The word karma can have different meanings depending upon the context in which it is used. It can mean action only, or only the reaction to an action. The word karma can also mean the combination of both, an action as well as the reaction to the action. Karma can also mean a chain of actions and reactions, and these individual karmic chains get interlinked and together form a network of karma or a karmic web within which souls get trapped and bound.
Depending on the thoughts behind the actions, karmas can either take you closer to God or further away from God. Karma Bhoga is action or actions that are based upon human desires, which are almost always contrary to the Divine Will and bind us to the objects of our desire. Karma Yoga is action or actions that are in keeping with the Divine Will and do not bind us to the results of our actions. So, every action can either take one closer to God or further away from God. For this reason, it is important to watch one’s thoughts and be mindful of the motivation behind the action.
The sacred texts of the SSG contain many Discourses on how one can grow spiritually through mindfulness and through Karma Yoga, which is based upon the Divine Plan for an individual. The SSG teaches that God has a plan for every aspect of creation. So instead of planning out one’s life, the SSG teaches that the Divine Plan already is and that we should fit into that aspect of the Plan which is meant specifically for us. When we pursue our own desires, we add to our personal karmic load and expand the web of karma. Thus, we increase our personal suffering and add to the suffering of creation of which we are a part.
The Wheel of Karma began when Lucifer chose to go his own way, because this is the point at which creation began to fall away from the Source of All Sources and diverged from the Divine Plan. Thus, the Wheel of Karma began even before spirit involved into matter. And ever since then, all of us who are pursuing our own dreams and desires are adding to and expanding the network of karma and increasing the magnitude of the Wheel of Karma.
Because thoughts are the source of actions, each thought that one dwells upon and remains attached to, leaves an impress on one’s soul unless one empties it from one’s consciousness while one is still physically alive. This is true whether or not one manifests the thought in words or actions. All the thoughts that we fill our human mind with, and which are not emptied out, eventually sink from the conscious plane of our human mind down to the subconscious and unconscious planes of the human mind. The unconscious plane of the human mind is the one that is closest to the mind of one’s soul. So, at the time of death, thoughts which are in the unconscious plane of the human mind sink into and leave an impress on the mind of one’s soul. These impressions on one’s soul are what are referred to as “Prarabdha Karmas” in Vedic terminology. So long as a soul has these Prarabdha Karmas impressed upon it, it will have to be born repeatedly in the plane of matter. Unfortunately, instead of taking the opportunity provided by life to empty out these Prarabdha Karmas, almost all human beings add to the burden of the soul by creating fresh karmas that get impressed upon the soul.
According to the Vedic belief system, a soul has to take birth 8.4 million times before it finally purges all the Prarabdha Karmas. However according to Dr. Dinshah K. Mehta, this figure of 8.4 million births is not a standard number for every soul. Some souls are able to empty themselves of the Prarabdha Karmas in fewer lifetimes, whereas other souls remain bound to matter and have to be born 8.4 million times multiplied by 8.4 million ad infinitum. So, reincarnation in human form is a great opportunity for souls to empty themselves of all the impresses on them and grow beyond the earth plane unto the spiritual planes and eventually become one with God. Much of this will depend on the state of evolution of the soul that incarnates into a human form.
The quality of the soul that incarnates into a human fetus, depends very much on the consciousness of the parents before, during, and after the time of physical union. The consciousness of the mother during the gestation period also affects the vibration of the fetus in the womb. Together, these factors determine the quality of the soul that gets linked up with the fetus developing within the mother to be and incarnates through the child. So, if at the time of copulation, the minds of the parents are focused on creating an opportunity for a higher soul to incarnate, then at the time of conception, it is more likely that a higher soul will be attracted to incarnate in that particular fetus. The SSG teaches that this is one of the reasons that the procreative instinct is a powerful tool that can be used to help create bodies of high vibrations through which souls that are at the point of getting liberated can incarnate and complete their journey of Life Eternal.
Reproduced below are two Scripts which reveal some of the mysteries of life.
THE SECRET OF LIFE
The secret of life is that there is no secret. It is however movement perpetual, movement from the infinite to definite and from definite to infinite. Further it is also movement from infinite to infinite and that movement is not conditioned ever. This is the highest state of movement in which condition does not exist. It is the state in which all that are and will be from all that has been ever and will be forever shall be and shall continue to be. This state of life is for none other than those who are free and have no condition of any nature to bind. But the life that is conditioned is the life that is created both in spiritual creation as well as material. Spiritual creations are free and yet bound down by the Spiritual laws, some more, some less, but all the same they are bound. Yet they are free in the sense that they are not conditioned to the extent that the material creation is conditioned. That which is *material creation is conditioned to the maximum limit and has no volition or freedom. It is this shackle that binds one down to a fairly perpetual state of rounds which, unless it is broken by conscious efforts or Grace, can never be snapped otherwise. It is for these bound down human beings that Masters are sent to show them the path of liberation and free them from the chains. Yet there are many who not only do not take that chance, but positively oppose the Masters who have been sent to save them from that suffering of rounds and suffering within rounds. For that purpose, the ground for another one has to be prepared soon by My servants.
(End of Script, received on December 13, 1955)
* In the above Script the words “material creation” refer to geological matter which is biologically lifeless but has spirit locked up within it.
To get some idea about the difference between spirit that is locked up in biologically lifeless matter and spirit linked to biological life forms kindly read the Script below titled “Ways of Worship”
WAYS OF WORSHIP
I create matter from Spirit that is Me and My Father. After that matter has evolved again to a certain stage, I permit a medium between matter and Spirit to manifest through it. That medium is life which is a reflection of Spirit in matter, but it is not pure Spirit. Further, in denser matter also, I allow at times manifestations of Spirit either in its native form or a form of life. Thus, even in matter as dense as stone, I permit either life or Spirit in one form or the other to manifest. This will explain the phenomenon of worship of an aspect of Me through matter. Actually, to a worshipper with devotion, I reveal Myself as Spirit associated with it but not that Spirit that is Me locked up in it. Therefore, those whose inner eye is not developed see in the matter only a dead substance with or without form with their physical eye. But in the same, to those who have the inner eye to see, I reveal the life and at times the Spirit. When these express what they see in such matter and through it, others who cannot see ridicule them and dub them insane. These are in the majority and hence one who sees the Reality has perforce to dissociate from them and lead a secluded life. This is one reason why those who begin to see with the inner eye like to remain aloof. There are other reasons also.
(End of Script, received on May 22, 1955)
It is the effort of the spirit that is locked up within matter to once again merge with the Source from which it emanated that is forcing matter to evolve. Spirit locked up in biologically lifeless matter is conditioned to the maximum extent and has no volition whatsoever. Spirit that is not locked up in matter but is linked to biological life forms has some freedom through the limited free-will of the biological lifeform.
The degree to which free-will is limited in a biological life form depends upon the evolution of the life form. Thus, on Earth, the principle of free-will in plants is circumscribed more than the free-will that is available to insects, birds, animals, fish and reptiles etc. The principle of free-will in life forms that are lower than human is circumscribed by two main instincts which are the instinct of self-preservation and the instinct of pro-creation. The free-will of human beings is not circumscribed by these instincts and so they are able to pursue their desires which are contrary to the Divine Plan. When human beings use their free-will to satisfy their desires for thoughts, things and people which are linked to matter, they get bound to matter.
* Note: for a detailed discussion of Karma, refer to the book by Bahram Shahmardaan entitled:
- Karma: Its Basis, Its Nature, Its Source
- How Karma Binds Us to the Cycles of Birth Life and Death
- How You Can Free Yourself From the Wheel of Karma