How Deeply Do We Need to Understand Karma?


With Karma- how does it work regarding karma effects in present life, and carrying over to our next life. In other words, is it just the karma not worked out in this life carried over to the next life, or are there certain things that are automatically carried over to the next life?

—Robin, USA


Dear Robin,

Thanks for your question. The most important thing to realize is that we are not going to be able to “figure out” karma with our limited intellects. Karma means “action.” Every single action and thought generates an opposite and equal karmic response.

Considering that, as Yogananda said, it takes 5 – 8 million lives as a human being to achieve final liberation, you can see that your karma is beyond conception.

Instead of trying to understand karma in the way you are asking, it might be more helpful to ask more specifically: what are my shortcomings? (these are, of course, karmic — everything is!) And, how can I put out energy to develop the opposite strengths to overcome my shortcomings?

It’s valuable to acknowledge your shortcomings and then to focus great energy on the opposite strengths, through affirmation, and through positive and conscious behavior to impress the needed spiritual strength on your consciousness.

Yogananda said that karma is best worked out by facing it calmly and pleasantly. Isn’t that marvelous? Yes, we all will have some challenging tests to face, and you can know absolutely that those challenges come because of some action (karma) you generated in the past. But when we face those difficulties, we should try to be as calm and happy as possible.

Above all, learning to meditate and to connect lovingly with God daily and throughout your life will help you face things in the right way and complete the karma.

Just because one is having a hard time does not mean he is “working out” karma (unfortunately!) But if you can accept what comes with calm faith in God, you are indeed freeing yourself from that karma.

You might enjoy a wonderful book of Yogananda’s writings called Karma and Reincarnation, available from Crystal Clarity Publishers.

In divine friendship,