Karma is one of the fundamental laws of the universe. Basically, it states that every thought, feeling, and action has a consequence. In the Bible, it says, “As you sow, so shall you reap.”
Once set in motion, there is normally no way to avoid the karma of past actions. But we can do much to change how severe the consequences will be. Sri Yukteswar said that the past lives of all men are dark with many shames. But that everything in the future will improve if we are making the right spiritual efforts now.
Here are four ways to outwit our karmic consequences.
Move Away from Bad Behavior: Every action or thought is like a bolt of energy. The energy once sent out will inevitably return. If we shout at someone in anger, we will often, if not always immediately, get an angry retort in return. Karmic paybacks are life’s way of teaching us the consequences of our actions and nudging us toward alignment with God’s laws. In this case, the returning karma is meant to teach us not to act out in anger.
The bolt of angry retribution headed our way is like a car approaching us on a one-lane road. If we are still acting in the same deluded way, there will be a head-on crash. But now imagine that you have changed, and not only are no longer acting with anger, but instead are now patient and helpful when confronted. You are now moving in the same direction as your “car-mic” retribution, and the result may be just a little tap on the rear to remind you to keep making the right spiritual effort.
How do we learn to head the right way? First, become aware of how you are behaving. Awareness always precedes action. Next, take responsibility for your behavior. Finally, put out energy in the opposite direction, the direction your karma wants to push you anyway.
Serve Others: Service is one of the best ways to overcome karma, which is always initiated by self-interest. Simply put, when we think about ourselves, we end up creating bad karma. When we forget ourselves and think about helping others, we become freer and happier.
When we are self-involved, even a whisper of criticism can be devastating. When our hearts are strong and expanded through thinking of others, even an angry tirade can be shrugged off or provide an opportunity to help the irate person.
Meditate and Do Pranayama: Meditation is the fastest way to become free of ego, the root cause of all karma. All the whirlpools of karma reside in the astral spine. Meditation can neutralize those vortices. Paramhansa Yogananda said that each Kriya is the equivalent of a whole year of right living. Day by day, meditation by meditation, our astral spine is cleared of all destructive karmic tendencies.
We may have innumerable seeds of karmic tendencies waiting for the right circumstances to sprout. But pranayama, especially Kriya Yoga, fills the spine with positive magnetism and burns up the seeds before they can be planted.
Attunement with a Guru: A guru will take away much of our karma if we stay attuned. A good friend had a fascinating dream. He was walking along a beach and came upon a huge pile of sticky tar, which he knew was his past bad karma. His task was to eliminate it, but all he had for the job was a little toy plastic pail and shovel. After a great deal of effort he finally succeeded in filling his bucket one time.
As he began to despair of ever finishing the job, he heard a loud noise coming from the back of the pile. Curious, he went around and found Yogananda driving a tractor with a large scoop on the front. Master had a huge grin on his face as he dug into the mound of tar again and again and dumped the loads into the ocean to be dissolved.
A rich man can easily pay the debts of a wayward child. Such is the power of attunement with a God-realized guru.
I’ll close with a fascinating answer that Swami Kriyananda gave when asked how we can tell the difference between good and bad karma. He said good karma takes us closer to God, while bad karma takes us away. Sometimes unpleasant karma, like bitter medicine, is the best thing for us. We don’t have to enjoy it, but we would be wise to swallow it.
Listen to Jyotish as he reads the blog, then expands on it, often adding special behind-the-inspiration stories and answers to common spiritual questions. Subscribe to the podcast or download the audio recording by right-clicking here. Or listen to it here (9:57):
can someone else bring up your old or family karma and yes’ how to behave to that person.?
I love this path – Truth after Truth – and love my Gurubais’ gifts for reminding me !!! 🙏🕊⭐️
Thank you for this encouragement, I have been listening to a lot of Paramahansa Yogananda and newer self realization fellowship you tube programs. The strength they give is unparalleled.
Jai Guru dev
Thank you Jyotish ji for sharing these practical ways… Past karma is unchangeable but the present is something we can work with.
Thank you. Waking up and reverie such a beautiful message is like God send you comfort in those difficult moments. It’s like I was needing this, but you know about karma and how to act, but your ego is there telling opposite things, how to get that guru that help you to obey come all these difficulties?.
Thank you again.
Soy chilena y me cuesta entender el ingles pero gran aporte sobre el karma ya que indica que somos responsable de él por las acciones que elegimos. Gracias
I am again curious by another language. Thank you for sharing in this way Nora. Here are Nora’s heartfelt words in English:
“I am Chilean and it is difficult for me to understand English but a great contribution on karma since it indicates that we are responsible for it for the actions we choose. Thank you”
Thanks for freshening up!
A keeper, Jyotish, thanks!
Thank you Jyotish!
I love these ideas and descriptions. I’m going send them on to others as well as post in our Ananda Tucson FB page.
Thank you so much!
Inmensamente agradecido por este material de estudio, ya que me hizo comprender que toda la vida cuando se alinea con las Leyes de Dios, se limpia de todo Karma y se camina hacia la Felicidad.
Om Shanti y un abrazo.
Thank you Juan for sharing such beautiful insight.
For those like me who are seeking to understand no matter what the language and wanting to read your sentiments, I share them here: Thank you.💖🙏
“Immensely grateful for this study material, since it made me understand that when all life is aligned with the Laws of God, it is cleansed of all Karma and one walks towards Happiness. Om Shanti and a hug.”
I’m so heartening by this article and particularly by this phrase. “A rich man can easily pay the debts of a wayward child. Such is the power of attunement with a God-realized guru.”
Excellent. Amazing. Truth. Thank you so much for these gems of wisdom. Much love and respect.
Wonderful words for people to refer to daily. Namaste
Thanks to all that make this messages possible
This is beautiful.
Thank you Jyotish. You write so many uplifting and educational gifts in such a way that make it understandable and practical. Thank you for your deep service to the One Divine Master as you help so many others along their own paths. May you continue to receive many blessings as you continue to deepen your own attunement to God.
Peace and Blessings.
Aum. Blessings to you…
That was a very good and needed writing and reminder…also,after the great master,Yukteswar said that the past lives of all men are dark with many shames,he said,”human conduct is ever unreliable until one is anchored in the divine.” Thank you again for all the good you are doing and for your divine friendship.
Dear Nayaswami Jyotish Ji,
Thank you for the blog. Very useful guidelines to be practiced
I enjoyed reading the “Car-mic” :)
Really good. Thank you!
Thanks, Jyotish ji.
Your writings are inspiring and makes me want to meditate more.
Thank you for your calm and the hope in your words.