My Dear, No Such Thing as Karma

This world of names and forms is mere imagination, so don’t take for real all the concepts they drill into you, such as karma, etc. Any number of changes may seem to be taking place at the level of names and forms. But, nothing at the level of its substance, viz., Consciousness. Any number of pots may be made, transformed or broken, but its substance Clay remains as ever unchanged. When nothing is happening at the level of substance, how can we speak meaningfully of karma? After all, karma means some action, and every action is meant to bring about the change of state in existing thing(s) or situations. Sure, karma seems to bring about changes at the level of body-mind, that is, name-and-form (nama-rupa) but since Consciousness is left unaffected, we cannot say any action has taken place at the level of substance or reality in the absence of any change. So, chuck karma out of the window, relax and let things keep happening at the level of body-mind as a matter of course but recognize that all that is an imagined reality which is not happening because body-mind themselves are not absolutely real but only mithya, just like a pot – apparent to the senses, but no reality beyond that.

4 Comments

  1. Hi Samarendar, thank you for maintaining this excellent blog. There is a lot of theory around sanchita karma and prarabdha karma in Hinduism. With how much conviction should one embrace these concepts? And how does one deal with a mind that has started to grow anxious over extrapolations from these theories, such as by thinking, “How much have I added to my prarabdha karma with my wrongdoings in this birth?” and so on.

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    1. Dear Sinduja,

      As long as you think you are the doer of your actions, karma attaches to you, and all the theories of karma come into play, including the so-called burden of adding to one’s prarabdha karma etc. The only way to escape karma and its effects is to realize that you are not the doer. I refer you to these blog posts of mine on the falsity of the “sense of doership” – https://self-realization.blog/2022/02/01/false-sense-of-doership/ ; https://self-realization.blog/2020/01/05/sense-of-doership/ ; https://self-realization.blog/2020/05/08/ramakrishna-paramahansa-on-the-sense-of-doership/ ; https://self-realization.blog/2018/10/09/ramana-maharshi-on-sense-of-doership-karma-and-karma-yoga/ ; https://self-realization.blog/2021/08/06/bhagavad-gita-on-the-sense-of-doership/

      Also, consider this logic: Are you the thinker of your thoughts? Clearly not because it’s not as if you are sitting in your mind and choosing the thoughts you think. Thoughts just pop into your head, and you keep thinking and feeling that you are the thinker of those thoughts, though clearly that is not the case. Thoughts are dependent on the whole of your biological past and past life experiences and knowledge that have made you into the person you are today, or more specifically, the way they have conditioned your mind to be the way it is in the present, AND the environmental cues and influences impinging on you in the present and interacting with your mind. It is this interaction between your mind conditioned by the past and the present environment in which it finds itself that determines what thoughts are produced in your mind, in which you as a person have no say. Thus, if you are not the thinker of your thoughts how can you be the doer of your actions, because it is thoughts that determine and drive your actions.

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      1. “If I am not the thinker of my thoughts, how can I be the doer of my actions…” Wow, that hit quite powerfully. 🙂 And also feels much lighter when reflected upon. What’s done is done. To surrender with acceptance, trusting in the compassionate nature of the working of the universe, and face whatever comes, with awareness and equanimity, is real spirituality and not fearing the consequences of my past actions. I will definitely go through the other links. Thank you SO much!

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        1. You are welcome. I am glad you found it helpful. Also, let me leave you with one helpful observation/tip: If you understand the name-and-form analogy (or, what’s the same thing, the clay and pot example) thoroughly in all its aspects and its various implications, you will understand the whole of Advaita or Vedanta. If you want to talk to me regarding it, I can take your call. Just let me know here and I will share my contact details on your Email.

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