Karma Management Review
Satguru Bodhinatha Veylanswami , 2014-04-17
Moksha includes resolving karma. Even if you realize God, if you have karma you haven't resolved, you're going to be here. Ten Principles of Karma Management in three parts: Handle karma phala that has manifested. Guide new actions. Mitigate or incinerate karma yet to manifest. Lord Ganesha, Lord of Obstacles, helps us unravel and resolve our karma in the most trouble free way possible through following Hindu principles and practices. Master Course, Living with Siva, Lesson 5. What is Hinduism, Karma Management, Chapter 29.
From Lesson 5, Living with Siva.
"Working with Your Karma.
"Seekers more than often ask, 'Why has Siva given us karma to go through? Could He just have made us perfect from the beginning and avoided all the pain?' My answer is: accept your karma as your own, as a healing medicine and not a poison. As you go through your self-created experiences in daily life and seed karmas awaken, as your actions come back through your emotions, even in this life, not in a future one, resolve each and every experience so that you do not react and create new cycles to be lived through. Whether it is happy karma, sad karma, miserable karma or ecstatic karma, it is your karma. But it is not you, not the real you. It is the experience that you go through in order to evolve, in order to grow and to learn and to attain, eventually, wisdom. This is all Siva's mysterious work, His way of bringing along devotees, His way to bring you close and closer to Himself."
As you know, Gurudeva's definition of moksha includes resolving karma. Here's a couple of them but one of them reads approximately: Resolving karma, fulfilling dharma and fully realizing God. Something like that is one of them. So it's a definition that's much broader then you usually encounter. A definition of moksha you usually encounter just focuses on realizing God. All we have to do is realize God and we're out of here. And everyone wants to get out of here right?
But, that's not enough. Even if you realize God, if you have karma that you haven't resolved you're going to be here. So karma therefore, understanding karma, understanding how to resolve karma is a very important principle. Certainly a very key principle in Gurudeva's teachings. That was why I created what are called: "The Ten Principles of Karma Management." Remember that? I got inspired many years ago cause stress management was a big thing back then, still is, but everyone as concerned about stress and how can we mange stress? I thought: Well if we're concerned about such a subtle thing as stress how about we stretch it one point further and figure out how to manage our karma. That's even more central.
So, there's ten principles. Each one has a quote from Gurudeva and a quote from the Tirukural in the whole write-up but I just copied the names of the principles.
The first three relate to karma, karma phala that has manifested. Phala means fruit. So when a karma manifests what it produces is called the fruit. Karma phala that has manifested.
The First Principle.
Well the minimal we need to do is called The First Principle. And that's to: "Forego Retaliation."
Even if we want to we don't do it. Someone mistreats us and boy it really ticks us off and you know, we really are kind of consumed with getting back at them but we manage to restrain ourselves and we don't retaliate. That's the minimal way of resolving karma. We don't retaliate but in our mind we're quite upset by it. So that's not enough.
How can we get un-upset by the fact that somebody mistreated us? We can accept responsibility. Who caused this to happen? Did the other person cause it to happen? Did God cause it to happen? Did my spouse cause it to happen? Who caused it to happen? No, I caused it to happen, right? Either in this life or a past life. I'm the one who's created all my experiences be they enjoyable or not enjoyable, be they harmonious or inharmonious. Created them all.
So if we can accept that responsibility it helps make it a little bit more impersonal. And one way I mention that, as you know, I say: Well if it wasn't this person who brought that back to you it would have to be another person. Because you're destined to have that come back to you. So, when you look at it that way you don't get quite as upset. You realize: Well if it wasn't him it would be someone else.
So that's the second point is to: "Accept Responsibility."
The third one is to: "Forgive the Offender."
Even if we don't retaliate and we realize intellectually that we're the creator, we can still be upset with the person. We've changed our behavior toward them. We're kind of backing away cause we're not fully resolved about it.
So the Tirukural gives very good advice on that: To forgive the offender. If you forgive the offender then you've upped the whole situation. The Tirukural talks about: You forgive the offender and then the offender is so ashamed by being forgiven that he or she improves his behavior as a result. Realizes there's a higher path. So you've shamed someone by coming in with a high minded principle that they didn't expect and in so doing you might just motivate them to upgrade their behavior in the future.
So we can do all three of those, then the karma that has come back to us is totally gone. It's just gone and that's the goal. That's called resolved. If it's totally gone we've resolved it.
The second category relates to new action.
Fourth Principle: "Consider the Consequences."
So we need to think before we act but think in the sense of the karmic consequence. I do what I'm thinking about doing; what's the karmic consequence? Is there some aspect of it that's gonna create a negative karmic fruit? Even if it's a small one. You know, is it really negative fruit free or is there some aspect of it. So understanding that is the fourth principle.
The fifth one is called: "Create No Negative Karmas."
We not only understand it, we're committed. You know, I'm going to live my life in a way that creates no negative karmas. Cause there's no point to it, right? Why should I be so careless as to create a new negative karma. Then I'd just have to resolve that in the future. We're trying to resolve all karmas. To create a new one is going backwards.
So to really commit yourself to that process. I call that the fifth step.
The sixth one is called: "Divinely Influence Karma."
And has to do with worship, worshiping Lord Ganesha. As we know Lord Ganesha is the Lord of Obstacles. And we tend to think of that as removing obstacles from our past so we get what we want. Right? But, those of you who've raised children know, the Lord of Obstacles doesn't just remove them, usually places them to protect children from harming themselves. Gotta cover the wall sockets, you gotta put this out of the way. The matches have to be on the top shelf. You know, you're creating obstacle to prevent the child from hurting himself or herself.
So likewise, Lord Ganesha can create obstacles to block what would be something that would end up creating a messy karma. So that doesn't mean we give up the first time we hit an obstacle. It requires wisdom to know whether Lord Ganesha's blocking you or you just need to keep trying. You never want to give up after one blocked attempt unless you have a profound insight that shows you why you were blocked. Otherwise, you want to try something a few times and then if you're still blocked want to reconsider. Say: Maybe this isn't the wisest course of action for my karma.
So he helps us unravel our karma, resolve it in the most trouble free way as possible. So, that has to do with new actions.
Then we get even more subtle: "Karma Phala Yet to Manifest."
So these are the ones that haven't brought back the fruits yet. But it's in there. In there is a karmic seed. So we mitigate past karma. Cause we know mitigate means to lessen. So it doesn't go away. It just comes to us in a less destructive form or a less negative form. It still comes to us but it's not as negative. It's not as disruptive in our life.
Example Gurudeva gives in the Master Course is: Instead of losing a leg it just gets scratched. We've mitigated. We've lessened the karma. How do we mitigate? Through following the Hindu principles and practices. Through being virtuous, through doing our karma yoga, our bhakti yoga, through going on pilgrimage. All of that helps mitigate or lessen the karma that is yet to come.
Eighth Principle. "Accelerate Karma."
Sound good? You want to get out of here might as well accelerate your karma. Well putting more time into our daily sadhana. That's how we accelerate karma. And, as you know in my various presentations we particularly talk about the retirement years. You don't want to frustrate yourself when you're in the middle of raising children. That you should be putting more time in sadhana. The children are the sadhana. The children deserve the attention. We never want to feel that they're taking away, taking us away from something that's more important. They're not. They're the most important thing until they grow up.
So once we're retired, children are raised, grandchildren are there to enjoy. We don't have to earn money. Then we can put more time into purely spiritual practice. And that accelerates our karma. We're moving more quickly toward eventual moksha.
Ninth Principle. We're starting to get pretty subtle here. Ninth Principle: "Resolve Dream Karma."
So Gurudeva has a nice write-up on that, that there's two kinds of dreams. One is just our own mind talking to itself -- clearing itself out -- normally of recent impressions. Most intense impressions, positive and negative, that we've had, cause us to dream about certain things. That's of no particular importance. But some things are more, actually acting on the astral plane and interacting with other people. We can learn to distinguish between the two because that is more real. And we can remember that a little easier cause it, we were more alert, more awake in that moment than we were when we were just shuffling through things in our own mind.
So if we do something on the astral plane that we wouldn't do on the physical plane to pretend that we did it on the physical plane through the appropriate penance, whatever. We take it as a real action and resolve it.
And the last one makes for a great graphic.
So incinerate means it's totally gone. So the analogy for that is the seed. For those who are used to sprouting seeds, you take seeds like alfalfa seeds, mung bean seeds that you would sprout. You know you can put the in a moist place and they'll sprout. But, if you heat the seeds to a sufficient temperature then it won't sprout. You've taken away it's ability to sprout.
So karma is like that. If we can heat the karma, through our tapas, we can actually cause it not to sprout or not to manifest. So that's pretty subtle. It's so subtle I'm going to read what Gurudeva said. Better than trying to remember.
"A meditation adept, having pinpointed the unmanifested karmic seed, can either dissolve it in intense inner light or inwardly live through the reaction of his past action. If his meditation is successful, he will be able to throw out the vibrating experiences or desires which are consuming the mind. In doing this, in traveling past the world of desire, he breaks the wheel of karma which binds him to the specific reaction which must follow every action. That experience will never have to happen on the physical plane, for its vibrating power has already been absorbed in his nerve system. This same type of incineration can also happen during sleep."
So, all of this is just drawn from the Master Course. Nothing here that isn't in the Master Course but it's spread out. And that's the advantage of this, it's in the "What is Hinduism" book. In our e-books if you want to take a look at it. And it, as I say, for each one it gives a beautiful quote from Gurudeva and a Tirukural quote to fill it out. And it's good to brush up on it if, if it's a little vague in your memory because this is a very key practice. Resolve karma.
So it falls into three parts.
How we handle the karmic fruit that has manifested that we've actually experienced; how we handle that.
Second part is: How we guide new actions so they don't create unwanted karma.
And the third is: How we get rid of the karmic seeds that haven't yet manifested. We either mitigate or we can incinerate.
Okay. Have a wonderful week.