'Your actions determine the outcome'. –Swami Premodaya
It seems like most Westerners who are educated, who are intelligent, kind of buy into the word “karma.” It has different meanings, obviously, in different people's minds, but certainly one gets the impression that the general notion is people look at the idea of karma as some kind of cosmic reward-and-punishment system. It ain't that.
So get rid of that idea entirely. It is my speculation that that comes from the Christianized mind. Everybody who is raised in the West has a Christianized mind, whether you're Christian or not. So the Christian concept is: you get rewarded if you're good, and you go to heaven; and you get punished if you're bad; you go to hell. So people took this Eastern idea, basically an Indian idea of karma, and kind of fed it through that grinder, so that instead of a reward and punishment after you die, you get the reward and punishment while you're still here. If you have good karma, that's your reward. If you do bad things, that's bad karma and bad things happen to you. "What goes around comes around." None of that is what karma is about. If that is your operating notion, unplug that.
I think the best way for a Western mind to grasp the notion of karma, is to start with a concept you're already familiar with in Western thinking but that gets short shrift, that isn't really taken seriously by most people. The word is bandied about, people talk about it, people think about it, but it's not a word that has a lot of meaning for people—and that is the word “destiny.” You do have a destiny, and the easiest, most homogenized general way to come at trying to have an understanding of what this term “karma” is supposed to mean, and what it refers to, is if you think of it as simply your destiny. So the average person, seems to me, doesn't think much about that. Everybody kind of easily acknowledges "yeah, you probably have a destiny, maybe it has something to do with fate." Fate and destiny are very different. They are not the same thing.
So that's about the extent of the thinking most people have about it. They don't really give many moments of their lives to pondering it, or investigating it or scientifically approaching what the term “destiny” actually is referring to. And that's a shame. Because your destiny is everything. Your destiny determines whether you're happy or unhappy. Your destiny determines whether you get everything you want out of this life or whether you get nothing. Your destiny determines whether you have a good life, a pleasant life, or an unpleasant life. Your destiny determines your moment-to-moment experience and your experience of your whole life long. So it is highly important. Yet in the culture, we tend to not even give it any regard whatsoever.
So give it some regard now. Think about it, that you actually have a destiny. And your destiny is not arbitrary, random, accidental, chaotic. You do not live in a chaotic universe. That's a false idea. The universe is quite orderly, and operates in an orderly fashion. There is no such thing as an accident. There is no such thing as something that just "happens" for no reason. So if you accept that, or at least consider that, then the idea of destiny becomes far more significant, because it suggests what the truth is, that every single individual human being has a specific destiny.
Now, because people tend to mix up the terms “destiny” and “fate,”
understand that destiny is not fixed. It is fixed in this moment. But it can change. In the next moment, you can change it.
So “fate” refers to when it can't be changed, when it's a done deal, when everything is in motion and it's too late to go in a different direction. if you're driving, once you've turned left, it's too late to turn right. That is fate. You can come all the way around the block and go the other way, but you can't turn right and left at the same time. Once you've turned left, you've invoked fate. Because that's now your fate. You went left. If you had gone right, that is a different fate, because there is a different landscape on the right than on the left. They are not the same.
Destiny is far more malleable. Far more changeable. But what happens is it tends not to change because we don't do the things that would cause a change. So this is the most base, simple kind of bird's-eye view of how to approach the idea of karma. We're ridiculously oversimplifying, but that's the right way to start.
So, you can say the same thing about karma. Do you have a karma? Absolutely. And is that karma fixed? Well, that depends whether it's played out—so much already, that there's no way to reverse it or change it, or whether there's still an opportunity to make ameliorations or changes or adjustments. And that's the difference between being in the hands of fate and living out your destiny.
The word karma comes from ancient Sanskrit, and the word literally, simply, means action, it doesn't have any complex meaning. “Karma” is a Sanskrit word for action. Now, the word “action” has all kinds of implications in our mind, and in the sense of the word in Sanskrit, it does not have any of those implications or connotations. Action is neither good nor bad, neither right nor wrong—that is a human-mind overlay. That is our interpretation. Karma in terms of action simply means action: something happens, something is going on. Rather than, "It's good, it's bad, it's right, it's wrong. It is what we want, it is what we don't want." That is our addition. So start there. That is the original meaning. Obviously, when you're talking about karma, it doesn't just mean that. But that is the original meaning, and it's good to know that. It is good to understand that it doesn't imply anything.
So one way to look at it, is karma is your destiny—and here's the important part—as currently constituted. Not as it's going to be one minute from now, or as it was one minute ago—as it is in this actual moment. Because it can change in one minute.
So when you're talking about karma, you are not talking about every level of a human being, because there is a divine level. There is a divine essence in every person, that is not subject to karma. So you have to understand that when you're talking about karma, you're talking about the material world, you're talking about a human lifetime. It doesn't have to be human—because countries have karma, planets have karma. Just about everything has a karma because everything has a motion, everything has an action. If it exists, it tends to have an action, even if it's inert. A rock has an action, you just don't see it, because it is so slow. It may move over a period of three hundred years, but that is action.
So it's good to make this differentiation between "karma on the soul level," let's say, for a shorthand way to put it, which has to do with your divine essence, has to do with the fact that you are a human being only secondarily. Primarily, you are a spiritual being, which does not require you to have a body or a mind or any of those refinements that human beings have. So, when you are talking about karma, you're not talking about that aspect. You're not talking about that level. As a spiritual being, karma is irrelevant. You are bigger than that, you are more established than that. When you say “karma,” you're specifically talking about a certain arena, you're talking about a human life, basically, because it doesn't make any sense without humans. There's no need to talk about the karma of a country if the country has no humans, because only humans are going to care what this thing means.
And you're talking about the past. You're talking about prior influences, you're not talking about all possibilities. You're not talking about beyond space and time, you're not talking about the infinite or the eternal. You're talking about the limited, the defined, the existential, that which existentially manifests, that which exists and exists indisputably. That is the sphere that karma operates in. It doesn't operate in an invisible sphere; it operates only in visible spheres, or identifiable spheres. So when you're saying “karma,” you're talking about the conditional level. Conditional means exactly what it says, that it’s related to other things. Conditional means it doesn't stand on its own, it's influenced by other factors, it's multi-determined, there are various factors going on. So if it's not of that nature, the laws of karma aren't operating, don't apply.
So if all that computes, let's get into the mechanics from the very, very simplified aspect. First of all, you are a camera, on every level of you. You are a sophisticated audio and video three-dimensional holographic recording device. Every second, from the second you were born until the second that you are completely for sure dead, you're not here anymore, is recorded. It's recorded by your whole organism. By whole, I really mean whole. In other words, it's not just holographic. It is actually holographic, but the recording is happening in full Technicolor, full, real, not-Dolby-enhanced audio. It's not just being recorded how people think of this, as in their memory cells, in their memory bank, in the brain cells in the mind. It's being recorded in the whole person, which means it's being recorded in your body, it's being recorded in your mind, it's being recorded in your nervous system, it’s being recorded in your organs, it’s being recorded in every aspect of you. And if you can wrap your mind around this—I guarantee you this is the truth—it's being recorded in every cell in your body. That's why it's accurate to say it's holographic. It's beyond holographic, because it's holographic in every way, on every level, through every aspect of you.
That recording is one hundred percent accurate. If you could find the playback button, it would simply play back your entire life exactly as you experienced it. If on June 22, 1981, at 3:03, you looked to the left, the left got recorded. Every nuance, whether you saw it or not, got recorded. So you know that when you aim a camera at something, even if you don't see the little man in the distance on the hill, the camera will take a picture, and if he's there, it'll come out in the picture. Your recording instrument, your whole person, body, mind, whole complex, is doing exactly the same thing. So things that you didn't even notice when they happened, things you didn't hear that were said, people who were there that they were behind you, that's all recorded on every level of you, permanently. And it's perfect storage. It never gets erased. It isn't possible to accidentally push the delete button, because it's recorded in all of you, every cell. If it gets deleted from one cell, what's the problem? You got trillions and billions of trillions of others, right?
So if you really want to understand karma, you have to consider what I'm telling you about—you are a sophisticated biocomputing recording mechanism—you really have to consider that that might be true. And I'm telling you it's absolutely true. And that allows you to have a basis for starting to understand how karma could be a real force in the world, in everybody's life and in your life. Because if you are the possessor of an accurate, correct, living 3D holographic perfect record of every second of your life, that is the platform, the technology, that invokes karma, that starts the karmic process.
Excerpt taken from ICODA’s upcoming online course: KARMA – What is it? … and how to make it good! This self-paced online course will be available in January 2024, sign-up for our mailing list below to be informed as soon as it is available.