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Karma

Sant Kirpal Singh explains to us that Karmas have been classified by Saints into three distinct categories:

(i) Sanchit or the gathered and stored Karmas, going far back into incarnations running into the unknown past.

(ii) Pralabdha: Luck, fate or destiny, or that portion out of the Sanchit (store-house) which constitutes a person’s living present, which none can escape howsoever one may wish and try. This Karma is assigned to us for our current recarnation.

(iii) Kriyaman: The Karmas which one is free to perform as a free agent in his present earthly span or existence. We create it in our present life, because we have free will.

(i) Sanchit (the stored deeds): Good or bad deeds that stand to man’s credit as earned in all the previous existences in the order of creation, counting from the day of the first appearance of life on earth. Man knows nothing about them, or of their extent and their great potential power. King Dharitrashtra, the blind progenitor of the Kshatriya princes, the Kurvas of the Epic Age, when endowed by Lord Krishna with his yogic power, was able to trace the cause of his blindness to an act done in the unknown past, extending back to over 100 incarnations or embodiments. In Chapter 20:5 of the Book of Exodus, Moses, while giving the Ten Commandments of God, speaks of God as having commanded: "I the Lord thy God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation …" Even the medical science today affirms the significant part that heredity plays and traces the origin of certain diseases coming down from progenitors and appearing in succeeding generations. So does modem psychology connect problematic behaviors in certain individuals with mental peculiarities in their parents and ancestors.

(ii) Pralabdha: These are just that part of the Sanchit Karmas which constitute a person’s fate, destiny or luck; which determines one’s present existence on earth. A person has no control over them. The effect of these, good or ill, has be tolerated, as best one may – with smiles or with tears. The present life is just an unfoldment or revelation of the predestined Karmas with which one comes fully loaded into the world. It is, however, possible that one may so mould and develop his inner self, through the guidance of some Master-Soul, that he may not feel their bitter and poignant sting, just as the kernel in a ripe almond or walnut does not feel the prick of a needle by getting detached from the shell without, which as a consequence gets shrivelled and hardened, and serves henceforth as a protecting armor.
In this way, each one of us, willingly or unwillingly, wittingly or unwittingly, is forging chains for himself, no matter whether the same be of gold or of iron. Still chains are chains and they are equally efficacious in their application; to wit, to keep a person in perpetual bondage. Like a poor silk-worm imprisoned in its own cocoon or like a spider caught in its own web, or a bird in its nest, one remains bound in hoops of steel of his own making, with no way of escape there from. Thus the cycle of birth, death, and rebirth is ceaselessly set in motion. It is only when one transcends the body-consciousness and becomes Neh-Karma, i.e. actionless in action like the still point at the centre of the ever-revolving wheel of life, that a stop is put to the motion of the Giant Wheel of Karmas; for then one becomes a conscious co-worker of the Divine Plan. This is why Buddha, the prince among ascetics, emphatically said: "Be ye desireless" for desires are the root-cause of human sufferings as they motivate actions, right from subtle vibrations in the sub-conscious, to mental thinking in the conscious, leading to the vast and limitless harvest of variegated deeds of different hues and forms, springing from the imbalance of the mind. The spirit, sitting in the chariot of the body is thus driven blindly and head-long into the fields of sensual pleasures by the five powerful steeds of the senses, uncontrolled by the power-intoxicated charioteer of the mind (helplessly imbalanced as it is) with the reins of intellect dangling loosely about him. Self-discipline then is of prime importance and chastity in thought, word and deed, is the essential requisite that helps a person on the path of self-knowledge and God-knowledge, for ethical life is a stepping-stone to spirituality.

(iii) Kriyaman: It is the current account of one’s willful actions and deeds in the present existence. This type of Karma is quite distinct from the other two. In spite of the limitations imposed by Pralabdh or unchangeable destiny, each one is gifted with a free will and is free to sow what seeds he may. Endowed with the gift of discriminative faculty peculiar to his constitution alone, he can judge for himself what is right and what is wrong and as such it would be vainly presumptuous on his part if he were to expect a bed of roses when he sows thorns and thistles. It is up to him to make or mar his future, as be may. A Master-soul can give him a correct lead by putting before him the true values of life – life which is more than the bodily raiment and all that is connected therewith: the sense-dominated existence. Under His guidance, one develops an easy detachment from the world and worldly affairs and once the magic spell is broken, the blinkers fall off and the stark reality stares him squarely in the face, providing him with an opportunity to escape unscathed. Ordinarily, however, some of the Kriyaman Karmas bear fruit in this very life; while others – the unfructified ones – are transferred to the General Account of the Sanchit Karmas, which go on accumulating from age to age. Thus, it is given to each one to think ahead of time, and weigh well the consequences of the acts and deeds intended before taking an irretrievable step – a leap in the dark and a head-long plunge in a fit of impetuosity which is regretted forever and cannot be undone by blaming the stars for their supposed malignant influence. A railway engineer, for instance, is to plan beforehand the railway track, for once the lines are laid the train is to run on blindly. A little error in laying the lines, a loose fish-plate or a wrong angle may lead to calamitous results. Even when everything is done properly, one has to keep a constant and strict watch, day and night, lest anything get out of joint or the track is otherwise tampered with by hostile elements.

According to Nature’s law of life, a man (the embodied or incarnate soul) is like a precious jewel clothed in three caskets or bodies – the physical, the astral or mental, and the causal or the seed-body – all of which, more or less, partake of the terrestrial character, with varying degrees of density.

Kirpal Singh wrote several books on the subject of Karma, thoughts and mind.

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