What is Karma? The Rebirth Cycle
The Law of Causality
Karma, or Karman in Sanskrit, means “action” and is one of the essential points in yoga. It is also called the law of causality or the law of cause and effect.
Indeed, according to the beliefs of some religions: Hindu and Buddhist, the bad actions of the past are the source of our misfortunes today. Karma would thus be the reflection of our previous actions that manifests itself in our present life, a notion designating the cycle of causes and consequences, linked to the existence of sentient beings.
It is a universal law that could be summarized as: “you reap what you sow”.
- The fundamental principle of Karma
- Karma in the cycle of rebirths
- Collective Karma
- Karma Yoga
- The 12 laws of Karma
- To go further
Karma is a very complex and subtle subject, and it is said that only a fully awakened person can understand Karma in its entirety.
The first thing to remember is that it is not a notion of fatalism or a curse. Karma does not mean that we cannot change the course of things.
Some ignorant people say: “Karma does everything”, “everything is destined”. If I am predestined by my Karma to be this or that, why should I make any effort, it is my destiny, that’s all. This is fatalism, and leads to inertia, stagnation and misery. This is a completely false conception of the law of Karma. You have made your destiny from within yourself through your thoughts and actions. – The power of thought, Swami Sivananda
The fundamental principle of Karma
The Sanskrit word Karma means “action. We refer to the acts whether they are physical, verbal or mental.
There is a key point to understand about Karma: every action is preceded by an intention. The quality of the action will thus depend on the quality of the intention, its motivation. If the action is motivated by a pure, positive and benevolent intentionit will generate a positive positive result or effect or beneficial. Conversely, if theThe intention is maliciousthe action will be malicious and will lead to the causes of suffering.
Vincent proposes an analogy to illustrate this concept: the garden analogy. Let’s imagine that the garden is the spirit, the consciousness. In this garden, we sow seeds that will be our actions, the causes. If you sow seeds of happiness, you will reap happiness. By sowing ill-intentioned and malicious seeds, one will reap malice. Hence the expression “You reap what you sow”. .
All our experiences through this life or other lives are the effects of the causes of our previous actions. Where there is a cause, there is always an effect. In the effect can germinate other causes which will generate other effects. It is a endless chain until liberation, the state of Samadhi.
To make the link with the Kleshas which are the causes of suffering the root of all suffering is ignorance of the true nature of reality (Avidya). From this ignorance are born the disturbing emotions that are attachments, desires, aversion, anger, fear. These disturbing emotions generate our karmic actions.
Hence the interest of this work of liberation which consists in to realize the true nature of realityin order to to free oneself from these patterns. Sometimes we are surprised to see the same patterns appear throughout our lives without understanding why. It is necessary to take the step back necessary to change something through our actions, intentions or thoughts to break this pattern and break this pattern and generate other more positive more positive effects.
Karma in the cycle of rebirths
In yoga or in Buddhism and Hinduism, we speak of Karma through the cycle of existence, the cycle of rebirths, the cycle of reincarnations or the Samsara .
There are two possibilities. We can apply the notion of Karma to our life only if we do not believe in reincarnations, acting today for tomorrow. If we believe in reincarnations, we can apply this concept through our different lives. In this notion, we can also, depending on our actions, be reincarnated in an animal body in the next life. If we start from a principle of continuumWe have probably been several animals before. Whatever your belief, it is important not to impose your belief on others and it is up to each person to do his own experience.
We all have a stock of beliefs that are mostly lodged in the the unconscious. Everyone is free to believe what they want. Science is what is believed today in the West, but it has not proven that life exists after death, but it has not proven the contrary either.
For those who believe that there is a whole cycle of existences, Karma becomes more complex, because one can act today and thus provoke causes whose effects will take place in the next lives, and not necessarily in theand not necessarily in the next life.
So far we have only talked about individual Karma. But there is also a collective Karma. Sadhguru, an Indian nguru, tells us that there is a collective karmic memory, shared by families, communities, nations and even the whole of humanity!
For the moment we have only talked about individual Karma, but collective karma also exists. This can exist at the level of a country, at the level of family Karma, etc. All collective Karma is intertwined with individual Karma.
According to Sadhguru, an Indian guru, there is a collective karmic memory , shared by families, communities, nations and even the whole of humanity! We all share a common karmic memory: Even if we have not done anything as individuals, our society has done certain things, and this has consequences on our own lives! To illustrate his point, he gives the example of pollution: I did not cause it, but I will still breathe in poison.
Karma is not a system of reward or punishment: it is just the basis of life according to Sadhguru! Because without memory, life cannot reproduce itself: Karma is the memory of life.
Karma-Yoga is a Sanskrit term meaning the “yoga of action”, the practice of Karma-Yoga is combined with that of Bhakti-Yoga. Its objective is to achieve liberation: physical, mental and emotional well-being through the practice of conscious action. To do this, certain principles must be put into practice:
- We must constantly strive for perfection in everything we do: to do our best according to our abilities and skills.
- Knowing how to detach yourself from the results of your actions You should not have expectations only regarding your personal profit (ego…) nor anguish or fear regarding the result of your actions.
- Knowing how to stay focused on the action in progress This is the permanent awareness that concerns both the object (we stay focused on what we are doing immediately) and the subject (we exclude all thoughts that are not related to our actions).
The 12 laws of Karma
Bringing the notion of Karma back into our daily lives
It is good to know these concepts, even if they, at our level of consciousness exceed our intellect. What counts is to to bring these notions into our daily livesin order to act in the present moment at our level of evolution. It is thus of to free ourselves from our sufferings and be in a state of joy.
Man forges his own destiny through his thoughts and actions. He can change his destiny, he is the master of his destiny, no doubt about it. With the right thoughts and a lot of effort, he can become the Master. – The power of thought, Swami Sivananda
The power of thought changes destiny. Man sows a thought, reaps an action. He sows an action and reaps a habit. He sows a habit and reaps a character. He sows a character and reaps a destiny. – The power of thought, Swami Sivananda
LISTEN TO THE PODCAST EPISODE
If you want to have the opinion of an expert: Yogom proposes you a return on the 17th live “Light on the Philosophy of Yoga”. Vincent Giraudon, where he talks about Karma and the cycle of rebirths.
WHO IS VINCENT ?
After a trip around the world that brought him to India, Vincent discovered yoga and meditation. Through his many trips and retreats, Vincent has gained knowledge of different cultures. Since then Vincent has been a yoga teacher in Auvergne and continues to train regularly.
You want to be up to date in terms of yoga? Do you want to know the answers to your questions? To go further, Yogom proposes you to discover the History of yoga through sacred texts such as the Yoga Sutra of Patanjali , Bhagavad-Gita , The Vedas . Discover also the 8 members of Raja Yoga as well as discoveries about yoga with the Hatha Yoga Project.
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