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THEORIES OF KARMA, DEATH AND ATMA

KARMA THEORY -   KARMA AND GRACE -
WHAT IS SOUL (ATMA)?   -  WHAT IS DEATH?
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Karma is the cause of man's bondage to the cycle of birth and death...

 



What is Karma? Karma is an activity, which all the human beings
have to perform, until death releases them from this body prison.
Man cannot live for a moment without doing Karma. Even while he is
sleeping, the breathing process becomes his Karma. Karma is the
cause of man's bondage to the cycle of birth and death. The life
has been given to man to sort out the consequences of the previous
Karma deliberately done, in many past lives, as well as in present
life. Man cannot be liberated, until and unless he has sorted out
and neutralized all effects of past and present Karma, and bringing
the Karmic balance to nil.


Many times Kriya (natural activity), is being considered as Karma.
Kriya is a natural activity, which we perform in our day-to-day
life, without thinking, questioning or seeking anybody's advice. If
you get a nature's call, you would immediately run to the toilet,
without thinking or consulting anybody. Every morning we get up,
brush our teeth, take bath, wear clothes and go to work, or go to
the garden, take some exercises, and do many more such acts. Such
acts are known as Kriya. They do not bind us to the `Law of
Karma'. Karma is the action or activity, deliberately done, with
full knowledge and intention of the doer, and also in expectation of
certain results in consequences thereof. This kind of Karma binds
man to the causes and effects of the `Law of Karma'.

There are three types of Karmas. Instant Karma, which brings
instant result. (Such as when you slap someone in the face and he
slaps you back, or you offer a glass of water to someone and
somebody else offers you a glass of water. They are action and
reaction is instantly neutralized leaving no balance behind).

The Mass Karma (Natural calamities like a plane crash, train
accidents, earthquake, floods or cyclone, etc.) and the Delayed
Karma, which baffles the human beings most because its consequence
is not instant and immediate, but takes a much longer time to
appear. The seed needing to be planted, the soil to get fertilized,
and the tree to grow before its fruit can ripen. By the time this
whole process gets over, the past actions are totally erased from
the memory, and the person is confused when he gets the fruit of his
past actions. But be very sure that whatever you shall sow, so you
shall reap. The same theory applies to the `Law of Karma'.

When you sow a seed of Karma and whenever it yields the result and
become the fruit, whether it is sweet or bitter, rest assured that
you and you alone will have to eat it, whether you like it or not,
and no one else will be able to eat it on your behalf, even if
somebody volunteers to do so. Most of the people are under the
mistaken impression that after doing one bad Karma and at the same
time by doing another good Karma, they can mitigate the result of
the bad Karma. If one does something bad to someone, he is sure to
get it back, in the same manner, today or tomorrow, from that very
person himself or by any other person. By the same token, if one
does good to somebody, he is also going to benefit in a similar
manner. Karma is not a bank account. You deposit Rs.5000/- today,
withdraw Rs.3000/- and the balance is Rs.2000/-, so when you again
deposit Rs.1000/-, it becomes Rs.3000/-. Karma theory is not adding
and subtracting like a bank account. It is `tit for tat, blow
for blow, help for help'. It is same like Newton's 3rd
law, `Action and reaction are always equal and opposite'.

In Bhagawad Gita, Lord Krishna has clearly declared about the
Karma theory. He cautious, "Do the action but do not keep the
desire of any fruit". He further asserts "Dedicate all the actions
to Me". Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba also preaches the same, but
with a little difference. He says, "By doing any action, you may
have a desire, but that desire should be to find God and to realise
and know that you are God". He further guides us by telling us that
whatever work we are doing and in whatever capacity we are doing it,
we should keep in mind, that it is an act of God, done for the sake
of God, and dedicated to God, and whatever the results, are gladly
acceptable to us. By feeling thus, we will not be bound by the cause
and effect of the Karmic Law. Baba will take everything on Himself
and set us free and help us to progress towards liberation.

Baba has given us two paths by which we can cleanse our mind and
make it subtle and pure, so that we are able to understand, the
simple way to liberation. Baba tells us to do Namasmarana every day
(singing the glory of the Lord) with pure and dedicated mind and to
do Seva (service) to the poor and the needy, to the disabled and the
crippled, to the sick and suffering, to the healthy and humble and
to the good and the Godly people. This will illumine our mind, and
we will be able to understand ourselves more clearly.

Baba says that man has unlimited potentialities to realise and
know himself. In one of the recent discourses on Ugadi day, He
said, "Embodiment of love: You can not find in the entire Cosmos
any place or object in which God is not present. The divine is
present on the mountains. The divine dwells in villages and cities.
The Divine is Omnipresent.

Only those who recognise this truth can redeem their lives; they
alone can achieve the goal of human existence. The powers of the
Divine are limitless. Every living being in the world is governed by
some limitations. Birds, beasts and insects are all taken care of by
the Divine in respect of their essential needs like food and drink.
Among all living beings, however, the life of human being is supreme
as it is governed by morality and the good conduct. The Divine has
placed some limitations on the physical powers of man but has set no
limits to the mental powers. Man can achieve whatever he resolves to
achieve. He can even realise God. This Divine power is only given to
human beings.

Ignorant of his limitless divine potentialities, man suffers from
various disabilities by considering himself as human being.

Man today is soaring in the sky as a bird and moving in the ocean
like a fish. He has been able to land on the moon. But unfortunately
he is not able to live like a true human being on earth. This is
indeed a matter of shame.

Man can accomplish anything if he surrenders to God. When he
submits himself to the Will of the Divine, there is no task he
cannot accomplish.

Not realising the true nature of the Divine principle, man wastes
his time on rituals and religious practices of various kinds. God
cannot be realised through such practices. It is only by loving God
and getting close to Him that one can realise one's aspiration.
Swami does not disapprove of Sadhana practices. They are good
activities for using time sacredly. But without service to Godly
persons, they are of no use for realising freedom from the cycle of
mundane existence.

People aspire for liberation (Mukti). They have no idea what
constitutes liberation. Man seeks liberation from the ills of the
body, the senses, the mind, the intellect and the Anthakarana
(internal motivator). All these are no doubt necessary. But
liberation in the ultimate sense consists in liberation from the
cycle of birth and death. This means that one should redeem one's
present life so that one is free from rebirth.

Men should pray to God for freedom from rebirth so that they will
not have bodies which are bound to be afflicted with diseases.
People have no clear idea of what Dharma, Artha, Kama and Moksha
(the four goals) mean. They think that Moksha (liberation) is
something, which you attain after death. But, in fact, liberation
can be attained here and now. Moksha means "Moha-Kshayam" the
elimination of "Moha" (or attachment). People are not ready to
give up attachment to wife, children, property etc., you have a duty
to protect your family. But you must not be immersed in concerns
about them. Realise that love is the most important quality in human
life. It is not love for kith and kin that is precious. It is love
for God that is more valuable".

(Extracts taken from Sanathana Sarathi, April 1998)

KARMA AND GRACE

There are three types of Karma : Past, Present and Future. Present
Karma must continue. It is like the carriage behind which is a trail
of dust. If the carriage stops, the dust will settle on it. A doubt
might be that the carriage cannot forever continue so as to be ahead
of its dust. But the carriage need not always travel on a dusty
road. It can get on the surface highway where there is no dust. The
highway is equivalent to the Grace of God. There is a difference
between the benefit of Grace and the benefit of the Bhakti, or
devotion. A patient with pain is given a sedative, which dulls the
pain. But Grace is an operation that does entirely away with pain.
Make no mistake; Grace does entirely away with Karma. It is like a
medicine which is labeled, `good until 1968'. If used in 1973, the
medicine is entirely ineffective. The body is the bottle, the karma
in the body is the medicine, God puts a date on the `medicine'; so
it is not effective.

(Taken form Sanathana Sarathi, April 1998)

WHAT IS DEATH?

The word `death' creates a fear psychosis, in the mind of human
beings. You tell a person that such and such person has died; it
will produce a wave of shock, in the mind of the listener. When
death occurs in the family, it is announced in the papers `SAD
DEMISE'. According to Author's own understanding, he explains
death as follows:

Death is re-union with God.
Death is like changing clothes and wearing new clothes.
Death is getting merged in God.
Death is to achieve Eternity.
Death is a realisation, that one is not the body, but the Atma
(soul).
Death is attaining a Blissful state (Sat-Chit-Ananda).
Death is to break all the ties that bind, and be permanently
released.
Death is the only certainty.
Death is understanding and experiencing the difference between the
transient and the permanent.

Anybody and everybody, who is born in this world, in any form, has
to meet with death sooner or later. Hence, death should be accepted
as boldly and cheerfully as we accept life. That will help us in
eliminating the fear of death, which has held most of us so tightly
in its grip that we can hardly breathe.
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