This is part IV of the series ‘the supreme creation’` KARMAS: Having understood soul and prakriti, understanding the law of karma is significant as karma gets embedded in the soul to manifest with the aid of prakriti. To understand the theory of karma, the basic requirement is the principle of immortality of the soul and its transmigration. When a soul transmigrated into a gross body, the soul is called jivatma. The final liberation is only for this soul. Once the soul is liberated, it loses its unique quality of transmigration and merges into Paramatma or the Brahman. Nobody knows how long it will take for a soul to merge with the Brahman. This largely depends upon the quality of the soul. Liberation of the soul is different from the soul reaching the heaven. The concept of heaven and hell may not be a reality. At the most, they can be referred to as the resting place for the soul for a short duration. After leaving a physical body at the time of death, the soul migrates to akash or ether un-affected by other base elements. There could be many such souls in the ether. It is invisible as it is said to be much smaller than an atom. The thought of heaven and hell could have been conceived by saints and sages simply to make us to understand and differentiate between good and bad deeds. If one is frightened with the sufferings in hell, naturally he will think twice before executing an evil act.

In the same way, one is induced to perform righteous acts to enjoy the comforts of the heaven. Therefore, one may not take serious cognizance of heaven and hell. But at the same time, it is to be remembered that performing good or bad deeds certainly has an impact on the soul, which could certainly manifest in the physical body. Before we proceed further, let us understand how karma unfolds. Newton’s third law states that for every action, there will be an equal and opposite reaction. Same is the principle applied to the law of karmas. Karmas are divided to four categories. They are Sanchitam, Prarabdham, Kriyamanam and Agamyam. Sanchitha karmas refer to our previous actions. We do not know about the actions done in our previous births. Prarabdha karma is a portion of the Sanchitha karma which unfolds in our present life. These two karmas are to be experienced by us at any cost. Kriyamana karmas are those that we accrue out of our actions in our present life. Agamya karma is the sum total of the karmas at the end of the present life. There is only one exception to this rule. If our Kriyamana karmas (the karmas we do in this life) are exceptionally good, then there is a possibility that the effects of sanchita karma may not be extremely adverse. The agamya karma is arrived thus. Sanchita karmas + or- Prarabdha karmas + or – kriyamana karmas = agamya karmas. Agamya karma is a bundle that is carried by the soul to manifest in our future births. Depending upon the first three, agamya karma may be zero also. This means, there will no rebirth and the soul has attained liberation. There is a definite path by which karmas are stored, to manifest in the subsequent births. This again is based on the effects of good or bad deeds that we had performed in the previous births. These are stored as samskaras or subliminal impressions. Impressions are the traces of net karmas of earlier births. These subliminal impressions produce vasanas. Vasanas can be explained as ‘willingly empowered desires’ that are bound to unfold at any future births. These vasanas if bad, induces the mind and body to perform evil acts, resulting in the accumulation of bad karmas causing further rebirths merely to undergo sufferings. If vasanas are good, even then, it causes rebirths, but instead of sufferings, one may enjoy pleasures.

Rebirths can be avoided only if we dissociate ourselves from the fruits of our actions. Samskaras and vasanas directly affect karma. Karma in turn influences the soul to unfold in the form of physical and mental miseries. Whatever happens in this life is due to two factors. One is due to the unfolding of karma and the second is due to the cause of future karma. All our actions are recorded in our karmic instrument. Unfolding of karma can never be averted; however, the cause of future karma can surely be prevented. Fate and destiny are very often wrongly interpreted. No doubt, these are pre determined by the law karma. At the same time, one cannot sit back and undergo miseries and sufferings citing fate and destiny, the products of karma as the reason. Though nothing can be significantly altered during this life, by performing righteous actions, the future sufferings can surely be avoided. In short, we can say that one’s spiritual pursuit largely determines the pleasure or pain one gets as karma alone is accountable for the manifestation of the soul. That is why law of karma is called the law of the Lord, as the Lord never transcends His own laws. This is the reason why one has to undergo sufferings and miseries in spite of pursuing spiritual path in this life. (to be continued)