Gita Series – 162: Bhagavad Gita Chapter XVIII. Verse 12 – 16

The three kinds of fruits of actions – good, evil and mixed accrue after death, to those who have not renounced. But, for those who have renounced, nothing accrues after death. Arjuna, there are five types of causes for accomplishment of all actions, as per sāṅkhya yoga. They are the seat of action, the doer, sensory organs, functions of different organs and destiny. These five are the contributory factors for any actions, either right or wrong, performed by a person through his mind, speech and body. This being the reality, the one who thinks that only the Self is the doer is afflicted with perverted intelligence, does not understand the truth.”

For every action there is equivalent reaction that gets recorded in one’s karmic account. Karmic account not only records the results of one’s actions, but also his thoughts. Karmic afflictions of malicious thoughts are far more powerful than malicious actions. Since thoughts originate from the mind, it signifies the status of one’s mind. Unless the mind is purified, realisation and consequent liberation is not possible. When a soul is not liberated, it causes transmigrations. When a soul gets embodiment, the body undergoes pains and sufferings, but the soul remaining within remains the same, irrespective of the number of embodiments it takes due to the embedded karma. The sufferings and pains are only for the gross bodies and the mind. Karma does not cause agonies alone but also causes pleasures and happiness. It is also possible that one undergoes happiness and sorrow, either together or separately or alternatively. Karma is nothing but a tool that records one’s thoughts and actions, which is replayed either in the same birth or during subsequent births. There is no way that one can escape from the clutches of karma, except when one renounces the fruits of his actions. Actions do not cause karma, whereas the attachment to the end results of actions cause karmas. Hence, renunciation is prescribed as a remedy to avert karmas. The reactions in the form of karmas could be good, bad or neutral, depending upon the quality of actions performed without intent to renounce the fruits accruing to such actions. In order to attain liberation, one should not be concerned with the fruits of his actions.

For every action, there are five components. They are the field of action, the gross body; the doer, the subtle body, comprising of mind, intellect, consciousness and ego; sensory organs – organs of perception and action; functions of these organs like seeing, walking, etc; and destiny or the will of the Lord. Let us take an example as to how these five components together cause an action. The gross body is the shell of an automobile. The fuel is the subtle body. Gross and subtle bodies are interdependent and the one without the other is not possible. Without the fuel, the vehicle cannot move. The fuel alone does not make the vehicle to move. The fuel makes the engine to function and only the engine of the vehicle is the sensory organs. The engine does not make the vehicle to move. The kinetic energy produced by the engine makes the vehicle to move. This is the functionalities of the organs. The fifth one is the destiny. Destiny is nothing but the unfoldment of one’s karmic afflictions. Destiny decides the destination of a person and in the same way, the one who is at the wheels decides the destination of the vehicle. The concept of actions can be understood with ease with this analogy.

Effectively all the actions, either right or wrong, are performed through the perfect coordination between mind, speech and body. The mind decides, the speech conveys the decision of the mind and the body carries out the decision of the mind. For example, a person decides to visit his friend. He conveys his decision to his friend through a phone call and then drives to his friend’s place. Therefore, every action is decided by one’s own intellect and not by the Lord. Self is merely a witness to all the actions carried out at the command of the mind. Self neither influences nor modifies nor disapproves any of the actions. Every action done with ego gets recorded in one’s karmic account that gets unfolded either in this birth or in the subsequent births. If the same actions are done without ego, then karmic accounts does not get affected. If one believes that whatever is destined happens at the will of the Lord, then he is mistaken. One’s destiny is decided by his actions alone and the Lord never decides one’s destiny or fate. Everyone acts according to the law of karma, known as the Law of the Lord.

Further Readings:

Bhagavad Gita Chapter XVIII. 1 - 6

Bhagavad Gita Chapter XVIII. 7 - 11

Bhagavad Gita Chapter XVIII. 17 - 22