Karma is universal principle only on the base of false self (ego or waking entity), within the false experience (waking). The cause and effect is reality, only on the base of false self(ego or waking entity). The fact is the formless soul or consciousnesses, is the innermost self, and the formless soul or consciousness is cause of everything that exist and it itself is is uncaused.
Buddhism says, there is nothing - nonentity. Advaita says there is some reality, even though things are not what they appear to be. If one knows the truth, he will know there is neither cause nor effect. Advaita is to know, what is it that is Real, and base the reasoning on that real.
When the self is neither the body nor the ego, neither the waking entity not the dream entity, then how the karma based on the false self within the false experience can yield fruits. Therefore, karma is a religious fable.
The karma theory is reality only for those who believe their present physical identity [ego] as real, and world as reality. When the Sri, Sankara declares the world itself is illusion, and Brahman is real, then what value the karma theory has when the world is illusion, because man is part and parcel of the illusory world. Therefore, one has to view and judge the worldview on the standpoint of soul or consciousness, the innermost self, in order to overcome the duality, which he is experiencing it as reality.
The individuality is reality within the illusory world. Therefore, all the theories created within the illusion on the base of false entity, within the false experience, has to be the part and parcel of the illusion. Thus it is necessary to realize the fact that, formless soul or consciousness is the true self and all else is illusion, to overcome the illusory experience of birth, life,death and the world. Thus to understand and assimilate Sri, Sankara’s Advaitic truth, seeker has to do his own home work through inquiry, analysis and reasoning on the true base, without mixing religion, scriptures, theories concept of god and yoga.
Sri Sankara says in Aparokshanubhuti:-
88. When the whole universe, movable and immovable, is known to be Atman, and thus the existence of everything else is negated, where is then any room to say that the body is Atman?
89. O enlightened one, pass your time always contemplating on Atman while you are experiencing all the results of Prarabdha; for it ill becomes you to feel distressed.
90. The theory one hears of from the scripture, that Prarabdha does not lose its hold upon one even after the origination of the knowledge of Atman, is now being refuted.
91. After the origination of the knowledge of Reality, Prarabdha verily ceases to exist, inasmuch as the body and the like become non-existent; just as a dream does not exist on waking.
92. That Karma which is done in a previous life is known as Prarabdha (which produces the present life). But such Karma cannot take the place of Prarabdha (for a man of knowledge), as he has no other birth (being free from ego).
93. Just as the body in a dream is superimposed (and therefore illusory), so is also this body. How could there be any birth of the superimposed (body), and in the absence of birth (of the body) where is the room for that (i.e., Prarabdha) at all ?
94. The Vedanta texts declare ignorance to be verily the material (cause) of the phenomenal world just as earth is of a jar. That (ignorance) being destroyed, where can the universe subsist ?
95. Just as a person out of confusion perceives only the snake leaving aside the rope, so does an ignorant person see only the phenomenal world without knowing the reality?
96. The real nature of the rope being known, the appearance of the snake no longer persists; so the substratum being known, the phenomenal world disappears completely.
97. The body also being within the phenomenal world (and therefore unreal), how could Prarabdha exist ? It is, therefore, for the understanding of the ignorant alone that the Shruti speaks of Prarabdha.
98. “And all the actions of a man perish when he realizes that (Atman) which is both the higher and the lower”. Here the clear use of the plural by the Shruti is to negate Prarabdha as well.
99. If the ignorant still arbitrarily maintain this, they will not only involve themselves into two absurdities but will also run the risk of forgoing the Vedantic conclusion. So one should accept those Shrutis alone from which proceeds true knowledge.
The above proves that the karma is reality only on the base of false self, where one thinks body and the universes as reality. When one becomes aware of the fact that, the true self is formless soul, then the karma becomes part and parcel of illusion. My point is that, if one accepts the karma theory as reality, he will never be able to come out of the ignorance. And ignorance makes him believe the cycle of birth, life and death as reality. Thus the freedom which one is seeking will remain distant dream. For the one who accepts the birth life and death as reality, Self-knowledge is impossible.