Healing from Illness vs. Learning Karmic Lessons


Are illness or diseases manifestations of karma? If yes, how one can heal karma without learning a lesson which some spiritual school claims like like Pranic Healing, Reiki, etc.? And does such healing subsume the karma or may lead to lessons in another form until we learn it, which is said by some another spiritual schools like Sadguru of Isha foundation? What to believe?

—Vivek, India


Dear Vivek,

If you have a headache, you can usually take an aspirin and the headache goes away. Why would we obsess over what karmic action in the past is the cause for our headache when we can simply take two aspirin and go to bed? Thus, on our planet at this time, we have the “good” karma to have medicines and surgeries that can heal our body of some of its troubles — even save lives!

Does the remedy of medical healing mean we haven’t learned the karmic lesson that triggered the illness? Not necessarily: physical illness might simply be the consequence of physical “transgressions” for which we have the mitigating “good” karma to have access to medical care and medicines to bring relief or healing. In past lives when there were no antibiotics, millions died from what we would now consider superficial wounds. So we, individually and as a race, have incarnated now to a time when medicines can now cure illnesses previously considered fatal. So there’s individual and planetary karma as well.

Karma is quite complicated. Illness can be the result of poor eating habits or actions in a past life. But even if our illness is related to past attitudes (perhaps judging others who had poor health) rather than health transgressions, we might have offsetting “good” karma from other positive attitudes such as helping people in other ways.

So let’s not take the position that being cured of an illness or disease necessarily means we haven’t been healed of spiritual ignorance. It’s not that simple. There are examples of people who have been cured who went right back to their bad habits and other examples of those who reformed their life with the new “lease on life” given to them through being cured.


Nayaswami Hriman
Seattle WA USA