Thursday, November 30, 2023

How to Outwit Bad Karma!

 How to Outwit Bad Karma! 


There is a way out of bad karma, but the “way” is narrow and straight and “you” get left behind. You want to hear more? 

What is karma? Karma is the self-balancing after-effects of previous actions, including thoughts and emotions, not just physical deeds. Thus, the term “karma” includes what is ordinarily considered “good” karma as well as “bad.” However, most casual uses of the term “karma” tend to assume “bad” karma.  

What, then is “bad” karma? Bad karma is the unwanted boomerang effects of your previous not-so-laudable actions. If you purposely hurt someone (physically or emotionally) you might expect the law of karma to dictate that you will be hurt in return (whether by the person you hurt or another person). Good karma would be the kindness that returns to you for having been kind to others.  

The law of karma can be seen in the law of physics that states that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. In nature, we would refer to the law of karma as the principle of cause and effect. Whether in science or human behavior, our expectations assume the law of causation even though we often cannot see the chain of causes that lead to a specific effect. We would go crazy if our world was not so governed. Life would not be worth living if we could not reasonably expect to exchange good habits for bad habits; if we could not improve our skills, our health, or our relationships. Science wouldn’t exist to improve our lives if experiments could not be duplicated dependably.  

This fundamentally important aspect of human life is akin to the law of gravity. Our lives would be in disarray if gravity did not hold sway on our planet. 

The justice system metes out greater punishment to evil deeds that are done intentionally as compared to accidental misdeeds. This recognizes the importance of intention. Intention reflects consciousness and the implicit participation of doership. Thus, karma is tied to the degree of conscious intention and awareness.  

Doership therefore holds the key to karma: good or bad. Accidents that I cause generate karma (effects) that cannot be changed but their boomerang impact on me sometime in the future is lessened for not having caused the accident intentionally. If I accidentally kill a pedestrian with my car on a dark and rainy night, I certainly incur karma but it is not the same as my committing “first-degree” murder.  

So how to beat my “bad” karma? There are several stages each of which relates to the degree of my ego involvement. 

Stage One: Practice Stoicism Practicing “stoicism” or non-attachment and non-reactivity reduces the tendency to ADD more karma while, at the same time, mitigates the impact of “incoming” or “ripening” karma. Stage One is therefore very efficient.  

Whether “good” or “bad” karma, the solution is the same. I’ll explain why we want to address “good” karma and not just “bad” karma. 

For my purposes, Stoicism is synonymous with non-attachment. One of the most famous aphorisms of the Yoga Sutras is stanza two which defines enlightenment as the neutralization of the mental reactive process to circumstances, thoughts, emotions, memories, and imaginationThis does not imply one becomes an automaton. Rather, to be non-reactive means to be calm and non-attached. There are countless layers of this state, but in the yoga tradition deep meditation is the key. But as the philosophers of Stoicism counsel us, it can begin with seeing life philosophically, meaning, from the God’s-eye point of view. 

Paramhansa Yogananda, author of the now-famous life story, “Autobiography of a Yogi,” gave this advice: “What comes of itself, let it come. Conditions are always neutral; they may seem happy or sad owing only to the attitudes of the mind.” 

Calmness and non-attachment are not the same as apathy, however. Apathy dulls the mind and awareness, and, to a degree, apathy steals from us the power of self-control. It thus undermines our ability to act calmly. Calmness and non-attachment require presence of mind to uphold their power when circumstances become intense, whether with success, failure, pleasure or pain. Presence of mind requires willpower and centeredness.  

Using will power and the power of habit to remain neutral is easy for the small things but close to impossible for most people when the big tests come.  

Meditation is a far more effective practice for developing consistency in achieving non-attachment. There are, however, many degrees and types of meditation. Meditation that is practiced devoid of spiritual attitudes and wisdom is far less effective than when practiced in its traditional context of devotion, selflessness, self-control, and openness to wise counsel. 

The reason I include “good” karma is that “every coin has two sides.” How can we achieve even-mindedness if we get excited over good fortune but pretend to remain even-minded in misfortune? You will find that the practice of non-attachment will impact your response to both good and bad circumstances. Non-attachment is the steady development of calmness under all circumstances. There is a deeper reason for this equality, however.  

The deeper purpose and power of Stage One is that it prepares us to detach the sense of doership from all actions: both good and bad. While intentional calmness can take us to the brink of what I will call Stage Two, it cannot by itself, cannot carry us over the finish line. 

Stage Two: Soul Consciousness. Human beings have the power to withdraw beyond the realm of causation, away from the play of opposites and boomerangs! The soul is forever free of karma for it is made in the image of God. As we accept divine guidance from within, we achieve freedom from karma. Daily meditation and inner communion with God, attuning one’s human will to the silent voice of intuition is the way out from the soul-degrading serfdom to habits and the reactive process. 

Moral reasoning; scriptural interpretations; pleading emotions; these are rooted in ego consciousness and ego consciousness is the problem. When the ego is transcended in soul-consciousness, the law of karma is transcended also. When there’s no whirling vortex of “I” and “mine” the chain of causation is cut. Our actions, guided by the divine will, accrue to the benefit of others. 

God who created the law of karma suspends the sentence of judgment for those souls who are united to Him. The way to escape the decrees of cosmic law is to live in divine consciousness.  

No matter how busy we are, we should strive in the inner silence to attune ourselves with God. By silent devotion we can deepen our awareness of divine love and wisdom. God is above the law. 

(Note the text above includes excerpts from the Wisdom of Yogananda: Karma and Reincarnation. Published by 

Joy to you! 

Swami Hrimananda 




Anonymous said...

You are doing religious practice as per shri yogananda.eating habits don't affect religious practice.but i get confused because of hindu.tell me what to do when i eat non veg.does god permits this worship

Nayaswami Hriman said...

God watches the heart; not the belly! As Jesus put it: What comes out of a man's mouth is what can make him impure; not what goes into it.

Vegetarianism has benefits but is not a religion.