Karma, The Natural Law, Part 1

Description: Memory patterns are extremely magnetic. This magnet is our memory and it includes our karmas. Carry karma cheerfully but seek not to add to it. We ourselves are the cause of all that happens. Every joy and every sorrow, can be traced to some source within us. Principles for effective karma management: Forego retaliation, accept responsibility and forgive the offender. A second way to face karma is in deep sleep and meditation. 

Text of talk:

Good morning everyone. 

Today we get to start a new lesson in “Merging with Siva,” Chapter 36, entitled: “Karma, the Natural Law” drawn from The Master Course” 1967 edition and from upadeshas on karma yoga given in the 1970’s and in the ninties and the last four paragraphs of Saturday are drawn from talks Gurudeva gave during Innersearch Northern Europe, 2001. Quite a compilation, so different time periods. 

Lesson 246:

“The Law of Cause and Effect. 

Memory patterns are extremely magnetic. They cause us to have experiences of the type that make us wonder, ‘Why should that have ever happened to me? What did I do to attract this? What did I do to cause that? I don’t deserve this happening to me.’…”

That’s an interesting description, “extremely magnetic”. “Memory patterns are extremely magnetic.” One way I use that idea in my talks are, imagine you have a big magnet, right?, in your solar plexus. And that’s what’s attracting the experiences to you. So you are attracting the experiences to you and Gurudeva is explaining this magnet is our memories. Also includes our karmas. 

“…The vibrations that cause these experiences were put into effect in this or a past life. Pranic forces deep within imprint memory patterns of these actions we put into motion, causing us to face the reactions of them in this life. We face those reactions collectively through other people and through our own action. We are impelled to do certain things. Why? We call it karma. Karma means cause and effect. We throw a boomerang. It travels out into the air, turns around and comes back to us with equal force. In a similar way, our actions and even our thoughts set up patterns of reaction that return to us with equal force. This is the natural law of karma. Every action, every effect, in the universe has been preceded by a specific cause or set of causes. That cause is in itself an effect of prior causes. The law of karma is the law of cause and effect, or action and reaction. 

“When we cause a traumatic disruption within ourselves or within others, the action is imprinted in the memory patterns of the muladhara chakra. The seed has been planted and will remain vibrating in the depths of the mind even though consciously forgotten. We carry it over from life to life, from birth to birth until one day it blossoms into the fruit of our action—which is reaction. 

“The reason patterns of the svadhishthana chakra, just above memory, do not understand these expressions at all, because that chakra functions at a different rate of vibration. So, only after the event has occurred, or the impulses have come, can we reason them out rationally. Since we have forgotten our past life and only are left with the pranic reverberations deep in the memory cells, we don’t know the causes. In fact, there seems to be no cause for many of the things that happen to us in life, no reason or justification. This can be frustrating. However, that is karma, and it is generally written off by saying, ‘That’s karma.’ It is an effect to a previous cause. 

“The best attitude to hold when you first recognize the existence of karma is to realize that, true, it is a joy or a burden, and to stand straight, carrying that joy or that burden well balanced, seeking at all times not to add to it…”

So that’s a very important point. And of course we add to it by reacting to the reaction and then acting on the reaction to the action; we do something unwise. And that creates a new karma. So at all times not to add to it. 

“…Carry your karma cheerfully. Then begin the tedious task of unwinding these multitudinous patterns through performing daily sadhana. Each next step will become quite obvious to you as you begin to find that you are the writer of your own destiny, the master of your ship through life, and the freedom of your soul is but yours to claim through your accomplishments of your yoga.”

And Lesson 247:

“How We Face Our Karma. 

“How can we work out karma? There are thousands of things vibrating in the muladhara chakra, and from those memory patterns they are going to bounce up into view one after another, especially if we gain more prana by breathing and eating correctly. When meditation begins, more karma is released from the first chakra. Our individual karma is intensified as the ingrained memory patterns that were established long ago accumulate and are faced, one after another, after another, after another. In our first four or five years of striving on the path we face the karmic patterns that we would never have faced in this life had we not consciously sought enlightenment. Experiences come faster, closer together. So much happens in the short span of a few months or even a few days, catalyzed by the new energies released in meditation and by our efforts to purify mind and body, it might have taken us two or three lifetimes to face them all. They would not have come up before then, because nothing would have stimulated them. 

“First, we must know fully that we ourselves are the cause of all that happens. As long as we externalize the source of our successes and failures, we perpetuate the cycles of karma, good or bad. As long as we blame others for our problems or curse the seeming injustices of life, we will not find within ourselves the understanding of karmic laws that will transmute our unresolved patterns. We must realize that every moment in our life, every joy and every sorrow, can be traced to some source within us. There is no one ‘out there’ making it all happen. We make it happen or not happen according to the actions we perform, the attitudes we hold and the thoughts we think. Therefore, by gaining conscious control of our thoughts and attitudes by right action, we can control the flow of karma. Karma, then, is our best spiritual teacher. We spiritually learn and grow as our actions return to us to be resolved and dissolved.”

All of that reminded me of our “Insight Section” that we printed in “Hinduism Today” a number of years ago. 

“Ten Principles for Effective Karma Management.” 

So I thought I’d read the first three which relate to all of the text that Gurudeva just gave us. So, the first principle–if we don’t do this, nothing else works. 

So: “Forego Retaliation

“First principle: There is no need for you to be the instrument to return a karmic reaction to someone else. For example, an individual is really nasty to you, so you feel the impulse to retaliate and be nasty to him. If you follow that tack, you will create a new unseemly karma to face in the future. Better to let the law of karma take its own course without your intervention, which will generally happen through some other person with less self-control who does not understand this law of life. Let us take another example: a classic cowboy movie plot. Someone shoots and kills the hero’s brother during a robbery, and the rest of the film is devoted to his chasing down the outlaw and shooting him in revenge. What, then, happens in the next life, the sequel? 

“There is definitely a karma to be faced in killing for revenge. Perhaps another robbery will take place and the hero will be killed. Wisdom tells us that it is better to let the sheriff apprehend the outlaw and bring him to justice. The sheriff has taken an oath and is authorized to uphold the law and therefore creates no negative karma in capturing the outlaw, even if he has no choice but to kill him in the process.”

And then each of these ten principles ends with a quote from Gurudeva and a quote from “The Tirukural”. 

Gurudeva: “Retaliation is a terrible, negative force. When we tal… When” Try again. 

Gurudeva said: “Retaliation is a terrible, negative force. When we retaliate against others, we build up a bank account of negative karma that will come back on us full force when we least expect it.” 

Doesn’t sound good. 

Tirukural: “Forget anger toward all who have offended you, for it gives rise to teeming troubles.”

And our “Second principle:

“Accept Responsibility.”

So if we manage to live by the first principla and don’t retaliate, then, it’s likely that we accept responsibility, the second principle. But we can’t do that if we’re busy retaliating. 

“Karma generally manifests through other people, and thus it is easy to see the other person as totally responsible for what happens to us. For example, you are attacked by a mugger who strikes you and steals your valuables. You are quite upset with the malicious thief. However, the mystical perspective is to see yourself as responsible for whatever happens to you. You are, through your actions in the past, the creator of all that you experience in the present. You caused your loss; the thief is just the instrument for returning your karma to you.

“Of course, it is easy to apply this principle when the effect is an enjoyable one. We know intuitively when good things…we know intuitively when we get good things that we deserve them and not so easy to apply it when it is not enjoyable, but in both cases we are equally responsible. In the end, you have no one to praise but yourself when your life is filled with successes and no one to blame but yourself when your life is filled with difficulties.”

Then we get Gurudeva’s quote: 

“As long as we externalize the source of our successes and failures, we perpetuate the cycles of karma, good or bad. There is no one out there making it all happen. Our actions, thoughts and attitudes make it all happen. We must accept and bear our karma cheerfully.”

Then we get “The Tirukural”:

“Why should those who rejoice when destiny brings them good (Destiny means karma in this sense.) Why should those who rejoice when destiny brings them good moan when that same destiny decrees misfortune?”

And our third and last principle for today.

“Forgive the Offender

“Take as an example a teenage boy on the way home from school. One day a gang of boys teases him for being different in some way and beats him up. A common response is for the teenager to feel angry at the boys and harbor ill feelings toward them for years. This is problematic, however, as it keeps the lower emotions of anger constantly churning in his subconscious mind. Unless he forgives them, he perpetuates the event in his own mind, long after it is over.

“Gurudeva often told the story of when a man attacked Swami Sivananda, hitting him forcefully in the head with an axe during evening satsang at his Rishikesh ashram. Swamiji’s followers were outraged and angrily subdued the man. But Swami Sivananda responded with the opposite sentiment. He asked that the man not be punished or turned over to the police. The next day he met with his attacker and gave him a train ticket home, several spiritual books and money. Swami said, ‘Thank you so much for being the instrument to bring this karma back to me. Now I am free of it.’

(So, that’s pretty good when we can thank the person who brings our karma back to us.) He felt no anger toward the man whatsoever.”

So all of that story is considered Gurudeva’s quote. 

“Tirukural” quote: 

“If you return kindness for injuries received and forget both, those who harmed you will be punished by their own shame.”

So, if you haven’t heard that one before, that one may not be self evident: “…those who harmed you will be punished by their own shame.” 

The idea is you’re responding in a very high-minded way. And they were in a very low-minded state when they did what they did. And because you’re being high-minded they realized there’s a better way to do things so that you’re punishing them by their own shame that they did something of a low-minded nature. 

And back to the text of the “Merging with Siva” chapter. This one’s really interesting. 

“The second way to face karma is in deep sleep and meditation. Seeds of karma that have not even expressed themselves can be traced in deep meditation by one who has many years of experience in the within. Having pinpointed the unmanifested karmic seed, the jnani can either dissolve it in intense light or inwardly live through the reaction of the 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.”

Thank you very much. Have a wonderful day. 

[End of transcript.]

File Type: mp3
Categories: Bodhinatha Talks
Author: Satguru Bodhinatha Veylanswami
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