Karma - "the Wheel of Eternal Returning" and Karma Yoga
The Sanskrit word “karma” means “action.” Every action or thought brings about a reaction. In the yoga Tradition, karma has a much deeper meaning, related to the Western idea of Destiny or Fate. From this perspective, karma is the accumulation of our past actions. The character of a man, his moral or mental status, his “talents”, his “likes” and “dislikes”, are all determined by his samskara-s (subconscious imprints), which are the product of his karma (past actions). These samskaras transmigrate from incarnation to incarnation, and are never lost.
If you understand the Law of Karma, you will realize that there is no destiny besides the human will. Everybody gets exactly what he/she deserves. This is a Cosmic and Inflexible Law. There is a perfect justice, even when our limited human understanding “sees” an “injustice”. The human beings build their own destiny through their actions, thoughts and intentions.
Remember, God or other Superior Cosmic Entities never punish a creature for being “bad” and never reward for being “good”. In the light of this Law, man sows seeds (actions) that will sprout later.
Counteracting latent karma-s - “changing the destiny”.
Generally speaking, the ordinary human being passively and unconsciously suffers the consequences of his karma (actions). In this state of consciousness, he/she unconsciously generates other karma (actions), which trigger correspondent reactions, and so on. Apparently, this vicious circle has no end.
The yoga Tradition states clearly that the human being has the power and right to change his destiny and find an exit from this vicious circle. This is called “escaping the wheel of reincarnation”.
The main purpose of the Law of karma is learning. If, through understanding and consciously changing your life, you learn a lesson, the karma that was supposed to teach you that particular lesson through suffering, is automatically burned.Burning karma is essential for our enlightenment. Remember that karma is the main cause of our existence in this world.
Good or bad karma is equally undesirable for he who yearns for liberation, because it chains the human being to the ‘Wheel of Eternal Returning’. The advanced yogi yearns to eliminate any kind of karma.
Only in this way will he be totally free of any links with the inferior levels of consciousness, being able to merge continuously into the Eternal Bliss of the Supreme Consciousness. From then on, all his Actions will be free of any karma-ic charge.
Karma yoga is one of the four classical yoga’s and is expounded in Bhagavad-Gita, a traditional text of Wisdom. The other three are Jnana yoga, Bhakti yoga and Raja yoga. Karma Yoga is a way in which the human being can avoid the wheel of karma (not create any karmic chains).
It is the yoga of spontaneous, complete and continuous communion with the Supreme Divine Consciousness through detached and consecrated action. Detachment means non-ego involvement (freedom from the bonds of desire). Therefore karma yoga requires non-ego involvement in action. In this way everything we do becomes a meditation and attunement to the Cosmic Harmony.
A karma yogin, after he has rid himself of all his desires, must choose a positive, good and uplifting activity that he feels (in that desireless state) comes naturally to him, even if contrary to the expectation of others.
Then the work becomes a vehicle that leads to one-pointedness of mind. Dharma means those actions that are in accordance with one’s mental and physical makeup. It is by doing one’s dharma in conjunction with karma yoga that one can experience higher states of awareness.
Karma Yoga teaches us that we must never consider ourselves as being the authors of our actions.
We must keep in mind that God is the one who acts through us. Therefore, before starting an action (this detail is essential!!) we must consecrate the fruits to God.
Consecration means offering the fruits of an action to God in a state of humbleness, it means acting for the love of God. This inner attitude of consecration implies a profound respect and attention for the action that is being performed, and a perfect detachment from its fruit. In this way you open yourself toward the cosmic harmony and allow the Current of the Eternal Consciousness to perform these actions through you, while you assume the role of a relay, which is conveying the corresponding action.
The science of karma yoga makes a clear distinction between:
(a) The Intent of an action (the state of mind at the time of action)
(b) The action itself
(c) The fruits of the action
Out of these three elements, only the intent creates karma (enchains us to the Wheel of Birth and Death). To avoid this, the intent has to be consecrated to God.
Consecration of actions
When you decide to offer an action and its fruits to God, it is of paramount importance that you do that before the action starts. Consecrate the fruits of the action to God in total sincerity, without holding back anything. When you offer the fruits to God, you agree that the results of the action, which were supposed to come to you, are offered to God and you willingly give them up.
The moment of offering is immediately followed by an extraordinary state of communion, of openness, of charging with a divine flux of ecstatic energy, which always manifests in our being from top to bottom (from the center above the head, down to the root center).
You then feel this fluid entering the crown of the skull and penetrating your being, bathing you in a radiance of divine influence. This state is the sign that God has received your offer and that you can go ahead and start the action, being sure that now God is acting through you, inspiring and guiding you all the way.
Therefore, consecration has two parts:
1. Offering the fruits to God.
2. Perceiving in a state of complete mental silence the answer that God sends us, and which means He has accepted our offer.
This answer can be very soft and barely sensed, it can manifest as an overwhelming state of expanded awareness, or any degree in between. The main thing here is to perceive a state of uplifting, a descent of grace. After a short time, this state fades away, but what is important is that it came upon you.
Note: It is impossible not to feel the answer if God truly answers. If we are really sincere and open in our offering, God always has means to make us perceive His answer.
You can, for example, use the following formula before starting an action:
“I conceive in intent the following action (... state what it is...) as an offering to the Supreme Consciousness (God). God, supreme Father, I am unconditionally offering you the fruits of this action, please make me understand and perceive if you want to receive my offering.”
Then wait a few minutes in silent introspection for the answer.
Helping others in the light of karma yoga teachings
Karma yoga introduces the formula:
“LEARNING THROUGH DETACHED AND CONSECRATED HELP GIVEN TO OTHERS”
Keep these ideas in mind:
- The only truly valuable help is that through which a human being receives the teaching of how to help him/her self.
- For being able to give, you must first have. Ask God to give you what you need to help others.
- When you help or teach others, take some time before the action, introspect and consecrate your action to God and let Him help that person through you.
Be aware that you cannot help or teach anybody without substantial help from God. Therefore, in all humbleness (lack of arrogance) offer yourself as a relay through which God’s help can reach that person, and “get out of the way”.
If the consecration is correctly performed, the inner state of consciousness which then appears in your being is tremendously powerful. This state of consciousness changes you and the person you want to help, and is at the same time a glorious proof of the existence of God and His ways.