Showing posts with label karma. Show all posts
Showing posts with label karma. Show all posts

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 



Saturday, July 22, 2023

Oppenheimer & the Power of Kriya Yoga

  “Let pranayam be thy religion…” – the power of Kriya Yoga

There’s a new movie in the theatres: Oppenheimer. It’s the story of Robert Oppenheimer, “Father of the Atomic Bomb” and the ambivalence he felt upon successfully detonating the first bomb. There’s antidote bomb, however: this one brought from India by our guru in 1920: Kriya Yoga.

The historian Arnold Toynbee wrote that “While the West conquered the East with guns and bombs, the East will conquer the West with love.”

This reminds me of Mahatma Gandhi’s humorous but dry quip when he was asked “Mr Gandhi. What do you think about Western civilization?” Gandhi’s reply was, “I think it would be a good idea!”

There is another class of scientists — yogis and rishis — who long go unlocked the secret of the soul’s powers. These scientists revealed that the power of Mother Nature has its source in the power of Divine Mother and, to be beneficial, the two must be harmonized. The intelligent life force which creates, sustains and withdraws the worlds is known as prana.
Divine Mother knows that we humans desperately need
divine love as the antidote of to our destructive potential.

As science reveals the reality that matter is more than what it appears on the surface and is vastly different on the inside, so does the soul know things the ego but dimly remembers: our immortality; our true nature as joy; our power to rise above suffering; and, our innate power over matter and death, itself.

In the past, great saints have overcome the hypnosis of matter, body and ego by heroic acts of sacrifice in service, asceticism, prayer and devotion. But Paramhansa Yogananda, sent by a line of Self-realized masters, has brought a new dispensation: the airplane route, as he called it — kriya yoga — to accelerate the journey of transcendence to a people for whom the bullock cart of spiritual progress is inadequate and for whom there is a great need of stronger spiritual medicine.

As energy awareness is the characteristic consciousness of Dwapara Yuga, so the path to transcendence in Dwapara Yuga flies on the wings of energy: Kriya Yoga.

To transcend duality, we must re-trace upward the stages of creation down through which we have come: first, we remove the veil, or kosha, of matter to reveal the energy (or life force) of the astral body. Next, we remove the kosha that hides the causal or ideational body wherein dwells our soul, the true son of God. From there, step by step through the stages of samadhi we advance upward into the blissful Spirit beyond the created worlds.

The Kriya path is described poetically in the words to Sri Yukteswar’s chant, Desire My Great Enemy. Desire symbolizes the hypnosis of the world of matter and the chant counsels the devotee to go within to the body of energy, or prana. The entire creation is alive with energy. This energy is Divine and may be, in a sense, worshipped as the indwelling Spirit so far as we can contact it through the kriya key. Yogananda counsels us to “worship on the altar of the spine.”

As the Spirit vibrates creation first through causal-intention and then more grossly via energy, or prana, prana can be said to be the channel for God’s presence. What is God's presence if not grace? When we cooperate with prana and its potential to rise upward to the higher chakras, then we cooperate with grace. I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth. Psalm 121.

We know instinctively that when we are happy our center of pranic gravity rises as we look up, feel lighter, and stand taller. Heaven is above, and hell below, because in the human astral body these are realities based on the energy centers of the chakras.

What makes it difficult to rise and stay “aloft” however, is the downward pulling gravity of past karma, hiding in the astral body along the astral spine in the form of vibrating seeds, or vrittis. Their relative karmic weight as to heavy, medium or light depends on which chakra they are associated with. The lower three chakras contain the more materialistic desires, habits and tendencies. The upper three chakras contain lighter attachments.

The Kriya technique is designed to first energize, then dislodge, and then burn up or consume these vrittis that hold us down before they can ripen into outward form of karmic circumstances where defeating them is far more difficult.

Like the Greek hero, Sisyphus, our efforts in this regard are doomed to repeated failure without the aid of extra pranic power, which is to say, the grace of God and guru. To practice kriya with only will power is to reenact the hubris and receive the punishment meted out to Sisyphus.[1] Thus we always begin our kriya meditation with a prayer to the kriya masters. Throughout the practice we silently invoke Master’s presence and power, seeing these as the key to the success in kriya practice and seeing our efforts as cooperation with prana’s power to free us from past bad karma.

Kriya practice will be energized by the practice of Yogananda’s Energization Exercises which will help us become more aware of both energy but also the source of that energy in the astral spine. The gift of kriya is itself a part of the ray of divine light, the new dispensation that has been offered to us. As Lahiri Mahasaya, Yogananda’s param guru said of the only photograph taken of him, “to those who see this photo as a blessing it is that; to those who see only a photograph, it is only that.” So too for kriya yoga: for those who see it as Master’s grace, power and presence, it is that. To those who see only a technique for self-empowerment, they will get a little improvement but nothing permanent. This is so because in part the spinal currents constantly rotate around one another, never stopping. It is our devotion and attunement to the guru that draws forth the power of grace hidden in prana and needed to neutralize the currents completely and enter the breathless state.

Living more in the spine and especially feeling the pranic currents of the astral spine is to bath in the Ganges of Spirit, the River of Life; it is baptism in the Holy Spirit, Holy Aum. As the characteristic feature of Energization is energy; and that of the Hong Sau technique is peace, the Aum technique, the inner sounds, so the characteristic feature of Kriya is the bliss of the soul. As your contact with the astral spinal currents becomes more frequent and more intense you will begin to recognize their signature and the feeling of their presence. Their signature can take many forms but all stem in one way or another from the vibration of bliss; of joy; of energy. Sometimes it is a general euphoria; other times specific to the currents themselves. Swami Kriyananda has described the pleasurable intensity of meditation as “delicious,” thrilling to one’s very core.

Banat, banat ban jai! Doing, doing…….soon done! Never give up.

Swami Hrimananda

[1] His punishment for his pride was to roll a large stone up a mountain and have it roll back down again and thus to repeat this futile and endless task for an eternity.