What help us to know ourselves what things are not helping factors, and how we can analyse ourselves from the outgoing faculties and intellect is a practical subject. This is truly called spirituality.
Sant Kirpal Singh

Karma: The law of action and reaction


Q. Please explain why the enact­ment of the drama of life.

A. It is all an expres­sion of the inex­or­a­ble law of karma. Desire is the root-cause of all bond­age and rebirths. Unless one becomes a Con­scious Co-worker of the Divine Plan by com­plete self-sur­ren­der and anni­hi­la­tion of ego, the goal of spir­i­tual per­fec­tion can­not be attained. Please refer to the Wheel of Life for exhaus­tive expla­na­tion.

Q. How much are our lives pre-ordained, and what part does ‘free will’ play after we become ini­tiates?

A. Six things are pre-ordained or cov­ered by fate-karma; viz. health and sick­ness, pov­erty and opu­lence, hon­our and igno­miny. Stren­u­ous effort, self-con­trol and dis­ci­pline do play an impor­tant role for our bet­ter­ment with the Grace of the Mas­ter. Many dear ones with unhappy and check­ered careers claim to have become saintly per­sons after holy ini­ti­a­tion and faith­ful med­i­ta­tions on holy Naam. For elab­o­rate dis­cus­sion, ref­er­ence is invited to Wheel of Life.

Q. What hap­pens after death; do we enter another place to go through a period of birth and growth and grop­ing until we find our Mas­ter again?

A. It is sup­posed that the ques­tion relates to the ini­tiates of the liv­ing Mas­ter only, and as such, it should be under­stood in the light of what fol­lows.

The dear ones who have been blessed with the sacred boon of holy ini­ti­a­tion into the mys­ter­ies of the beyond, are all granted full pro­tec­tion by the gra­cious Mas­ter Power in the beyond. Most of their kar­mic debts are paid off as they had lived their nor­mal fate karma. Smaller kar­mic debts are paid off even before leav­ing off the body and as such they are not rein­car­nated. If, how­ever, there remain some over­whelm­ing worldly desires, the ini­tiated souls are granted human birth, but are placed in such con­gen­ial envi­ron­ments where they will have the chance of con­tin­u­ing their inner jour­ney, by meet­ing the liv­ing Mas­ter work­ing at the time. Spir­i­tual growth and progress thus con­tin­ues under His guid­ance.

Q. Why must our past lives be con­cealed from us?

A. It has a sig­nif­i­cance. The entire human life is a drama based on the inex­or­a­ble law of karma which results in union and sep­ar­a­tion of the souls for the liq­ui­da­tion of their mutual give and take. If one is told about these kar­mic debts involved and the sons or daugh­ters born to us are only our past debt­ors, the rea­son and sense of their breed­ing will be harmed. It is one of the chief func­tions of the neg­a­tive power to con­ceal these truths from the humans for keep­ing the earth life ago­ing. You will be per­haps aston­ished to know that kal has obtained three main boons from the Almighty, as con­tained in Sar Bachan. These are:

1. Nobody will know of his or her past life;

2. Nobody should know about his or her exact time and date of death; and

3. The liv­ing Mas­ter should not grant holy ini­ti­a­tion to the humans by show­ing mir­a­cles but sim­ply hold Sat­sangs and if the dear ones come up of them­selves and seek ini­ti­a­tion, only then should they be ini­tiated.

Q. Is it less fortunate karma to be born a woman, and is a woman’s potential for spiritual development in this life less than that of man?

A. It is not less for­tu­nate karma to be born as a woman and there is not poten­tial dif­fer­ence in regard to the spir­i­tual devel­op­ment in this life between man and woman. The Mas­ters do not attach any spe­cific impor­tance to the gen­ders and con­sider all the humans as equal and see them from the soul-level. Women have rather more devoted to their spir­i­tual growth, hav­ing an innate incli­na­tion to devo­tional ded­i­ca­tion.

Q. If a Sat­sangi aids another per­son in dif­fi­culty, as to money or sav­ing another’s life, does the Sat­sangi take on kar­mic bur­den of the one he aids?

A. The Satsangi’s ren­der­ing mon­e­tary help or phys­i­cal assis­tance in sav­ing life does not involve kar­mic bur­den. Such like noble actions should be under­taken in a sense of self­less­ness, which rids the dear one of the sub­tle ego which creeps in sur­rep­ti­tiously, and sows the seeds of future reac­tion. Since it is an embar­rass­ing and baf­fling prob­lem to find out whether such and such Sat­sangi is in dire need of help, phys­i­cal or finan­cial, the ini­tiates should endea­vour to donate to the Mas­ter, who knows best about its even­tual dis­pen­sa­tion and dis­po­sal. Saint Kabir cau­tions the sin­cere dev­o­tee that dona­tions must be made self­lessly and only through the Sat­guru who knows best as to how these are to be dis­posed of.

Q. If Sat­san­gis exchange gifts, do one or both of them take on some kar­mic bur­den from each other?

A. The law of karma is immut­a­ble and inex­or­a­ble. The exchange of gifts amongst the Sat­san­gis will result in mutual bal­anc­ing and adjust­ment. It should be under­stood care­fully that the kar­mic bind­ing lies in the fact that any gift is given or taken with the inner inten­tion of doing so, whereas if the giver gives in as spirit of self­less­ness as a ded­i­ca­tion to the Mas­ter Power, and the other receiv­ing the same receives in a grat­i­tude as a token of grace from the Mas­ter Power, both are relieved of the bur­den involved.

Q. Do I have a lot of bad karma to work off?

A. Every ini­tiate has a lot of good and bad karma to be worked off dur­ing phys­i­cal exist­ence. The ter­mi­nol­ogy of good or bad karma can­not be ade­quately jus­ti­fied, as both entail some debts requir­ing fair liq­ui­da­tion. Suf­fice it to note that the decrees of heaven are sub­ject to no error and the Divine dis­pen­sa­tion is invar­i­ably fla­voured with mercy. The inner rare bliss from reg­u­lar and devoted med­i­ta­tions changes the entire out­look of the ini­tiate when he or she finds the gra­cious hand of the Mas­ter pro­tect­ing him or her at every step. You should know it for cer­tain that every­thing what­soever that comes to your count­ing is def­i­nitely for your spir­i­tual progress, and you should gladly with­stand the trials and trib­u­la­tions of this life, by repos­ing your hopes and aspi­ra­tions at the feet of the gra­cious Mas­ter Power over­head.

Q. When met­a­phy­si­cians heal, is this the power of God or kal?

A. Heal­ing done by met­a­phy­si­cians falls within the scope of neg­a­tive power when the kar­mic debts involved are put off for the time being, and have to be repaid some­time with com­pound inter­est. The gra­cious God Power does not actu­ally pun­ish the souls but deals out jus­tice tem­pered with mercy in accor­dance with our karma. The degrees of heaven are in no way sub­ject to error and the Divine dis­pen­sa­tion is invar­i­ably fla­voured with Grace.

Q. Can the Power of God work in our lives in spite of bad karma?

A. The Divine Power of God con­tin­ues work­ing for our spir­i­tual wel­fare irre­spec­tive of the response. It is rather the enliv­en­ing prin­ci­ple in human body which sus­tains and main­tains the life, and as such works cease­lessly through­out the phys­i­cal sojourn. What we term as ‘bad karma’ means lesser good and if one is granted the boon of holy ini­ti­a­tion, there are ample chances of improve­ment.

Q. What are the teach­ings of the Mas­ters regard­ing hell and pur­ga­tory?

A. The Mas­ters do not con­tra­dict the scrip­tures which describe these places meant for the ref­or­ma­tion of human souls in accor­dance with the law of karma.

Q. Can karma apply to nations as well as indi­vid­u­als?

A. Yes. The cumu­la­tive reac­tion of kar­mic debt of nations results in wars, epi­dem­ics, destruc­tion by fire or floods etc. For exhaus­tive expla­na­tion, a ref­er­ence is invited to the book Wheel of Life.

Q. On page 319 in ‘Spir­i­tual Gems’ it is stated: "There is no racial karma.’ We have been taught there is both racial and national karma. Will you please explain this?

A. Karma, besides being indi­vid­ual vis-a-vis soci­ety of which he is a mem­ber, may as well be racial or national and in this sense may be called col­lec­tive karma. Races, like indi­vid­u­als, have their own prides and prej­u­dice, pride of col­our as the whites gen­er­ally have against what they call col­oured peo­ple, and this prej­u­dice of theirs they man­i­fest in diverse ways: by rais­ing all kinds of col­our bars for denial of civic and social rights, polit­i­cal priv­i­leges and legal rem­e­dies, all of which in course of time redound upon the per­pe­tra­tors of social indig­ni­ties and ine­qual­i­ties caus­ing unrest lead­ing, and at times, to bloody racial wars. Again, some races boast of super­i­or­ity of blood in their veins and on that score think that they form a priv­i­leged class by them­selves favoured by God to rule over and exploit oth­ers; but, as is usual in such cases, they are sooner or later over­taken by nem­e­sis – for they, that rule by the sword, very often per­ish by the sword.

In like man­ner, some nations when swayed by national inter­ests, get embroiled in unfair trade com­pe­ti­tions, build high tar­iff walls against other nations and at times even try to boost the sale of their unwanted prod­ucts on the point of gun with the nat­u­ral result of repri­sals, embar­goes and other retal­i­a­tory meas­ures from those who suf­fer from their dis­crim­i­na­tory acts and deeds.

Next come what are gen­er­ally termed and com­monly believed to be nat­u­ral calam­i­ties, like floods, famines, earth­quakes and epi­dem­ics etc. These too, like all other ills, are the result, more or less, of man’s ignor­ance of the laws of nature, his inca­pac­ity to fore­see things and fore­stall meas­ures nec­es­sary to elim­i­nate the threat­ened dis­as­ters. With the pro­gres­sive advance­ment in sci­en­tific knowl­edge and tech­no­log­i­cal skill, man is grad­u­ally com­ing to his own, press­ing the forces of nature more and more to the ser­vice of his kind, and mak­ing the most of the poten­tial energy lying hid­den and untapped. This is how the law of karma works silently and unno­ticed but inex­or­a­bly to the good or ill as the case may be. In this con­nec­tion please refer to the book Wheel of Life.

Q. Is it nec­es­sary to pray that we can have a hus­band (spir­i­tual) in this life or is this deter­mined by karma or one’s fate?

A. Unions and sep­ar­a­tions are gov­erned by the law of karma. Prayer is the last weapon of the spir­i­tual aspir­ant and must not be over-used or over­looked. Please refer to the book Prayer – Its Nature and Tech­nique.

Q. How does karma work on lower ani­mals?

A. Lower ani­mals or forms of crea­tion are bound by their past kar­mic debt and they do not con­tract any more karma dur­ing their life span. They sim­ply are born to undergo their kar­mic liq­ui­da­tion.

Q. Does God move us around like a chess­man on a board or do we, with our free will, move our­selves?

A. It is our past kar­mic evo­lu­tion which moves us around under His Divine will. We are bound within cer­tain lim­its on account of past karma and free within cer­tain lim­its. We can make the best use of free kar­mas to change our course to pro­ceed on our spir­i­tual way. For exhaus­tive expla­na­tion please refer to Wheel of Life.

Q. I have an ant hill in my gar­den which I wish to get rid of; is there any nat­u­ral way, prayer or plant­ing some seeds or flow­ers which would dis­perse them?

A. You should please not wish like that and let them live there. How would you appre­ciate the Divine Grace when you are blessed by Prov­i­dence with a charm­ing house to live in which is adorned with a beau­ti­ful gar­den and your act of remov­ing them would be sheer cruelty to the dumb and mute. You will appre­ciate that here in India, the Hin­dus feed the ants with wheat flour which shows their deep com­pas­sion for their lower breth­ren. How­ever for san­i­tary pur­poses you may please take reme­dial meas­ures as advised by the health depart­ment of the gov­ern­ment.

Q. We have been taught in our Sat­sang that all thoughts that enter the mind dur­ing med­i­ta­tion reg­is­ter on the astral and take the form of karma for us. Would you please com­ment on this?

A. The thoughts con­tinue feed­ing the mind and reg­is­ter impres­sions in the chita – the sub-con­scious­ness res­er­voir of the mind, and serve as seed karma to fruc­tify at a later stage. How­ever the thoughts enter­ing the mind dur­ing med­i­ta­tions become more potent to bear fruit at the ear­li­est oppor­tu­nity, and as such are con­sid­ered more vio­lently harm­ful than those enter­ing the mind in the nor­mal wak­en­ing hours. It should be attrib­uted to the inner con­cen­tra­tion dur­ing med­i­ta­tions when the mind becomes com­par­a­tively more sharp and one-pointed. The lis­ten­ing to the holy Sound Cur­rent as com­ing from the right side with rap­tur­ous atten­tion and absorp­tion therein burns away these seeds of kar­mas and ren­der them infruc­tu­ous to bear fruit.

Q. What is the dif­fer­ence between indi­vid­u­al­ity and per­son­al­ity and which one is involved in our karma?

A. There is no dif­fer­ence between indi­vid­u­al­ity and per­son­al­ity so far as karma is involved. The Divine pen writes in accor­dance with our karma and does not make any dif­fer­ence for one or the other.

Q. If one prac­tices the Sound Cur­rent, but does not go far or hear the higher Sounds, does the weight of karma become lighter?

A. Yes, the load of kar­mic debt gets lighter by lis­ten­ing to the holy Sound Cur­rent even if it is in its low­est links for it holds the keel of one’s barque steady on the stormy sea of life and saves it from run­ning aground among shoals, sand-banks, and sub­merged rocks. But one must strive to catch higher Sounds for it is the lat­ter that exert a pow­er­ful pull upon the soul by fol­low­ing which one is led to even­tual lib­er­a­tion. These higher Sounds can, by lov­ing devo­tion and prac­tice, be eas­ily dif­fer­en­ciated and com­muned with by the Grace of the Mas­ter Power which is ever ready to extend all fea­si­ble help to the aspir­ants on the path.

Q. Please explain the law of sym­pa­thy and how it affects our karma?

A. The law of sym­pa­thy denotes our innate com­pas­sion for those who are suf­fer­ing. It affects our karma to some extent, when we feel obliged to learn the good les­son of liv­ing a dis­ci­plined life. The sym­pa­thy by the mor­tals for oth­ers may be help­ful to the extent of their own resources, but unless it is sup­ported by gen­u­ine sub­stan­tial help, it does not bring about any tan­gi­ble result. The sym­pa­thy of the liv­ing Mas­ter for the suf­fer­ing human­ity is of supreme impor­tance, as His benign impulse will result in the lib­er­a­tion of the soul from the cycle of birth and death. He expresses His sym­pa­thy by actu­ally grant­ing a con­scious con­tact of holy Naam within for inner spir­i­tual progress.

Q. Can a sin­ner like myself attain to God-hood in this very life­time?

A. Yes, you can attain God-hood dur­ing this life­time pro­vided you work for it strictly accord­ing to the behests of the Mas­ter. Let His words abide in you and you abide in Him. You have been granted the sacred boon of the holy ini­ti­a­tion which is a valid visa on to the Sach Khand and it is your ear­nest efforts and stead­fast­ness which bless you with frui­tion of your wish in due course.