1. What is karma?
Karma (Sk.). Physically, action: metaphysically, the LAW OF RETRIBUTION, the Law of cause and effect or Ethical Causation. Nemesis, only in one sense, that of bad Karma. It is the eleventh Nidana in the concatenation of causes and effects in orthodox Buddhism ; yet it is the power that controls all things, the resultant of moral action, the meta physical Samskâra, or the moral effect of an act committed for thev attainment of something which gratifies a personal desire. There is the Karma of merit and the Karma of demerit. Karma neither punishes nor rewards, it is simply the one Universal LAW which guides unerringly, and, so to say, blindly, all other laws productive of certain effects along the grooves of their respective causations. When Buddhism teaches that “Karma is that moral kernel (of any being) which alone survives death and continues in transmigration ‘ or reincarnation, it simply means that there remains nought after each Personality but the causes produced by it ; causes which are undying, i.e., which cannot be eliminated from the Universe until replaced by their legitimate effects, and wiped out by them, so to speak, and such causes—unless compensated during the life of the person who produced them with adequate effects, will follow the reincarnated Ego, and reach it in its subsequent reincarnation until a harmony between effects and causes is fully reestablished. No “personality”—a mere bundle of material atoms and of instinctual and mental characteristics—can of course continue, as such, in the world of pure Spirit. Only that which is immortal in its very nature and divine in its essence, namely, the Ego, can exist for ever. And as it is that Ego which chooses the personality it will inform, after each Devachan, and which receives through these personalities the effects of the Karmic causes produced, it is therefore the Ego, that self which is the “moral kernel” referred to and embodied karma, “which alone survives death.” (The Theosophical Glossary, H.P.Blavatsky)
“…karma is a concept with many meanings, as well as a special term for each of its aspects. As a Cosmic Principle karma is eternal action which generates the World of causes and effects in full conformity and co-measurement. But karma can be called Highest Harmony, for it is not only the action, but fitting in the consequences of this action, and such fitting in is a search for perfecting or harmony in all aspects. Evolution is possible only on manifestation of the law of karma. When karma is manifested on the plan of the human appearance, it becomes the law of “Ethical Causality” or a consequence of an action committed with a selfish goal and which has violated the law of harmony.” (Helena Roerich letter to V.Dutko, 17.06.46)
2.Types of karma.
According to Blavatsy, in Hinduism there are three divisions of karma:
- Sanchita – accumulated past karma, “Karmic account” or “Karmic reservoir,” the storehouse of a person’s Karma from past lives that has not yet been dealt with.
- Prarabdha – a specific portion of that Sanchita Karma which the person is destined to face and experience in the present lifetime.
- Kriyamana (or Agami) – is the fresh Karma we are creating for ourselves right here and right now, as we live this present lifetime. It becomes added to our Sanchita Karma and will manifest itself as our Prarabdha Karma in future lifetimes.
There is also:
- personal karma
- family karma
- community karma
- karma of a country
- karma of the planet
- karma of the universe
Illumination, VII, 5. Now about dates.
The law of karma and the law of dates are like the double-faced Janus—one gives birth to the other. Karma bears the fruit of actions and calls forth the date of manifestation.
Take note that personal karma, group karma, and cosmic karma must be combined—then will the date be correct. Often the development of a personal karma draws after it the group karma. Some spirits are ruled entirely by karma, which means that the knowledge of the spirit is at a minimum and karma is the sole possibility of evolution.
Supermundane II, 304. Urusvati knows how karma affects each nation. Some countries appear to be under a kind of curse. The history of these countries can offer a partial explanation, but there may be other causes that were not recorded on the pages of history.
There are many combinations of personal, family, and national karma. One may ask if it is possible that an injustice committed against one person could affect a whole country. Indeed, it can, especially since many who are involved with one another reincarnate in the same country. Such conditions increase the responsibility of mankind. People acknowledge that physical characteristics are transmitted through the generations; it is regrettable that they are not aware that karmic traits can also be transmitted.
Urusvati is right in thinking that it is desirable to be reincarnated into different ethnic groups. This idea must be assimilated so that people will not attempt to cling to their own kind while in the Subtle World and deprive themselves of new tests and experiences.
Communication in the Subtle World is mental, and there is no need for different languages. It is wonderful to be able to think in one’s own language and at the same time be understood by those from other countries. There is no need to impress thoughts on others; on the contrary, the more natural the flow of thoughts, the more easily they are understood. Such communication is supermundane, but it must be realized here upon Earth so that the adjustment to the Subtle World will be less difficult.
During ordinary sleep one’s psychic energy is strengthened by earthly currents, yet when passing into the Subtle World the consciousness may be interrupted. Thus it is advisable to assimilate certain ideas while still in the physical body. Upon transition, most people fall into a deep sleep and, while in this condition, lose their memory of many things. The accumulations remain sealed in the Chalice, and often the assistance of another person from outside is needed for removal of these seals. I am not speaking of those who pass into the Subtle World in full consciousness. In order not to lose consciousness, the most important thing is to remember and strengthen throughout one’s life the decision to maintain consciousness during the transition. This consciousness is the treasure which we carry along with us.
In the Subtle World, those who have lost consciousness cannot be seen by Us, for they are covered by an impenetrable substance. They can be seen at the moment of awakening, but their sleep should not be disturbed prematurely.
The Thinker was concerned about the preservation of consciousness. Prompted by his inner awareness, He often repeated, “I will not lose my consciousness.” Certainly, consciousness is needed in the Supermundane. The consciousness loses its earthly aspect, and can be transformed into spiritual knowledge. The clearer the earthly consciousness, the quicker the awakening of the spirit. While on Earth we can only sense the laws of karma, but in a state of spiritual awareness we can truly understand the combined forces of karma.
You may ask why people are not taught to understand the higher laws while in the Subtle World, but do many strive to learn while in the earthly schools?
The Thinker loved the Hermetic saying, “As above, so below.”
3. How to outlive karma?
“You may ask – how to outlive karma? The answer to this has been given by the Lord Buddha – karma can be outlived only by perfectionment of all the elements involved in the structure of our being. Karma is made up of our thoughts, motives, words and deeds. Thought is a major factor in the creation of karma, and so it is important to work on the expansion of consciousness. Thought is the engine of the world. The Living Ethics Teaching says that karma cannot cause trouble to a harmonious being.” (H.Roerich letter to S.Fosdick and D.Fosdick, 06.28.48)
“The saying of Christ states that “not a single hair will fall without your Father’s Will”. It is an affirmation of the great law of Karma, but manifested so for an easier perception by populace. But we know that our thought, will or energy can change karma, if it was otherwise, we would never have come out of this vicious circle.”(H.Roerich letter to V.Dutko, 12.12.44)
“In vain you think that we cannot change the karma of our family members because karma is made in united effort. That is why there are many karmas: karma of the humanity, karma of a nation, group karma, family karma and personal karma. Our every thought, every action of our lives either burdens or facilitates karma of the people associated with us. That is why no one can say that he cannot change the karma of his neighbor, not to mention of more closely related individuals. Individual karma is largely composed of the influences that this individual was surrounded by as a child and with which he came across later in live. The greatest relief and good that parents can give their children is to provide them all the facilities for a successful life struggle and give them an understanding of purpose or meaning of life being passed. (H.Roerich to S.Rudzinsky, 8.12.38)
“”Karma will overtake one, but its quality may be altered by a voluntary sacrifice to unknown people.” Imagine that someone caused suffering to his dear one and repented of his conduct when that dear one had already passed into the other world. Not being able to expiate his guilt or atone to the wronged one, he can nevertheless actually improve his karma by a voluntary sacrifice to other people, and, as it has been said, “to unknown people.” True, karma will sometime overtake him and bring him face to face with his victim, but the redemption will be of a higher quality, because his whole being will have been elevated by the voluntary sacrifice.” (H.Roerich to N.Serafinina, 08.06.36)
“Why does it seem to you unfair that “man can speed up his karma and then it will not overtake him”? It seems to me to be quite the contrary, since were it otherwise we would never be able to emerge from this magic circle. And now you may ask, “How can man speed up his karma?” I will answer, “By improving his thoughts and motives.” It has been mentioned many times in the Teaching that precisely our motives and thoughts create our karma; deeds are secondary factors. Indeed, thoughts create our inner substance. Thoughts are accumulated as energies in our Chalice and aura, and if these energies are purified and refined, it is clear that they can harmonize with and attract only that which is equally pure; therefore, all that is wicked and base cannot affect us with its full force. Thus, if you meet a man to whom you did some harm in a past life, if your aura is sufficiently purified the actions of his evil energy will be unable to hurt you in full measure, even though he feels animosity toward you. And this malicious energy will then turn like a boomerang against himself. Therefore, the advice to purify, improve, and refine one’s thoughts and motives is so practical. The spirit carries within itself its own achievement and armor. The purification and fiery transfiguration of our inner being make us the lords of karma. Indeed, the consummation of karma on one planet comes when all the elements, or energies, that enter our essence are harmoniously unified in one striving and have reached the perfection preordained for that particular planet. (H.Roerich, 21.01.36)