FAQ Karma & Reincarnation

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Loopholes in Law of Karma     

This chapters answers the following questions, ability to detect loopholes in the law of karma, why is that prayers of some sages work, how can anybody give part of their life to somebody else and what happens at the time of death.

Q.16 Ability to detect loopholes in the law of karma?
A.16 The purpose of DESTINY is to determine when we will die and when and how we will be born. The goal of yoga is to attain the highest state of samadhi, for in this state we are totally free from the subtle traces of our karmas (Yoga Sutra 1:18,51). Then if all karmic seeds are destroyed, we attain freedom from the cycle of death and birth and all that lies in between. We also gain perfect vision, the highest form of intuitive knowledge, and come to know the truth in its fullness; we become adept - a yogi in the fullest sense of the word. We have reached a realm, which shines through its own intrinsic light.

The scriptures recount stories of adepts who have attained complete freedom from their karmic traces and have consequently risen above the law of karma and the world ruled by it. They have reached such a high state of freedom that, while living in the realm of divine providence, they can create or dismantle karmic strands at will. Their destiny is dead and they have become immortal. With the disappearance of karma and destiny, their intuitive wisdom is no longer obstructed and they can see the karmas and destinies of others clearly. This gives them the ability to detect the loopholes in the law of karma and use these loopholes to serve others. From time to time they descend from the realm of divine providence to help and guide those caught in the karmic whirlpool. To see how this is done, let’s turn to the following story

Story - In the 15th century the city of Kashi had two great saints, Tulsidas and Baba Kinaram (BK in short), both famous for their miraculous powers. One day barren women went to see Tulsidas hoping she would bless her so that she could conceive. When the sage used his intuitive powers he saw that the women’s destiny did not reveal a single karmic strand that would make her a mother. So he sent her away saying he could not help.

Not willing to give up she visited BK and told him what Tulsidas said. BK confirmed what Tulsidas said. Seeing the women burst into tears BK said lovingly “Do not worry, Mother. Come with me”. He took her to a neem tree in his ashram that he had planted and tended for years. “You have hundreds of children, he said. Please share one of them with this woman. Her descendants will take care of your children”. In due course the lady had a boy. Tulsidas was puzzled, went into deep meditation to find out how the barren women came to have a baby, but he could not see reason. Finally he turned his consciousness towards God, who explained:

“After investigating and not finding a baby in her destiny, BK asked me to bless her with a child. And when I told him that was not possible BK argued with me, saying that I was a useless God if all I could provide was what destiny already had in store. So I guided him to the neem tree, which through my inspiration gladly agreed to give this woman one of her children”.        End Story

Q.17 Why is that prayers of some sages work?
A.17 Now the question is Why do the prayers of an adept like Baba Kinaram work, while, ours do not? The answer is clear such masters are from “here” and fully connected “there”. With the sword of knowledge, they have cut the rope of karma and burned it in their yogic fire. Primordial nature, prakriti, has withdrawn its veil from their third eye, the seat of intuitive knowledge. They are not motivated by reward or punishment, and yet they are always in the service of the Divine Being. Nature finds great pleasure in serving such adepts.

Just as we can see physical objects through our eyes, these masters are able to see subtle forces of the senses, mind, ego, and intellect, as well as the unconscious mind and the subtle impressions stored there. The fourth dimension-time is as clearly visible to them as the objects of the three dimensional world are to us. By paying attention to the time principle they can clearly see what we have done in our past, because our actions, as well as their results, are subject to the forces of time and space. That is why yogis say that Every object and the experience related to it are conditioned by time, space, and the causal Forces behind the object and the experience. These three - time, space, and causation - are inextricably linked. The yogis who have transcended the realm of time and space can clearly see the causal seeds - the destiny - of other beings whose consciousness still operates within the realm of time, space, and causation. These yogis alone can detect the loopholes in the law of karma.

In the above story with Baba Kinaram’s intervention, the neem tree shared one of her children, and in return the descendants of that women became the caretakers of neem trees. This reciprocal relationship upheld the law of karma by intertwining the destinies of the tree and the woman’s descendants, thereby creating a situation of give and take.

Also sometimes it is necessary to create entirely new karmic strands, as was the case when the sage Durvasa had to discover a sophisticated way to reweave the fabric of destiny when five souls free from all karmas decided to incarnate as the children of Kunti.

Story - Kunti was destined to be blessed with five children but her husband’s destiny was to die if he had a sexual relationship with his wife. Kunti’s destiny also dictated that she would be such a loyal wife. So in order to bring these five souls sage Durvasa visited Kunti. She served him well during his stay, so while leaving, he invited her to ask him for anything. Confused she said, “Please give me something that I would need in life”. Durvasa gave her a mantra and explained the method of practicing it, as well as its intended effect. He said that through its power she could invoke the forces of nature to fulfill her desires.

Several years later she married King Pandu and soon realized that she would lose her husband if she slept with him. Overjoyed to know about the mantra the king asked her to invoke Dharma, the cosmic counterpart of truth and virtue which resides in all beings and ask for a son. She meditated on the mantra; intent on Dharma and the divine force appeared to grant her five sons at different points of time.  End Story

Q.18 How can anybody give part of their life to someone else?
A.18 What does it mean? Since birth in a particular species and the life span in that particular body are totally dependent on destiny, how can longevity, which is interwoven with the stream of time, be split and shared with someone else” In this case, by giving him sixteen years of his own life, Vyasa shared his destiny with Shankaracharya. He did not rearrange the strands of secondary karmas, help him exchange or link his karmas to those of another person, or create a new karma to attach to the main strand of his destiny. Instead, Vyasa extended Shankaracharya’s destiny by adding his own to it. All along, Shankaracharya had possessed the capacity to extend his own life, but he did not do so. His karmic obligations were complete and he was personally free from the law of karma, but he still accepted his destiny. Only when divine providence motivated Vyasa to intervene did Shankaracharya agree to stay in the body.

Sometimes, instead of detecting loopholes in the law of karma, or creating new karmic strands, or intervening directly in someone’s karma, a great master will create a situation in which someone can get in touch with their own spiritual samskaras and spontaneously strengthen them. The next story explains how the unconscious contents of the mind come forward at the time of death, how the most powerful samskara takes the lead, and how an enlightened master can help us at that time.

The story is too long so am just sharing the conclusion. The scriptures are replete with examples of sages like Narada, Durvasa, Hanuman, Gorakh Natha and dozens of others who came to the rescue of those whose lives had been touched by the grace of God but who were momentarily caught in a karmic whirlpool. By intervening the sages served as conduits of divine grace.

Narada intervened in the story because he noticed that Ajmail had a powerful spiritual samskara that had been veiled by the samskara of lust and self-indulgence. So Narada created a situation by which Ajmail could get in touch with his spiritual samskaras thereby conquer other samskaras that would have otherwise dominated his mind - field during the time of his death.

The saints tell us that a human being cannot have right thinking without satsanga – the company of wise people and it is impossible to be blessed with satsanga without the grace of God. Even though God’s grace is unconditional, they say, a person becomes worthy of containing it through good karmas. These in turn instigate events that lead to the sages intervening with destiny on behalf of divine prudence.

Having said that that Divine intervention is rare. That is why yogis adamantly advise us: “Enlighten yourself, for no else can give you salvation”.

Q.19 What happens at the time of death?
A.19 To understand this better, let’s takes a careful look at what happens during the time of death. Obviously, we stop breathing. But before we do, certain signs and symptoms of impending death manifest in the breath when death is the result of a lingering illness or old age. The breath gradually becomes shallow, and the pause between inhalation and exhalation lengthens. Then as lack of oxygen causes the thinking process to deteriorate, conscious, linear thinking gradually vanishes; awareness begins to shift between the conscious and unconscious states. The conscious mind, which works in coordination with the brain, nervous systems, and senses, begins to lose its grip, and the unconscious takes over. The dying person is neither fully conscious nor completely unconscious.

In this confused state we are no longer capable of employing the senses and brain to gather data from the external world and process it in a systematic manner, nor can we consciously and systematically retrieve data from the unconscious. Confusion dominates both the conscious and unconscious minds. Mastery over the self disappears and our sense of self-identity becomes muddled. In this disjointed state the unconscious mind takes over, allowing an entirely different world - one composed of our karmic impressions - to emerge.

At the moment of death there is usually so much pulling and pushing going on in different levels of our being-body, breath, nervous system, and brain, as well as our conscious and unconscious minds - that there is no time to think about philosophy. Any philosophy or faith that has not become an integral part of our psyche during our lifetime fades away. Accumulated samskaras, not only from this lifetime but also from all previous lifetimes, spontaneously cloud the mind-field. The strongest samskaras group of samskaras take the lead.

But if at this juncture we can exercise our power of will and determination and maintain conscious control over ourselves, we can fill our inner realm with the train of thought of our choice. Confusion can exist only when clarity is lacking - clarity is knowledge; confusion is maya (the veil of ignorance). When we realize that death is upon us and that body, breath, and conscious mind are about to fall apart, we can use our chosen train of thought as a vehicle in which to migrate voluntarily from the conscious to the unconscious mind, and this will prevent us from falling into confusion. It will allow us to enter the unconscious not as a slave, but as a master.

If the train of thought we use as a vehicle is imbued with divine awareness, it can illuminate the realm of the unconscious, and we will not fall victim to an apparently random stream of unconscious contents. On the other hand, if we cannot maintain conscious control, we will be totally dependent on the nature of our mind’s unconscious contents, which could be heavenly, or hellish, or a mixture of both. That is why the scriptures tell us that our train of thought at the time of death determines where we will go after we die.

The scriptures and learned masters say in one voice that the train of thought at the moment of death also determines the exact nature of next birth. How we go out determines how we come back. Samskaras dictate the train of thought a person will have at the time of death. They also dictate how the pranic forces will disconnect themselves from the different limbs and organs of the body, particularly which nadis (energy channels) will become active right before death, and from which of the ten gates in the body our consciousness will prevail. In the case of Ajamil, it is said he left the body through the fontanelle, the 10th highest gate. In the yogic tradition this is known as brahma dvara, the gateway to supreme consciousness.

Others who, due to their karmic entanglements, cannot reach and hold on to such an exalted state of awareness at the time of death are forced by nature to use one of the other nine gates. Thus, our samskaras, by determining our train of thought at the time of death, also determine which gate we are entitled to use, and therefore where we go after death. It is the process of death that contains the key to the mystery of birth, and it our karmas that determine the anatomy of death.