What is the Law of Karma?

—A Devotee

Karma is the law of action, based upon the law of cause and effect. All of your actions, whether good or bad, have a specific effect upon your life. Karma teaches that as one sows, so must he inevitably reap. Good actions will produce a good effect on your life, while bad actions will produce a bad effect.

Every circumstance in your life, every characteristic, every habit — however much you now repudiate it — was something you yourself created, whether recently or in the distant past.

The effects of actions in this life, whether good or bad, remain lodged in the subconscious, and those brought over from past existences are hidden in the superconsciousness. These effects are like seeds, ready to germinate under the influence of a suitable environment.

The law of action, or karma, is not fatalism. It is not God punishing you or rewarding you based on your actions. Either you are punishing yourself through evil actions or freeing yourself through right actions, especially actions attuned to the will of God. To be tempted is natural, but freedom lies in being able to overcome temptation, for then you are guided only by free will and free choice.

All effects or seeds of your past actions (karma) can be destroyed by roasting them in the fire of concentration, meditation, the light of superconsciousness and by right actions — actions free from the selfish desire for the fruit of action.

From Inner Culture, November 1938.