Consciousness is in everything that exists; the fundamental force of the Universe that vibrates in every atom. The development of consciousness commences first at the level of the stone and continues in metal, crystal, and vegetation. Plants already have the ability to feel but are not able to express or communicate their feelings to others. At the next level of development are life forms such as coral and anemones that appear to be plants but actually belong to the animal kingdom. Then come fish, birds, mammals and finally humans as the most highly developed earthly beings. Some of the more highly evolved animals have developed a certain limited capacity to discriminate, but humans are the only living beings on earth with comprehensive discrimination and free choice over their actions. Only we humans are capable of consciously shaping and changing our life.
Because we are “I-conscious” and behave willfully, we also bear responsibility for our behavior. That is why the cosmic law of KARMA is valid for us humans. The Karmic Law states that every action we take will at some time come back to us in the same way as it went out from us.
Therefore the most important precept that should be observed is:
To harm no-one by our thoughts, words or deeds.
We produce Karma in four ways:
- through thoughts
- through words
- through actions that we perform ourselves
- through actions that others do under our instructions.
After death the physical body remains on the earth and decays; the elements detach from one another and return to their source. We again find ourselves as a bodiless, spiritual being in the astral plane because of the subtle sheaths – the astral, mental and causal bodies – continue to exist. In these, all our feelings, knowledge and memories remain. But there is one thing we lose after death, the ability to act. Only in the physical body are we are capable of doing good or bad. After death, we are unable to do anything. Our earthly possessions, title, and position no longer have any value – whatever level we reach in the Cosmos depends entirely upon our Karmas.
There are three types of Karma:
- The first type is the accumulated Karma from all of our previous lives. It would be impossible to experience and endure all Karmas in one life. Therefore only a small part of the Sanchitakarma comes into effect with each birth.
- The second type is the portion of the accumulated karma that has “ripened” and appears as a particular problem in the present life.
- The third type is everything that we produce in our present life.
The Law of Karma says that the energetic vibration arising from each action will one day come back to the one it originated from, either with the same qualities or even stronger through other intervening interactions. Through our actions we plant the “seeds” of our future destiny and therefore whatever happens to us is the “fruit” of our own past. If we think and act negatively we increase the disaster-bringing influences of our destiny; whereas positive thoughts and deeds develop the happiness-bringing potential.
There are two types of adverse actions; those we perform unconsciously, and those we do consciously and against our better judgment. Undoubtedly the latter weigh more heavily. Those who make a mistake out of ignorance do not invite such heavy karma to themselves as those who intentionally inflict harm and pain. But just as poison affects us if we take it unknowingly, suffering caused unintentionally, and therefore unconsciously, also gives rise to an appropriate karmic effect.
“Our destiny was shaped long before the body came into being.”
If destiny is fashioned in this way, then what point is there to our efforts? Are we merely “puppets” moved by the thread of an inevitable fate? Not at all! We are able to exert an influence and alter the course of providence. What happens to us is pre-determined in the same way as the target of an arrow that has already been shot. Its course is foretellable and predictable – unless it is deflected or diverted by a new influence. Even though the events of our destiny are, in fact, lawfully caused and steered as a consequence of earlier actions, we do, however, have the opportunity to avert, or at least lessen, the impact through our present behavior.
We are therefore in a position to change the course of our destiny – but only if we do something about it. Not just “anything”, but the right thing at the right time. Through positive actions, pure thoughts, prayer, mantra, and meditation we are able to resolve the influence of the Karmas from which we are suffering in this present life, and in this way gradually turn our destiny around for the better. The spiritual Master helps us with this. He knows the “karmic formula” and is aware of the sequence in which our earlier and present actions will bear fruit. That is why he is able to advise us and show us how we can partially or completely deflect the “arrow” of our karmas and so escape avoidable sorrows.
Through negative thoughts, words, deeds and harmful qualities, such as anger, hatred, jealousy, attachment, passion, greed, fanaticism, and egotism, destructive energies are produced which darken our phanomen. We produce negative Karma because we lack knowledge and clarity. The purpose of our existence here on earth is to gain correct knowledge and insight. If we do not make use of this opportunity and remain in ignorance, then after death we must again return to the world in a new birth to clear all unresolved Karmas.
“We are travelers who have come to the “Temporary station of the Earth” for just one brief moment. Soon a new day will dawn and we must again depart. We can take nothing with us; everything remains here except the quality of our actions.”