The Philosophy of Karma: The Laws and Accounts
The Philosophy of Karma stated in its most essential form is “As you sow, so shall you reap.” “Every action causes an equal and opposite reaction.”
Each action is a seed planted, which comes to fruition according to time. Every second we perform an action. We are encouraged to be very aware of and monitor the quality of each thought, word and act as they emerge through us.
Thoughts, words and deeds fall on a wide spectrum between pure and impure. The consequences occur in the immediate short term, mid-term and long term. They affect your body, mind, wealth, relationships, circumstances, opportunities etc. All actions are performed in the context of the consequences of previous actions, which are often unknown to us due to being performed in the distant past of another life time. Sometimes we do not see the connections, and do not recognize that we are experiencing the consequences of a wrong action, or set of actions, we did, or are continuing to do, in this life. In the western tradition we tend to think of sin as an individual action. In BK knowledge we look at a tendency or series of similar actions as the sin, bearing in mind that it is very rare to do something only once, hence the connection between karma and sanskaras.
The knowledge of Raja Yoga as described by Brahma Kumaris IVV and studied by BKs through the murlis includes much information about karma. Essentially: a pure action brings about a beneficial result. An impure action brings about a result of loss. Whether we are soul conscious or body conscious makes all the difference to the quality of our actions. The aim of the study and practice is to become Karmateet, which means free from the effects of karma. Baba’s definition of perfect is free from or beyond the effects of karma.
It is very easy to over-simplify and arrive at erroneous conclusions. The path to the Karmateet stage is fraught with complications, self-deceptions, illusions, delusions and other errors. At the same time it is only by being willing to face all these that the student becomes experienced and gains clarity.
Knowledge of Karma must also be set in the context of the other concepts such as
- The predestined drama of 5000 years duration
- The predestined part or role of each soul
- Free will
- Tests and challenges
- Maya or Ravan
- The eight powers of yoga
Considering all these aspects shows the law of Karma to be a very complex machinery that can be interpreted in many different ways. Shiva Baba has revealed much new information about these concepts and teaches us to become experienced and conversant, with the aim of becoming wise. The teachings are presented initially as a broad framework. The subtleties and intricacies are acquired slowly over time, as an individual BK progresses in his or her journey of the spiritual practice of Raja Yoga.
Every soul exists within a perpetually turning cycle of cause and effect. Every soul acts according to their sanskaras which are produced by their karma, which in turn reinforces their sanskaras. Very slowly over the course of the cycle of time, the quality of consciousness declines, tying the bondages of karma ever more tightly in an escalating knot of negative give and take, which binds the individuals concerned in intensifying forms of suffering and sorrow.
Enter: the concept of charity. Charity is pure action performed independently of conventional or justifiable reactions, and has the power to loosen the karmic knot. The power to perform charitable actions is generated through meditation and study of spiritual knowledge. Poonya ki poonjee refers to a special level of pure karma that is a true sacrifice.
The knowledge and practice of Raja Yoga is a teaching given by God (Shiva Baba) who is outside the karmic cycle and enables a soul to escape from the bondages of karma. A BK is encouraged to follow Srimat in order to be successful. Going against srimat obstructs success. Srimat is the directions of God.
This is why God is called the Supreme Teacher, the Purifier, the Merciful one, the Guide, the Knowledgeful One.
In the context of an organization, the laws of karma are only incidentally taken into consideration, and only as they figure within man made legislation as it applies to human resources etc. In the context of a family the laws of karma are taken into consideration only in so far as they correspond with the religious tenets and social conventions that govern families. Our inquiry focuses here particularly on the western world. In India the idea of karma is much more prominent in the family context as it is an integral part of the Hindu tradition which includes the concept of reincarnation.
In Brahma Kumaris, although we say this is an organization, in fact it is only to a certain extent. It is rather a spiritual family. In this context the laws of karma are investigated and interpreted in as fine detail as possible.
One problem is that the laws of karma are harsh, merciless and cold. Consequently people generally have a strong antipathetic reaction. They don’t like the concept and consequently disagree with it. By disagreeing with it, they discount it, deny it, and avoid it, often choosing instead to blame others, God, circumstances, injustice etc. However such reactions do not change the inexorable course of the laws of karma, nor their inevitable consequences.
God, Shiva Baba through Brahma Baba, provides us with detailed descriptions of the laws and accounts of karma, and each BK individually interprets this according to their capacity and understanding. Any limitations in their capacity and understanding in their relationship with these laws cause them to take sorrow or become bitter towards them or the BK family/organization.
The more an individual BK is spiritually powerful, pure, clear, and with understanding of the Gyan, the greater their ability to manage, accept and effectively interpret the laws of karma and calculate the accounts of karma.
This implies that a BK must grapple with the concept, the laws and the accounts of Karma. This is difficult because it is very subtle. It requires that a BK becomes adept in the use of the 8 powers of Yoga, particularly the power to face. There is no short cut. This process takes time and a lot of patience. We don’t always have that, which is frustrating.
In the spiritual family set up of the Yagya, there is God, Shiva Baba, the Supreme Father, Teacher and Sat Guru. Then there are Brahma and Saraswati, the spiritual parents on the physical level who interpret and demonstrate the guidance provided by Shiva Baba. In his turn Shiva Baba guarantees that their interpretation is correct.
Then there are the elders, the Dadis. They are clearly identified and their importance is that they are original founding members of the family and lived with Shiva Baba, Brahma Baba and Mama. They experienced the knowledge being given and interpreted from the outset and are therefore in the best position to carry it forward. They are the best references for those who came later on.
Then there are the Didis and senior brothers, the generation of sisters and brothers who entered in the 1950s and 60s, who experienced Brahma Baba, Mama and the Dadis, who were given fullest apprenticeship in the practice of Raja Yoga and many of whom were assigned to serve in western countries and provide guidance to western people who wanted to learn Raja Yoga and become part of the BK spiritual family.
Because the Yagya deals with money and property and other physical aspects, there was a need to establish an organization so that donations could be received, and the BK family could have an interface with local governments. This applies in India also. Consequently we have an organizational structure as well as a family structure, and this is a continuum.
Things that make a difference to your karma
- Influence of company
- Impact of using the Third Eye
- The consciousness of the Confluence Age
- Tiag, tapasya, seva – (renunciation, intense meditation, service)
- Facing and settling karmic accounts along the way
- Murjeeva janam – Death while alive – change of consciousness and sense of identity but keep the same body)
- Icchha mataram avidhya – Ignorant of all trace of desire
- Influence of Maya, Ravan, the force of evil
When a BK becomes a BK, an unwritten contract gets established once that BK begins working with the question “Who am I?”
- As a Child of The Father, an inheritance is to be claimed. This implies fidelity and loyalty in the relationship.
- As a student of The Teacher, a status is to be claimed. This implies honesty in the relationship.
- As a follower of the Sat Guru, liberation is to be claimed. This implies obedience in the relationship.
The five forms of the swadarshanchakra dhari mantra – Hum So, So Hum: Brahmin, Devta, Khshatriya, Vaishya, Shudra describes the reality of the decline of the soul during our passage through time. Psychologically it is only possible for a person to face and come to terms with this reality at the time of the confluence age, in our last of the 84 births, the time when we have reached the lowest point. This is also the point at which the pendulum swings in the other direction. The point when the soul goes from the lowest to the highest stage – the confluence of the time cycles.
The Five Forms of our practice: Point of light, Deity, Worship Worthy Image, Brahmin, Angel enable us to experience the points of progression around the cycle as positive moments. This mental or spiritual practice enables us to transcend the horror of our descent and decline. It mitigates the psychological trauma of facing the reality that rather than moving in an evolutionary progression, we only decline from the beginning to the end. Psychologically the soul cries out “what is the point?” and crumbles in disbelief and despair.
But, if we see the five stages as positive and all related to our perfect forms, or the different facets of our eternal perfection, then psychologically the soul can accept such a reality about itself. The soul affirms during the confluence age that: I am a Point of light, a Deity, a Worship Worthy Image, a Brahmin, an Angel. This also corresponds to my passage round the cycle. I spin the cycle and this is my eternal identity.
The concept of a hierarchy of souls is also psychologically abhorrent to people raised in the culture of equality. It represents a demand to turn ones back on one of the most elevated values in the culture, and psychologically this is unacceptable. There is a clash of values that brings on an ethical dilemma that the western person finds impossible to resolve. In some cases a person responds to this dilemma by “suspension of disbelief”. This is like blind faith. A person rejects their previous value system wholesale and takes on a new one which is unfamiliar. But, they recognize God, therefore they are ready to turn their backs on their ideas and philosophical positions up to that moment of recognition of God. However, this forces them to take on a “fanatical” position. Some people have a moment of instant recognition which is so powerful that they are compelled to act upon that experience in a total way. Others take their time and slowly arrive at recognition. They act upon a slowly awakening recognition step by step integrating changes in their life-styles and belief systems gradually over some years. The first category tends to get immediately and strongly implicated in the BK center, service etc. and make huge and rapid changes in their ways of life. The latter category makes changes very slowly and may never get intensively implicated in the centre activities or become a “dedicated BK”.
Rather than becoming a “fanatical BK” a more healthy approach for those who experience instant and powerful recognition, might be to deal with the dilemma in steps. It is important to recognize that while the moment of recognition is intense, exhilarating, possibly an overwhelming “calling”, nevertheless the soul is not actually powerful at that time. There may even be visions which are extremely compelling. The person may feel much empowered by the experience, but that is not the same as the accumulation of spiritual potency that arises over a long period of time of meditation and spiritual study.
(I was fortunate to have a background in philosophy and intensive study in spirituality from many traditions and religions. My university training in philosophy and the humanities, literature, history etc. provided me with the intellectual tools to complement my instant recognition and visionary experiences with a hard-nosed analysis of what was being presented to me. I could also engage in an in-depth investigation of the BK organization and family, visiting many centres, and checking out everything in every way I could think of. My process was in this way two pronged. One side was electric, powerful, instant recognition and surrender, and the other side an intellectual analysis, close observation of the people concerned and non-emotional evaluation of what this is.
I entered into an unspoken contract with Dadi Janki that on my side I would do whatever she would tell me, and on her side she would move me forward in the traditional BK way of the original founding father and mother. Although this was very arduous at times, I was always very aware that this is the best way to gain the greatest resilience, insight and capacity, and I therefore accepted it at each step. Anyone who has studied the lives of those who undertook a serious spiritual practice knows that it is arduous, lonely, mysterious and fraught with tests. My special interest in classical mythology of India, Greece, Rome, Egypt and China confirmed this also. I often thought of the saying, “When the going gets tough, the tough get going.” Dadi Janki also provided me with powerful thoughts to help me across difficult terrain. For example, “It’s not good, it’s not bad; it just is.” It’s happening, but it’s not happening to me.”)
The knowledge of Drama is very subtle and deep. It implies that you have to let go of each scene, each event, each act of each soul, moment by moment and not keep any of it in mind, on the “Chitta” (memory track) or in the heart, otherwise the soul gets contaminated and cannot proceed unhampered. The yoga is broken and the soul founders.
Madhuban (Pandav Bhawan, Gyan Sarovar and Shantivan) but specially Pandav Bhawan, the original ashram created by Brahma Baba, Mama and the Dadis is the place of pilgrimage. We BKs return to Madhuban annually or biennially or more often. This place contains the spiritual power that we recharge ourselves with regularly. Of course each one must do their own meditation daily, with special emphasis on Armit Vela to keep up the power levels that enable the soul to combat the opposition from Maya, Ravan, the force of Evil or whatever you like to call this negative energy. We meet Bapdada in Madhuban (now in the Diamond Hall of Shantivan). Bapdada fills us with incognito power. We receive power and sustenance from the family, from the Dadis and other seniors, and from the place itself.
Once a BK begins the practice of Raja Yoga, it is understood that she or he has thrown down the gauntlet and challenged the force of negativity. Its response is relentless and continuous. This means, once we start the process, it behooves us to maintain our levels of spiritual power and we must be careful to keep a balance of Yoga and Knowledge, and Yoga and Service. If we lose the balance and the yoga becomes weak, then we are vulnerable to Maya and very easily we make small mistakes (negative karmas) which add up and can be so powerful that it causes us to fail, to leave the practice and return to the “worldly life”. In such a case we tend not to blame our karma of negligence of our practice, but rather tend to blame others, the BK organization or family etc. This is a failure to accept and to see that we are responsible for what has happened.
However, our Dadis help us at every step and do whatever they can to re-empower us with drishti, donation of yoga, powerful classes, personal conversations, and many forms of sustenance that bring us back on track. This is the love of the family elders.
The Yagya is an intricate machine created by Shiva Baba through the medium of Brahma as an instrument whereby a BK can create a positive account of karma with God. Ordinarily a soul has karma with other souls and with matter. Through the means of religion a soul creates in indirect karmic account with God. The Yagya is a means whereby a BK can create a direct karmic account with God. This intensifies the possibility of powerful remembrance, tapasya and service. It creates such a powerful accumulation of positive karma for the soul that there is extreme benefit. Those who understand this clinch a “deal” with Baba. Shiva Baba describes this as “you give one, and God gives you hundreds of thousands in return”. A very important part of the study and practice of Raja Yoga is to figure out this deal and take best advantage. Not everyone will do this. Some will get it wrong and get into a negative or less positive account with God. As a result they become distanced from God and they experience lack of Yoga.
God’s srimat is:
- As much as possible remain in My Remembrance
- As much as possible do everything in my remembrance
- As much as possible keep Me with you
- Refer to me
- Take my help
- Follow the example of Brahma Baba
- Think about what he would have done and do likewise
In this way a BK intensifies their karmic connection with Shiva Baba. He says do not defame me, do not do any karma which would spoil the reputation of the Father. If we err in this way, we would go into a negative account and this would put us into loss. Then we would experience some mental or physical distance from the Yagya. To come close again we have to do very strong practice of meditation. Sometimes the problem is that due to ego or attachment we blame the Yagya for our own karmic accounts with someone, with the body or some other thing. Then we have to overcome that ego, attachment or other negative emotion that is prompting our negative thinking and acting, and which is pulling us away from positive relationship with the Yagya.
In the final analysis, we are responsible for what happens to us. Even so, it is essential to accumulate the power to face and accept it. As much as we accumulate inner power so much are we able to accept the laws of karma, face the consequences of our own karma and move forward.