Does the law of karma apply to a self-realized saint? If so, how? Is it their past actions, or is it the karma of their disciples that they take upon themselves? Please elucidate.
—Srilatha Ganta, India
There is a difference between a jivan mukta and a param mukta (siddha): a jivan mukta is one who has become freed of delusion, is Self-realized, and has entered nirbikalpa samadhi, but still has some of his past karma to overcome. So his life, though highly advanced, is still conditioned by his past actions.
A param mukta (siddha) on the other hand has gone further: he/she been freed from all traces of past karma, and is completely unfettered.
Both of them don’t create any new karma, as karma is created by ego consciousness, which they have overcome.
And both may take on karma from disciples. When they suffer, it is often for that reason. Durga Mata for example took on karma from others. So did Sister Gyanamata. And also Swami Kriyananda.
The way to get out of karma is to get out of ego, and the way out of ego is deep meditation.
All the best on your path to the ego-less state,