Trev Light Bown: - This is how my understanding sees it.
Karma is whatever is. Yes it is the play of duality forces as birth, living in world universe and death of body mind that is identity "I" thought.
So. Even Gnani after true self-realisation must be a player of these duality forces.
Look at all the Sages, many including Ramana, Krishnamurti, Nasagadatta, all died of cancer type illness if I am not mistaken. So this to me is evidence that forces of karma will play out even for Enlightened Gnani.
So yes Karma is illusion at soul witness, but to take part on Earth as human being, means living with "what is" or karma effects of past.
Dearest Trev Light Bown,
As per my conviction:-
When the self is not the form but self is formless then whose karma. The one which is born lives and dies is not the self then the question of karma does not arise. Waking entity (you) is the false self within the false experience (waking). Thus whatever action and inaction, past, present and future belong to the waking experience, which is falsehood.
What happens to the dream entity which did good karma in the dream world and it died and reincarnated in the next life and suffered but when waking takes place the dream becomes unreal.
The waking becomes unreal when waking entity (you) realizes the fact that it itself (you) are not the self but the self is the formless soul, which witnesses the coming and going of the three states in succession.
Thus neither karma of waking entity nor the karma of dream entity has meaning because the self is neither the waking entity nor the self is dream entity but the self is formless soul.
You are not the self because you are the birth entity; you are bound by form, time and space whereas the self is Birthless then how the karma theory has any meaning when the karma theory based on the false self (you) and false experience (world). The karma theory is a religious fable meant for the people who are fully immersed in the practical life and practical world believing the experience of the birth, life, death and the world as reality. If self is birthless then what values the karma theory will have because it is based on birth, life, death and rebirth.
Thus, as per my conviction, the Karma theory is mere religious and yogic fable.
Yes, Ramana, J. Krishnamurti, Nisargadattta, all died of cancer type illness. It does not make any difference if they died of cancer or not of cancer or any illness. Even Lord Krishna died of a painful death. The death is certain cause of death is irreverent to a Gnani. When the self is birthless then it is deathless A Gnani is unconcerned to the death because he is fully aware of that the illusion is only a passing show. The last words of Sage Ramana on the death bed: - he says I am not going anywhere. He did not mean that his physical form, which was bound by birth, life and death but the birthless self, which is ever formless. Thus the karma theory is nothing to do with birthless self. Thus people’s painful death cannot be taken as evidence because self is ever deathless because it birthless because it is formless.
The karmic account is never ending because one has to be born again and again to reap his good or bad karma carried forward one life to the next. To end his karmic account he has to be born as a Muslim in his next birth because the Islam does not believe in karma theory.
As per Sage Sri, Sankara:-
The path of religion, theory of karma, the path of yoga and the path of wisdom were intended for different classes of people. The wisdom is for the advanced seekers of truth. It deals with the nature of the ultimate Truth and Reality. It is meant for superior aspirants who have an inner urge to know the truth and it is not for those who are immersed in earthly desires.
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 in 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 the 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 a reality. Thus the freedom which one is seeking will remain a distant dream. For the one who accepts the birth life, death and the world as reality, Self-knowledge or Brahma Gnana or Atma Gnana is impossible.