Karma: Its Cause and Cure



Thanks for your Divine help to the seekers!

1) Are we souls are the Doers as well the Receivers of our all past karmas whether good or bad? Do we reap what we sow? And if due to ignorance any soul makes mistakes, then how does he gain favour of God? According to divine law, does he have to suffer? Similarly, if no karma is wasted, then if one is a jivanmukta in this life with some leftover karma that he didn’t reap before his life ended, will the karma be destroyed or will it follow him to next birth?

—A, India


Dear A,

Karma is a huge and very complex subject. Paramhansa Yogananda said that it takes a master to understand karma. So allow me to answer briefly.

Yes, any action performed in ego-consciousness will come back to us eventually, in exactly the same measure as we performed it. And yes, even a jivanmukta (one who no longer lives in ego-consciousness, but still has past karma to work out) must reap the fruits of what he or she has sown. That’s simply God’s law.

But the good news is that, if we have grown stronger in the meantime, it will not feel so big. A jivanmukta, for example, will not suffer when returns to him or her, because a jivanmukta is not identified with that body and personality. It is not karma that causes suffering; it is identification that causes suffering.

But karma is very different from the favor (grace) of God. God’s grace is ours, now and forever, karma or not. We simply must learn to open ourselves to it. That opening is not passive. It requires energy and divine longing. But as we strive to purify our hearts and minds, grace will come to help lift us out of identification with the small self, and we will be free.