How To Dissolve My Karma?
Summary: The process of life itself dissolves your Karma. But you are building up new Karma through your thoughts and emotions. For many people building more Karma outpaces the dissolution! Karma is the illusion of many. This is the foundation of Karma. Sadhguru says 'if you confuse yourself, “Which is me and which is not me?” suddenly karma loses its foundation'. Kriyas and Pranayam are a process to strengthen the energy body and bring a certain distance from your Karma.
article originally published on isha.sadhguru.org
Shut Down Your Karma Factory
Sadhguru: Every moment of your life, whatever you do or don’t do, your karma is dissolving. The very life process is dissolution of karma. You have a certain amount of allotted karma, which we refer to as prarabdha. The prarabdha is working itself out. But the problem is the production factory is working overtime – new karma is being piled up so rapidly. Dissolution can only happen at a certain pace, but people can be very efficient with production! For example, during a standard day in your life, from the moment of waking till you go to sleep, if you compare how much activity you actually do by simply working, and how much you think up things, what you are thinking up could be fifty times more than what you do. I am being very conservative when I say fifty. You are producing fifty times more karma than you can work out. It is just like calories. You are burning 600 calories but eating 6000 calories – it has to pile up somewhere.
Shut Down Your Karma Factory
Let’s say you don’t do any karma – nishkarma – you simply sat. This means karma is still working out now at the same pace but you are not producing anything. This is the reason why spiritual atmospheres are made in such a way that you don’t decide when to eat. There is a bell, and you go and eat. You don’t decide what to eat. You joyfully eat what is served. You don’t choose. We are not against enjoying food, it is just that for the simple act of eating you produce so much karma by desiring, thinking and multiplying all this. After all, you can only eat so much. If the food is good and you like it very much maybe you eat 5% extra. If you go beyond 10% you are in trouble. For this simple act of eating, how much is going on in people’s head! I enjoy food as much as anyone, but you must do the food on your tongue or your stomach. Or if you like to cook you must do it in the pan. I like to cook so I do it in the pan. If I like the food I do it on the tongue or in the stomach. You are doing it in the head – that’s not the place for food. Head and food don’t go together – you are creating karma.
Please look at every aspect like this in your life. You are creating fifty or hundred times more karma than you are working out on a daily basis. When you cook food, or when you joyfully eat, digest it and make it a part of yourself, you are working out karma. The simple process of life itself will work out karma.
A spiritual path means we want to set your karmic process on fast-forward. We want to take a bigger load of karma than the allotted load because we don’t want to come back and do the same thing again and again. We want to finish it off right now. This is a conscious choice one has to make – do you want to slowly work it out or do you want all the nonsense to be over as quick as possible.
If you enter an active spiritual process, suddenly you may find everything is moving at a bewildering pace. You will see, you are in more trouble than ever before. Earlier, troubles used to come to you once in six months. Now, every six hours you are in deep trouble because your karmic process is on fast-forward. Only fools who have sanitized themselves from life believe that spirituality means being peaceful. No. To be spiritual means to be on fire – inside, outside, everywhere. Peace will happen when you rest in peace. This is the time for exuberant life! If you were ecstatic or very blissful and joyful, would you even think of being peaceful? Such a thought wouldn’t even occur to you.
The Karmic Spring
Unfortunately, nowadays, humanity is not looking at how to intensify life, we are always looking to elongate life. Because of this, a number of people lose their memory and mental faculties beyond a certain point, and a karmic factor is very much there in these ailments.
Today, without taking care of the karmic fiber we are just trying to elongate the physical life of a human being because we have a certain amount of mastery over biochemistry.
Karma means a certain kind of software that you unconsciously created. Before you were born, somewhere between 40 to 48 days after conception, this karmic fiber was tightening itself like a spring coil. Depending upon past information, the strength of your body, the nature of your parent, the type of conception and various factors, it chooses a certain amount of information to be tightened into a spring. It is like a coiled spring. If you simply sit, it will slowly unwind itself. The more still you sit, the faster it will unwind itself but because you are in activity and you are also piling up new things, it unwinds itself at a certain pace. If I look at the tension in the karmic fiber when someone is born, I can easily tell you how many years approximately that child will live – if some drunken driver doesn’t smash the child down, or if he doesn’t come in touch with any spiritual master! If he just lives a standard life, we can say how long he will live. We know the coil will work itself out at a certain pace.
This was a common thing when a child was born in India: the first thing the family would do is invite a yogi or sage to the house, or they would take the child to him because they want him to feel the child. It is still there today but generally birthday parties have replaced these things. Otherwise, this was the most significant thing. You want to take your child to a certain person who can see if there is any over-tightening of the spring, and do something to fix that to ensure the child’s wellbeing. But still, a drunken driver can knock him down. Or some master can come and either unwind him fast or load up many lifetimes of karma onto his present load. So, karma works itself out in a certain way unless something happens and it gets all wound up once again or gets released too fast. These things may happen because of certain issues.
Today, without taking care of the karmic fiber we are just trying to elongate the physical life of a human being because we have a certain amount of mastery over biochemistry. We are trying to stretch life using medicine and surgery. This could be one of the major reasons for the number of people losing their memory and mental faculties beyond a certain point because it is a “dumb computer” – do what you want, it just stares at you because though the software is over, the hardware is still kept going with a replaced heart or kidney.
If they had also strived to enhance the other dimension of their life and done a little bit of spiritual work – something beyond the physicality – then even if you live for a thousand years you can generate the necessary software because there is a lot of stuff elsewhere. There is a warehouse of karma which has not been opened up right now which is called sanchita. Or, you could have programmed yourself such that when your software is going away you also have the freedom to shed your hardware.
Karma is essentially the maya of many. “Maya” is usually translated as “illusion” though that word doesn’t convey everything. But let’s say maya means illusion. The illusion of the many is the foundation of karmic substance. As long as you are established in, “This is me, that is you,” karma is a well-established reality. It is like a solid, real, steel structure.
However, if you confuse yourself, “Which is me and which is not me?” suddenly karma loses its foundation. If you look around and you don’t know which is you and which is not you, in this mix up the karmic foundation cannot stand anymore and just crumbles. In one moment of confusion, suddenly, whole structures of karma just collapse. Have you noticed, if you ever fell in love with someone, your likes and dislikes, who you are, what you like, what you don’t like, everything got mixed up a little bit – at least for a few days, after which it might have come back to you again! You started doing what you thought you cannot do because who you are was a little confused. The maya of the many was confused because a little bit of oneness came between two people, and suddenly the karma lost its foundation and crumbled.
The Problem of Many
It happened like this – during 1944, eight Hitler doubles were kept in a safe house. Of all the people, these were the best fed, best kept people and they didn’t have to do anything except once in a while. They were trained to be like Hitler. They dressed like him, they ate like him – they had to do whatever he did because when they had to play the act, they had to do it in such a way that nobody would know. So, these guys were really having a good time.
Then Heinrich Himmler, one of Hitler’s trusted aides came. It was part of the routine that whenever anyone came, they had to salute the doubles just the way they would salute Hitler because they had to get used to it. So, Himmler came and said “Hail Hitler!” Then he said, “I have good news and bad news.”
All of them said together, “Good news first.”
“Our Fuhrer is alive and well.”
“Unfortunately, he lost his left eye,” and he pulled out a cork screw.
Karma is like that. It is the problem of the many. So, the first thing is to stop creating – life works itself out. Or if you want to drop all your karma at once, that can also be done. But you need to understand, karma is not only a bondage, it is also a protection. It is a cement that binds you with the body. If all karma is dissolved, you will not be able to hold on to your body – you will drop it. If you are not aware of this, for most beings, the moment of enlightenment and the moment of leaving the body are the same. Only those who are on the path of kriya, who know the mechanics and the nuts and bolts of the body hold on to it.
Exercising the Etheric Body
In yoga, we look at a human being as five sheaths or layers of body. Three – the physical, the mental and the energy body – are physical realities; maybe subtle but still physical. The other two – the etheric body and the bliss body – are in a different realm. The etheric body is a transition from physical to non-physical. The bliss body is purely non-physical. The physical body, the mental body and the energy body carry karma. But the etheric body and the bliss body do not have any karmic substance because they are non-physical. The physical dimension of existence happens between cause and effect. But what is beyond the physical does not happen between cause and effect. So, the moment you begin to taste the divine, suddenly, it doesn’t matter how many heaps of karma you have, it has no impact on you because you are beginning to step into the realm of the non-physical where there is no karmic substance.
Karma is the problem of the many. So, the first thing is to stop creating – life works itself out.
When you do any kind of conscious breathing processes like kriyas and pranayams, you are trying to exercise the etheric body – that dimension of you which has a physical element in it but is not physical. You are trying to strengthen that because you want that to become a passage, not a barrier to the non-physical dimension of who you are. There are various other aspects to it in terms of physiological and psychological benefits, and the spiritual dimension, but one simple aspect is, if this dimension, which is the link between the physical body and the non-physical dimension that is the very source of creation, becomes a strong force by itself, then the physicality of who you are, the psychological structure that you call as “myself,” and that dimension which is the source of all this will naturally be connected all the time. The idea is that Divine is not an idea or belief in your life, Divine is a living presence in your life. That is the basis of sadhana, that these three are well integrated and connected on a moment-to-moment basis. We are not looking for highs or a once-in-a-way experience, we are looking for constant contact with that dimension. Only then it finds expression in the way you live, in the way you exist, in the way you can do things – in everything.