Questioner: I want to know about how much of our life is governed by karma, and how much is our free will? So many people I’ve heard said – everything in your life is governed by karma. And others like… we make choices. If we make a choice, are we creating karma from our choice?
Sadhguru: It is by your thought, your emotion, and your action – this is how you perform your action, isn’t it? So, karma means, till now whatever you did, the residual impact of that is definitely there upon your life. But, this moment’s karma is in your hands. Yesterday’s karma, you cannot change. But this moment’s karma is in your hands. This moment’s karma could be a karma of freedom or of bondage. If you handle this moment in a certain way, you will be free from everything that was yesterday. If you do not handle it that way, yesterday will rule you today. This is also your karma.
Do not understand karma as some kind of punishment and reward
See, please do not understand karma as some kind of punishment and reward – it’s not like that. It is just that everything that you touch with your mind, with your emotion, with your body, a bit of it sticks to you. The residual action is remaining with you. Yesterday, whatever you did, is it not there in your memory? Is it not there in your memory? Is it not influencing what you do today? Yesterday what you thought, is it there in your memory? Is it not influencing your thought and action today? Yesterday what you felt in your emotions, is it not there in your memory? Memory is not just mental memory. Memory is on many different levels. It is in your body, it’s in your chemistry, it’s in your energy. In many different back up systems are there for your memory.
So this memory is acting itself out. But, this moment – if you wish to be conscious, this memory, you can use it whichever way you want. You can look back on your life and laugh at all the stupid things that you did. You can look back on your life and cry – why did I do all these stupid things? Or you can look back on your life and learn that – okay, I did all these stupid things yesterday, what is the smart thing that I can do today? Same karma. Yesterday’s karma is same karma. But this moment’s karma can be different depending upon how consciously you act this moment, isn’t it?
This moment’s karma can be either karma of sweetness or bitterness.
This moment’s karma can be either karma of sweetness or bitterness. Yesterday might have been sweetness or bitterness, you cannot change that. Can you change what you did yesterday? You cannot change that. But, what you make out of it today, that you can change. That is always in your hands. Always and always, it’s in your hands.