Taking on Another Person’s Karma


I have an incurable genetic disease. I told my yoga teacher about it when I started her class, and she told me she is a spiritual healer and convinced me to do sessions with her. She told me that she knew a "method" and could take away people's karma. I spent 2 1/2 yrs. with her & paid $100 a session. I never got better. She said I must have more karma than she knew. She's a nice person and she sincerely believes this. Can anyone really take away someone's karma? (I feel very angry).

—Lee, US


Dear Lee,

Thanks for writing. You ask a very good question, and I’m sorry that you’ve had to go through this episode, which has turned out so unsatisfactorily.

Yes, it is possible for one person to take on another’s karma. Jesus, Yogananda, Padre Pio, and many other great masters have done that. It’s not something to be done lightly, however, for one must have not only the knowledge of how to take on the karma, but also the spiritual strength to be able to “absorb” that karma without being overwhelmed by it. Generally speaking, one must be highly advanced spiritually to succeed in both these respects.

Is your yoga teacher that advanced? I cannot know, of course, but it’s worth having a healthy dose of skepticism in these things. Many people sincerely believe that they can do things that, in fact, they cannot do. That is quite different from knowingly deceiving people for personal gain, which from what you say, it seems your teacher is not doing.

I would say that the karma to work on right now is letting go of your anger. You have learned a lesson, and it was an expensive one, but not, I hope, catastrophic. Pray for her well-being, not for her to suffer out of a desire for retaliation. That will only create more karma for you. Far better simply to bless her and go on your way.

And as concerns your karma, pray to God about it. Ask God, not to take it away, but to give you the strength to work it through, and to stay spiritually committed despite whatever this karma may bring you. God has a plan for you in all this, and I don’t doubt that a big part of it is to draw you closer to Him/Her. That divine longing will bring you closer if you keep your heart open and free of resentment.

In divine friendship,