".....Believing as I do in the theory of rebirth, I live in the hope that if not in this birth, in some other birth I shall be able to hug all humanity in friendly embrace." -Mohandas K. Gandhi.
We have heard a lot about 'Karma'. 'Karma' is a Sanskrit word which means 'action'. Karma is the process of cause and effect, which is associated with our thoughts, emotions and behaviors. Jesus said, "As you sow, so shall you reap". This single statement contains the essence of what Karma is. The Dynamics of Karma: We are all spiritual beings having a human experience and the dynamics of Karma help us to keep learning and progressing through the actions done by us in each lifetime. Therefore, Karma is neither good nor bad. Karma operates on universal laws, which create total justice. Karma is very impersonal and it applies to everyone without exception at all times. Karma makes us realize that we are all one irrespective of our nationality, religion, race, creed, caste, sex etc. and thereby teaches us oneness. Karma teaches us take self-responsibility as it makes us feel responsible for our actions in every situation. Karma makes us understand the cause and effect of our actions. Understanding Karma is a major step in our Spiritual Evolution.
Different types of Karma:
SANCHITA KARMA: This is the sum total of the Karma accumulated from all the lifetimes.
PRARABDHA KARMA: This is the Karma that is ripened. The effects of this type of Karma will be felt in this lifetime and in current situations.
AGAMI KARMA or KRIYAMANA KARMA: This is the recently added Karma resulting from present actions. This kind of Karma, which is added recently, affects the future.
Reincarnation and Karma: Most of us believe that our individual characters are formed from birth in this present life. We therefore assume that our psychological makeup is molded from parental and social conditioning as well as our genetic inheritance. Factors like complexes, patterning, personal myths, scripts and family of origin etc. are believed to influence our characters. These have been used to explain how our psyche has been affected by our childhood experiences and/or our genetic inheritance. Modern psychology is predominantly based on this model.
What this model fails to provide suitable explanations for are the instances wherein many people are found to possess special gifts and character traits that cannot be due to their family history or genetic inheritance. It also cannot explain why two people with identical family history and genetic inheritance often have vastly varying and sometimes diametrically opposite character traits and behavior. This model is therefore incomplete in its understanding of the human psyche. This is the reason why it has had an insignificant success rate when it comes to treating most psychological disorders and ailments.
Any search for a fully integrated model, which can provide the answers to all the questions that remain unanswered using the present model, leads us to the study of reincarnation. Reincarnation is the missing link, which helps us to complete our understanding. Once we realize that we are eternal beings who have lived many lifetimes before this one, we can easily understand that our psyche represents the sum total of all experiences of all our lifetimes including the present one. This explains how our character, situations and conditions in the present life have their roots in our past lives. Past life activities, past life habits, past life patterns, traumatic experiences in the past lives, emotionally charged events from past lives and many more past life experiences all together make up our present self and character structure.
The main reason for reincarnating is to learn lessons. Reincarnation and Karma are thus interrelated. However, this does not apply to those who choose to reincarnate to teach others and help them to grow spiritually. Before we reincarnate, we choose the circumstances, parents, social conditions and situations into which we are born so as to give us the ideal conditions for learning the lessons that we have set out to learn in this lifetime. Hence current family genetics and psychological environments are not mainly responsible for our psychological makeup. They are only the vehicles for the expression of the soul and serve to bring about the interplay of factors required for the natural unfolding of the karmic drama.
Karma is not Punishment: It is very important for us to understand that Karma is not a system of punishment put in place by a higher authority. The common misconception is that the laws of Karma operate in such a manner as to punish us for our so-called 'wrong doings'. The punishment is always self-inflicted from the karmic point of view. Strong Identification with patterns of guilt leads to a need to punish oneself, and therefore the punishment is invariably self-inflicted punishment