Thursday, March 24, 2011

Discussion on Karma Theory

Karma Theory


Karma is the universal principle of cause and effect. Our actions, both good and bad, come back to us in the future,helping us to learn from life's lessons and become better people.

Karma is basically energy. I throw energy out through thoughts,words and deeds - mano vaakkaya karamaas, and it comes back to me in time,through other people. Karma is our best teacher , for we must always face the consequences of our actions and thus improve and refine our behavior, or suffer if we do not. The bondage of this karma or karmabandham is the root for repeated births and deaths and experiencing the pleasures and pains - sukhadukhaalu. Beyond this bondage is salvation.

Bhagavadgita suggests that the moment the fire of knowledge -jnaagnihi manifests itself the whole stock of sanchita karmas in the form of latencies disappear and one is above experiencing prarabhdha and aagami.

Understanding the way the karma works, we seek to live a good and virtuous life through right thought, right speech and right action and this is called dharma. We must also be very careful about our thoughts, because thought creates, and thoughts make karmas - good,bad and mixed.

I request you to listen to my humble understanding of Law of Karma.


Essence of scriptuers: - Dehum- Nahum-Kohum –Sohum – which indicates the  body is not the self – the self is that. Which clearly indicates the self is without the body. Therefore, the self is the formless knower of the body and the world. Without the body and the world, the self is free from birth life and death.  Therefore, karma theory, which is based on the idea of birth, life, death and rebirth, is a mere religious fable    

Karma is universal principle only on the base of false self [ego], within the illusion. The cause and effect is reality, only on the base of false self.  The fact is Atman or the soul is the true self, which is in the form of consciousness and Atman or soul is uncaused.   Buddhism says, there is nothing - nonentity. Advaita says there is some reality, even though things are not what they appear to be.

When the self is neither the waking entity nor the dream entity but the self is the formless seer of the three states and is apart. Thus the karma done is the dream becomes unreal when waking takes place so its effect also is unreal. Similarly, the waking experience also becomes unreal after self - Realization, then how the karma theory, which is based on false self within the false experience, will affect anyone. When the true self is birthless and deathless then the question of rebirth does not arise.   

Brahman is considered the all-pervading consciousness, which is the basis of all the animate and inanimate entities and material. (brahmano hi pratisthaham, Bhagavad Gita 14.27)

Atman is Brahman:- the self is Atman ,which is in the form of consciousness. Consciousness is  is ultimate reality or Brahman.  Thus, on the base of formless self or consciousness the Karma theory is mere illusory theory created within the false experience on the base of the false entity.

  Thus karma which is done within false experience with false identity is bound to be falsehood. Thus the karma theory is mere imagined theory created by the sages in the past for the general mass who are unable to think beyond physicality to judge their own action to indulge in good karma, which in turn helps the society in live in peace and harmony.  Desire of getting good life and benefits in next world and next life people indulge in doing good deeds and by fear of going to hell and bad life in next life and next world they avoid indulging in bad deeds in this practical world.
Karma, Bhakti, Raj yoga are not the means to path of wisdom. And mixing them up and trying to assimilate ultimate truth is impossibility. 

There is no need to practice to devotion, karma and raja yoga because they are not the means to acquire non-dual wisdom.   There is no practice as such but perfect understanding is needed.   Deeper inquiry, analysis and reasoning revels the fact that, the self is not physical but the self is formless consciousness. Therefore, all the accumulated knowledge, experiences and understanding based on physical self (ego or body  or waking entity as Self)are falsehood based on the false self, within the false experience (waking).   Thus, whatever is based on the waking entity is bound to be falsehood because waking experience itself is false hood.   Since many teachers and teachings are based on the false self (ego or body or waking entity as self  ) and they consider the false experience (three states) as reality, they are incapable of grasping the witness, which is within the three states, but it is without the three states.

As per the scriptures the three "Ashrams" or stages in life were originally intended for three grades of intelligence thus:-

             Religion: low intellects had to do 'karmas' works, ritual actions, chanting of mantras and indulging in bajans and prayers etc.
             Middle intellects:  Yoga: taking yellow robes, going to caves, ashrams etc.
             High intellects: Philosophy: who wanted truth are concerned with no external rites or sanyas but depend solely on intelligent inquiry for their path.

Gaudapada says that:- The merciful Veda teaches karma and Upaasana to people of lower and middling intellect, while Jnana is taught to those of higher intellect.

This clearly indicates that religion, which is based on individual conduct, prescribes karma and Upaasana to people of lower and middling intellect, therefore religion is for the lower intellect. And wisdom is for those are capable of inquiring into their own existence to know and realize the ultimate truth is Brahman.

As indicated in ISH Upanishads: - By worshipping gods and goddesses you will go after death to the world of gods and goddesses. But will that help you? The time you spend there is wasted, because if you were not there you could have spent that time moving forward towards Self-knowledge, which is your goal. In the world of gods and goddesses you cannot do that, and thus you go deeper and deeper into darkness.

It clearly indicates that:-If the human goal is to acquire Self-Knowledge then why one has to indulge in rituals and glorifying the conceptual gods, goddesses and gurus[which is karma]  to go in to deeper darkness. Instead   spend that time moving forward towards Self-knowledge, which is one’s prime goal.  

Since it is eternal and infinite, it comprises the only truth. The goal of Vedic religion, through the various yogas, is to realize that the consciousness (Atman) is actually nothing but Brahman.

If one knows the ultimate truth, then he will know there is neither cause nor effect.  Non-dual Wisdom is to know, what is it, that is real, and base the reasoning on that real.

When reasoning is done on true base, then one has the yardstick to know what is truth, and what is untruth, and he will be able to reject the unreal or untruth mentally.  Therefore, one has to make sure whether the true self is body or ego or waking entity , or the true self is soul or Atman, which is in the form of consciousness.

 If one accepts the self as body, then the karma becomes universal principal. If one accepts the soul or consciousness as self, then the physical body, ego, world and whatever one has seen known and believed and experienced as a person becomes unreal(mirage) on the standpoint of the soul as self.

 By accepting karma theory, one is accepting the unreal as real, and permanently remains in the clutches of duality thinking the cycle of birth, life and death as reality.  Therefore, to overcome the illusory cycle of birth, life and death, one has to know the fact that, the body or ego or waking entity is not the self, but the formless soul is the true self. Thus the self is within the mind (universe) but it is without the mind (universe).   Thus the self is within the ‘I’ but it is without the ‘I’.

Thus karma theory is a hindrance in the path of truth because one accepts the false self as real self and false experience as real experience and he thinks all his action will yield fruits. Thus he will remain permanently in the realm of unreality or ignorance.  Without getting rid of ignorance truth realization or Self-realization is impossibility.

When the self is genderless then it is impossible to get enlightenment through sexual intercourse or tantric sex.  It is impossible to get freedom by taking sanyasa or renouncing the worldly life which is mere body based theories. When the self is not physical then what value is there to take sanyasa or renouncing the worldly life? One has to renounce the ignorance, which is the cause of experiencing the illusion [body+ universe] as reality.

If one thinks non-dual truth is the ultimate truth, then one has to drop all theories based on the physical body (ego or waking entity)as self, because non-dual truth is based on the consciousness (soul), which is the true self. 

By accepting karma theory one is  accepting the false self, as real self, and world as reality, therefore there is no need for Self-inquiry “Who am ‘I’ “, because one has  accepted the present physical identity and world as reality.  Self-inquiry makes one realize the fact that self is not the body. After knowing the fact that self is not the body, then it is erroneous to think again as the body as self, and holding the body based theories as reality.  Thus karma theory becomes a biggest obstacle in the path of inquiry and truth, because it does not allow the seeker to cross the threshold of duality.

 The physical body and the world which exist only in waking/dream/duality are impermanent and illusory in nature, because they appear and disappear as mind. The soul which is the formless substance and witness of the duality is permanent. Therefore, whatever is seen known and believed and experienced as real within the waking also is as real as dream.

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 universe 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 or Brahma Gnana or Atma Gnana is impossible.

Thus it is necessary for the seeker of truth to know the fact that, the body which is born, lives and dies is not the self. Since he is taking the body to be the self, he is experiencing the duality as reality.

 As Sri, Sankara says:  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.

 If body is not the Atman or soul, the innermost self, then the karma theory has no meaning on the standpoint of the truth. Thus no second thing exists other than Atman, therefore why to view the worldview on the standpoint of the body as self (ego or waking entity) when the body (ego or waking entity) is the false self, and the soul or Atman is the true self.

 If body is not the self, then the birth, life, death and the universe are bound to be illusion.  If birth, life and death are illusion then all conducts actions and their fruits are mere illusion. If body is not the self, then the existence of god, heaven and hell is mere illusion.  If body is not the self then all religious beliefs of god is mere illusion.  If body is not the self but the Atman (soul)which is in the form of consciousness is the true self, then there is no scope for second thing other than consciousness,    therefore consciousness, which is Atman is Brahman or ultimate truth.  The Brahman alone is real and eternal.  Thus whatever is real eternal has to be identified as god. To identify the real and eternal, one has to overcome the ignorance caused by the illusion. To overcome the ignorance one has to acquire the Self-Knowledge or Brahma Gnana or Atma Gnana.