Karma: Understanding the basics

By Paramahansa Jagadish

The understanding of karma is central to Eastern spirituality including Hindu, Jain and Buddhist views. Karma and ethics begins with the premise that every action has a consequence, which will come to fruition in either this or in future lives. Simply put, morally good acts will have positive consequences and bad acts, or acts that cause suffering, will produce negative results. An individual's present situation is, or can be, thereby explained by reference to actions in his present and/or previous lifetimes. Karma is not itself ‘reward and punishment’, but the law producing consequence. We might refer to this as a will to balance or to resolution.

Karma influences our humanity and is held in three planes of consciousness – the soul plane, astral plane and the physical plane. These three planes may be related to the personal (soul plane), the collective (astral plane) and the earth (the physical plane). All forms of karma are sourced from at least one of these planes of consciousness.

Good Karma is considered “Dharma” and leads to punya (merit). Bad Karma is considered Adharma and leads to pap (demerit or sin). In ethics, one’s intentions, attitudes and desires matter in the evaluation of one’s action. Karmic theory considers not only the action, but also the actor’s intentions, attitude and desires before and during the action. In other words the motivation of our actions carry a weight in the accruing or purifying of our individual karmas. The karma concept thus encourages each person to seek and live a moral life, as well as the avoiding of an immoral life. The meaning and significance of karma is thus a building block of an ethical society.

There are several types of Karma that could be explored, including:

Personal Karma….is your particular individual souls’ karma. It is the unresolved energy which lies between your mind and your heart which creates discord and does not allow you to live in perfect harmonious action. This karma comes from one’s soul.

Family Karma: Your family’s karma can be considered extended personal karma and are the acts and deeds made as a family unit which includes the ancestors. Unresolved energy can be held between your heart and all of those in your family lines, hindering your heart from being fully open to members in your family and receiving beneficial assistance from your ancestors. Family karma is also sourced from the soul plane and the astral plane.

Ancestral Karma…When our ancestors were alive, they had their own beliefs, attitudes and desires that created their own karma. Upon death, those desires were still present, but there was no longer a means by which to fulfill them, since the soul was no longer in a human body on the physical plane. Ancestral Karma is inherited and when our ancestors’ karma is cleared, they then become more open, free and wise. As they heal, we heal and so does the rest of the planet.

Collective Karma… is the unresolved energy held between your heart and the heart of humanity as a whole. This Karma creates a blockage and hinders your relations with your fellow humans and all of the kingdoms of beings in this universe as well. This karma is present from the astral plane and triggers the participation from our personal karma from the soul plane as well as earth plane karmas.

Planetary Karma: Your soul’s karma with the earth – this is the unresolved energy held between your heart and Mother Earth. This is the karma you must balance to feel one with Mother Earth and to be fully balanced and in harmony. Planetary karma is sourced from the soul plane and physical plane. This form of karma affects your physical reality more than any other karma.

Karma springs from all your past lives and carries forward. If not cleared, you can become imprisoned by these very karmic patterns and issues. If you’re not truly happy, at peace, fulfilled, or haven’t realized unconditional love, then your True Nature is obscured. Clearing away these negative karmic patterns is the focus of the Karma Clearing/Ancestral Karma Clearing sessions.

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