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July 25, 2021

Karma - A Short Introduction

Karma - A Short Introduction

In this episode, The Bearded Mystic Podcast discusses the concept of karma and simplifies it so you can understand what it means without any of the complexity.

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Transcript

Hello, and welcome to the 11th episode of The Bearded Mystic Podcast. And I'm your host, Rahul N Singh. Thank you for joining today and for taking out the time to either listen or watch this podcast. So today. We're going to look at really a beginner's guide to understand what karma is, karma has been a hot topic nowadays. A lot of gurus have started speaking about it, Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev, he's released a book about karma. I've not read it, so I can't give a review about it. But if you do want me to give a review about it, let me know in the comments, let me know, message me on Instagram or send me a tweet, send me a message somehow, if you want me to give a review on that book. Deepak Chopra, he's spoken about it recently. I know that, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar has spoken about it recently. Karma has been a really hot topic and I'm going to give my take on it and how I can make it more simple first understand. Karma in itself, the most logical explanation of what it is, it's just action. So it's the action that we do and the impact of the action is what some people may term as good or bad, right or wrong. Now because our interpretation of right and wrong and good and bad is very fluid. It's not necessarily something we can pinpoint as good or bad or right and wrong. It's very hard to interpret what is good karma and what is bad karma. Therefore to really understand what karma is and the impact it will make, all depends on your intention behind the action. If my intention is there to hurt other people, then my action would deliver that. If my intention is good and my actions still hurts somebody, as long as my intention was pure and honest, that's what matters. Now some people may have a wrong belief. For example, if somebody's racist, they may think that their intention is good when they're being racist, but frankly, their action is going to affect the other person. It will harm another person. It's not an action that will create peace. When an action doesn't create peace or harmony, then we do have to look at the intention, that was there some sort of movement in our intention. Did it go from being good to bad? Was there a subtle difference? Karma is very complicated for this whole reason that we cannot understand whether someone's intention was good or bad. That's subject to our understanding and our interpretation. That's why it's best to just look at your own karma, look at your own intentions and look at your own thoughts. When you look at your action, look at how other people react to it. Sometimes, your intentions good, the reactions are bad, but you have to stay firm with your action that you've taken and that is something you have to do sometimes that's fine. Karma is more or less in every belief system. Every tradition believes in karma. Christ says 'what you reap is what you sow'. Swami Vivekananda said, ' good, good, bad, bad, none escape, the law.' So if you do good, you get good. If you do bad, you get bad. No one escapes that law, no one is able to transcend that. My whole emphasis in today's understanding that whatever karma we do, we have to understand it has to come from a peaceful mind. When our mind is at peace, our karma will follow accordingly, but if our mind is even slightly disturbed, our karma can go either way. Our karma can end up harming others. It may disturb others. It may cause conflict. When that happens, then we do need to take a good look into our intentions and our thought pattern and see why that's happening. Karma doesn't belong to any belief system. So therefore it doesn't matter if you have one life or many lives, karma remains and it affects us all. The nature of karma is like a river. So many streams join and likewise other people's actions will join with yours. Sometimes people say, I don't know why this happened to me, or you can actually influence what other people do and how he affects your life. What I thought of was this analogy that karma is like a river and your life is like a river and there's many different streams joining that river. Now with those many different streams, comes their karma comes their actions, comes their intentions. All that is a good mix and it enters the river of your life. Now with that river, with all those streams entering in, you just have to go with it and you have to flow with it. If you end up getting disturbed by each different stream, you can't concentrate on your own life. You can't concentrate on just flowing. With karma, we can get into this game of the mind of trying to interpret everything. What I'm saying is let karma do what it needs to do. You just concentrate on being present and with the flow of life. The biggest question that ends up coming up, whenever you talk about karma is why do bad things happen to good people? It's a real question and it's a genuine question because there's lots of good people that we know, but something bad happened to them and it created an adverse result. We see this constantly in the world, or we sometimes look at someone's life and we see the opposite of where we see good things happen to bad people and we are like, how did that even happen? I believe that analogy I gave of the river and the different streams, it could be they just have good people around them. That could be it, or they have one good person and that influence stronger. That could be the case is karma unfair? Not really. I would like to say that even, like I mentioned in the very beginning that some people may believe in something that's wrong, but their intentions may not be bad, but because their beliefs are wrong, that's what's causing the conflict. That's why we always have to look into what we believe in and whether that belief is restricting harmony, if that's restricting peace, because of that we can't judge someone's actions alone. I hope I'm making myself very clear there that, not everyone has bad intentions, so we can't just judge the actions alone. There is always a reason why someone has done a certain act or has reacted in a certain way. We have to use our intelligence to try and understand why that's happened and having honest conversations about it. That's the one thing that I find we lack today is that honest conversation. If I've done something bad or if I've done something wrong, I want to know why the other person sees it as wrong and then have a discussion about it. Have a healthy debate about it and get to the bottom of it. In fact, we will find that when we have these more on this conversations, our karma, our deeds will end up being more harmonious in the process because we're not being honest and having honest conversations we're reacting in different ways. Most of all is concentrate on your own actions and your own reactions to other people, because that also creates karma That also creates what your action is going to be next. For example, if someone's action or someone's reaction disturbs me the most likely the next action I do will also be a disturbing one. It will add to the disturbance instead of adding peace and allowing something to have the space to breathe out, I'm going to make it more cathartic. I'm going to disturb it more. I'm going to make more conflict out of it. The whole point is that we have to be at such a point where we respond to life rather than reacting to life. If we can do that, the karma that we create is more harmonious and that's the whole point and that's a simple way to put it. Can we transcend karma? This is a hot topic as well, because a lot of people believe that if you are self- realized, if you become enlightened, then karma doesn't affect you. I would like to say that's not true on the transactional level, karma will always affect you, whether you're realized or not realized. Actions that other people do will ultimately affect you. There's nothing you can do about that, but you can affect the way you react to it by being more present, the more you are in the present moment, the more you're in the now, the more you with the flow, less possibility of you getting affected. We need the past as well sometimes. So although we are present, we need to use the past to encourage us to navigate us away from problems, and then we need the future to meet whatever targets we have. Our karma to create a better future, a better world, a better universe. To, the past using the mistakes of the past or the good things that we've done and achieved in the past and using that to create a more harmonious present. Use both the past and the future where needed, but more living in the present is required. The other way we can do is act as if we are Brahman, the silent observer. What would the silent observer do within us? Or if you have someone that you look up to, how would they react to this? How would they respond to this or respond to a situation you're in? When you do it from that perspective, you're not letting your ego take over. There must be a time and I've gone through this where something wrong happens or something disturbs me. I get angry and I'm always like, 'okay, don't show your anger. Don't show your anger. Don't show your anger.. There's no need. It's not going to help the situation.' And then what happens 10 minutes later? You get angry. You show your anger and it creates a big argument. This is why it's more important to function as Brahman because at the moment when you're thinking I'm not going to be angry, who is this I am? I'm relating it to this identity that I have of Rahul, because I believe in this identity called Rahul is angry, therefore Rahul needs to show anger. Otherwise, if I don't show anger, nothing good is going to happen. I'm not going to get my way. That's ultimately why I'm angry. If I act as Brahman, this Ultimate Reality as the observer, then I'm able to be more calm. This body and mind is always going to be affected, with karma, with the deeds of others and with the deeds and actions of my own. If I'm able to be more as Brahman, the less impression that karma is going to have on me . We can choose again to respond to other people, whether we want it to affect us. We have that choice to respond to it. It may be that sometimes we have to respond, but that response would come out of a place of love, compassion, empathy, understanding. Our individual karma can be done with the non-doership attitude or an attitude of not receiving a reward. This is quite difficult to do because we live in a world right now, where if we do something for others, we want something back. Even if it's praise. Subtly, we may be asking for that praise. If we just do with a non-doership attitude, we're not affected about what happens with our karma. We've done it. Okay. That's it. It's done and dealt with. But it's very hard to do. It's very difficult and this is why when we act more as Brahman, it gets easier to be this non-doer. Remember that saying in Tao Te Ching, where even though the Dao does nothing, everything still gets done, everything is still completed. Every thing still happens, nothing is stopped. That's the attitude that we're talking about and just being honest with your intentions. The more honest we are with our intentions, the more it's going to help us and you know, if something isn't going our way, to learn acceptance, maybe there's a reason why it's not going my way. I can't see it right now because I'm clouded with why it didn't happen the way I wanted it to happen? Allowing that cloud to just disappear and allowing that clear blue sky of the mind to just be, and be in the present moment. That also is a way we can transcend karma and its influence. Just remember that every action and intention is karma. We have to be mindful as much as possible. This is probably the explanation for karma and what karma is that every action and intention is karma, but be mindful as much as possible. Be mindful of your true self, be mindful of who you really are more and more, and the less need there is to act towards something. Then actually, what happens is that any action we do has a lot of purpose and meaning behind it and other people are attracted to that in a positive way. That's the whole point of karma. Let me just recap it very quickly. Karma is completely gray, so expect it to have it's different shades of gray. It's not going to be black and white. A lot of us want karma to be black and white. We want to know whatever is good and whatever is bad. A lot of times karma is really in between and our interpretation of it. Therefore, instead of looking at other people's karma, whether they're doing good or bad things, look at our own self and look at how we're making things better. We can only control what we do and what we think and what we intend to do. So the more we just focus on ourselves, probably the better. Karma is more how we react to the world and react to things, so really be mindful of our reaction. And the more we able to live in the present moment, or we live as Brahman this Ultimate Reality, this Formless Reality, this Underlying Reality within everything, more likely we are to transcend karma. Then we understand that karma only happens to the body and mind, which is not who I really am. Therefore that's when the non-doership comes in and that's also where we don't get affected by what happens. That doesn't mean we bypass what happens to us. We still have to react to it in a transactional way, but that reaction is more mindful. That reaction has purpose. That reaction may even be non-reaction. That is still a reaction. We have to really understand that even non-reaction is a reaction, even that is karma itself. No one escapes doing action, even if you're a monk in a cave, the action is that you're a monk in a cave. Sitting there silently, that is action itself. You can look at it in many ways, that person in the cave, if they weren't in the cave, they could be outside helping other people realize their True Self, that was their potential, but they didn't. They ended up sitting in a cave and people didn't get enlightened by them. That could be seen as what would look like good karma is now suddenly gray. You see what I mean? Do ask you questions about what you think karma is. Maybe you can help me understand what karma is more. Let's discuss it more. The whole point is to do karma, which has a non doership aspect to it. There's a very interesting concept called nishkam karma. So when you do something without wanting something in return, you do something just because of the sake of doing action, when we're able to do that, that's brilliant. But the journey is to get to that point and the way to get there is just to be more mindful, to be more aware and to be more alert in what we're doing. This was just one podcast, very quick podcast about it. But in the future episodes, we may go deeper into what karma is and go into the nitty gritty of it. Right now let's use this moment to just be more mindful of our actions and our reactions to things and understand that even when we do not react, that is still a reaction. Thank you for watching this episode of The Bearded Mystic Podcast. Please do subscribe to this channel and do like and comment on the video below. You can also share this episode with your friends and family who you feel will really enjoy this episode. You can follow The Bearded Mystic Podcast on social media and I leave the links in the description below. Do remember that an episode of The Bearded Mystic Podcast is uploaded every Sunday and every Thursday. Take care. See you again soon. Bye.