Upanishads by and large describe the Brahman by negations and affirmations. Brahman cannot be physically described because He does not have a form. Brahman is nothing but potentially existing energy that is neither apparent nor realized. Manifestation of the Brahman in all shapes and forms is the reality and due to lack of adequate knowledge, shapes and forms are realised by us as independent entities. This deceptive and shallow knowledge is known as maya. Kausitaki Upanishad (Ch.1) says “the one who involves in actions like yajna reaches the Heaven. This is because by doing auspicious acts he accumulates good karmic account. Once this positive account is exhausted, he is reborn. The other one, who understands this truth, performs actions without attaching importance to the fruits of his actions. He transcends the Heaven, merges with the Brahman and is not reborn.” It is now apparent that reaching the Heaven is not the end of journey for a soul. Heaven or any such planes are only places of sojourn for a soul.
Karma accrues not only through thoughts and actions, but also through desire. Desire could be in any form. It could be in the form of greed, affection, lust, etc. Desire can be explained as the feeling that accompanies an unsatisfied state of mind. Therefore, desire largely depends upon one’s deprivations. Desire becomes instauration point of mind affliction. Scriptures accentuate so much of importance for withering desire, knowing its potency to cause across-the-board infliction on one’s karmic account. Ancient Tamil treatise of Thriumular (Thirumular Thirumantiram) says “Sunder your desires even for Shiva. If you have more desires, you have more sorrows. The more you give up, the more your bliss shall be (verse 2615).” The Sage says that one should not have desire even for the Brahman. When soul was originally created by the Brahman, it was endowed with free will and the creation was meant to exist that way only. God did not contemplate any law for the souls as He decided that souls should be controlled by their own free will. God has endowed the souls with unrestricted freedom to think and act. Souls started abusing this free grace of God by perverting the free will and failing to realize that they are bound by law of karma, which is also known as law of the Lord. This law will never be made flexible. Right from the day of creation, this law has not undergone any amendments. This failure to understand the reality is known as ignorance.
Newton’s third law is “for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.” Law of karma by and large is based on this theory. For an action done with intent on the fruit of action, that action has to be neutralized by a reaction on the same plane where the original action had taken place. If someone at some point of time in his life tortures an animal, in future births the reverse action takes place when the soul of the animal tortures the soul of the man. But their gross forms could differ. But neither of them knows whether this is an original action or a reaction. Original action means that reaction is to happen subsequently. Reaction means, equal and opposite reaction to an original action that had already taken place. Law of karma can also be called as the law of cause and effect. As we sow, so we reap. Karma is one single factor that decides the destiny of a life. Karmic imprints on a soul unfold through a physical body in which the soul incarnates. As discussed in part 2, the nature of incarnation of a soul depends upon the nature and potency of its karmic imprints. Karmic imprints are formed by body, mind and intellect. This is the reason for utmost importance given to these three in Self-realisation. Out of these three, intellect is only a spin-off of mind. When mind becomes purer, it is known as intellect. Basically, only the body and mind are responsible for all karmic afflictions. Body is the gross form of creation and mind becomes subtle form of creation. When one persists more in body than mind, he loses the God given opportunity of liberation or salvation, as final salvation can be attained only through a human birth. It is also widely believed that traces of previous births are always found in the present birth. Plato calls the souls as ‘un-generated and immortal”. Possibly Plato’s definition can be explained this way. It is un-generated because souls exist right from the beginning of creation and immortal because, souls being subtle matters cannot be destroyed.