the ugly consequences of  one’s karma, but if a person does not understand the mechanism of karma, after having gone through the reactions, he immediately creates new ones.

“To experience the consequences of one’s  karma” means we simply find ourselves in different situations, pleasant or unpleasant, and we get positive and negative fruits of our actions committed in the past.

Liberation from karma is fundamentally different. A person gets free from karma of the past and does not create karma for the future only when he understands that karma is developed from the misuse of energy at his/ her disposal – like time, money, activity etc.

The ancient Vedic treatise “Bhagavad Gita” says,

“Just as the fire turns firewood to ashes, in the same way the fire of spiritual knowledge burns to ashes the fruits of our past deeds.”  Bhagavad Gita 4.37

The seeds of karma of the past are stored in our subtle body and over time they sprout through our physical body in different forms. If the seed is subjected to conventional heat treatment, it will not sprout. By the same analogy, if we cultivate spiritual knowledge contained in the Vedas, just like the fire, it will destroy the seeds of karma of the past.

If on the basis of this understanding a person starts to spiritualize all his activities, then he will cease to create karma for the future. This is liberation from the very root of karma.

Since only a few people can switch to a purely spiritual activity, the Vedas provide an intermediate step, which involves adherence to human morality, causing no harm to other living beings, and worship God with mundane motives.

However, it does not solve the problem of karma completely, since life in heaven – is also karma, though positive. This condition is temporary, because the heavenly planets, too, are within the scope of material world, and exposed to the influence of time.

Staying in paradise is just like a temporary vacation in a resort place, after which a person has to come back to work again and earn money for a new holiday. Therefore, in the most sacred sections of the Vedas, we are advised to completely spiritualize our lives through selfless service to God.

The activity of the soul can manifest itself in two ways.

The first one is the exploitation of matter without any connection to God, this activity is called karma. The second one is service to God. Modern people are not familiar with such an activity, even though it is the most natural and pleasing to the soul.

The three main properties of the soul – eternity, knowledge and happiness are fully manifest only in connection with God. But in dealings with matter the soul gets covered by the properties of matter – in the best case by goodness, and in most cases by passion or ignorance.


To be continued…

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