The Concept of Karma in Hinduism, Sri Sri Ravishankar of Art of Living explaining about the concept of Karma in his own words.
Now Karma means what? You have heard so much about Karma. The real meaning of is Karma is Action. Action can be classified into three: The past, present and future.
The past actions are impressions, the future actions are also impressions and present actions is Karma which is giving you result now. Are you getting what I am saying?
So Karma means the impression of the past, which will draw similar situations in the future and that is the future Karma. And present action what you are doing is creating an impression in your mind and that is again called Karma.
If you take up the book, Intimate Note to a Sincere Seeker, the very first knowledge sheet I made was on Karma. How there are certain Karmas which we can change, certain impressions which you cannot change and which you have to experience.
I will give you a simple example. How many of you have the habit of drinking coffee first thing in the morning? How many of you get a headache when you don’t drink coffee? (Many raise their hands)
See, this is coffee Karma.
Because you have been drinking coffee, it has made certain impressions in the consciousness, and if one day you don’t drink coffee, you get a headache. That is coffee Karma.
So there are two ways out of this. One is you drink coffee and get rid of the headache. Or, you resist it. You say, ‘It is okay if it is paining, let it pain’, and you move through it. So for two or three days it may pain and then it will stop paining, because Karmas are always time bound.
Suppose you have Karma of an accident. It is only time bound. If you pass the time, then that action will go away. Like you have a headache from not drinking coffee in the morning, it pains for a few hours, then you drink water, you eat and you do something else and the headache vanishes. Do you get it? This is the perfect example we can use to talk about Karma.
Similarly in life, a particular time in the year you feel very restless, or anything you do, you are not happy. A particular time you feel very happy, whatever you are doing. Hasn’t this happened to you? If you observe, in a year’s cycle, maybe in February, or December or January, somewhere, in some time cycle, a particular week, or a month, or a fortnight, you feel down. And then you feel very high in a particular cycle, because mind, time and Karma, they are all connected.
So what to do at that time? They say, just knowing this itself will take you above it.
‘Oh, this is February, this month every year it has been happening to me. Anyway, let me pass over it. Let me do more meditation, satsangs and singing.’
Doing yoga, sitting in knowledge discussions, all this will change this energy. This is all above time and that is why Sadhana – which is called the real wealth – takes you above the space, time and Karma complex. That is why with Sadhana, Karma can be reduced, ill effects of time will be nullified and your spirit can be uplifted. That is why it is called Sadhana.
But the thing is that you don’t want to do it at that time! It is when you really need it that you don’t want to do it. It is so complicated.
It is like, someone is sick and that is when they don’t want to take medicine. Someone is feeling so cold and you are telling them, ‘Come on, this is a very good woolen jacket.’ And they say, ‘No, I don’t want to wear it, I am cold.’ Then what can you tell them?!
This is exactly how it is. When you really need it, our mind will resist. So our mind is our best friend and worst enemy. You don’t have any enemy outside, it is just here. So make good friend with your own mind, and that is what we are doing here, polishing it.