The word Karma can have different meanings depending upon the context in which it is used. It can mean action only, or action as well as the reaction to the action.
Karma can also mean a chain of actions and reactions which form a karmic network of karma and not just one karmic chain. Depending on the thoughts behind the actions, Karmas can either take you closer to God or further away from God. Karma Bhoga is action or actions that are based on human desires, which are usually contrary to the Divine Will and bind us to the objects or our desire. Karma Yoga is an action or actions that are in keeping with the Divine Will and do not cause any bondage. So, every action can either take one closer to God or further away from God. For this reason, it is important to watch one’s thoughts and be mindful. The sacred texts of SSG contain many Discourses on how one can grow spiritually through mindfulness and through Karma Yoga based upon the Divine Plan for an individual. SSG teaches that God has a plan for every aspect of creation. So instead of planning out one’s life, SSG teaches that we should fit into the Divine Plan for us. When we pursue our own desires, we add to our personal karmic load and expand the web of karma.
The wheel of karma began when Lucifer chose to go his own way because this is the point at which creation began to fall away from the Source of Sources and diverged from the Divine Plan. Thus, the wheel of karma began even before Spirit involved into matter, and ever since then all of us who are pursuing our own dreams and desires are adding to and expanding the wheel of karma.
Each thought that one dwells upon and remains attached to, leaves an impress on one’s soul whether or not one manifests it in action in pursuit of one’s desire. Moreover, all the thoughts that we fill our human mind with and which are not emptied out, eventually sink from the conscious plane of our human mind down to the subconscious and unconscious planes of the human mind. The unconscious plane of the human mind is the one that is closest to the mind of one’s soul So, at the time of death, thoughts which are in the unconscious plane of the human mind sink into and leave an impress on the mind of one’s soul. These impressions on one’s soul are what are referred to as “Prarabhda karmas” in Vedic terminology. So long as a soul has these Prarabhda karmas impressed upon it, it will have to be born repeatedly on the plane of matter. Unfortunately, instead of taking the opportunity provided by life to empty out these Prarabhda karmas, almost all human beings add to the burden of the soul by creating fresh karmas that get impressed upon the soul. According to the Vedic belief system, a soul takes birth 8.4 million times before it finally purges all the Prarabdha karmas. However, according to Dr. Dinshah K. Mehta, this 8.4 million births is not standard for every soul. Some souls are able to empty themselves of these karmas in fewer lifetimes, whereas other souls remain bound and have to be born 8.4 million times 8.4 million, ad infinitum.
As was said earlier, human beings are the highest creation on earth, and man, which includes woman, is the only creation that is endowed with a free will. Man is also the only creation through which a soul can become liberated by emptying out the conscious, the subconscious and the unconscious mind as well as the impresses on the soul known as Prarabhda karmas. So, reincarnation in human form is a great opportunity for souls to grow beyond the earth plane unto the spiritual planes, eventually becoming one with God. Much of this will depend on the state of evolution of the soul that incarnates into the human form. This will also depend very much on the consciousness of the parents before, during, and after the time of physical union. The consciousness of the mother during the gestation period also affects the vibration of the fetus in the womb, and this, in turn, determines the quality of the soul that gets linked up with the developing fetus and incarnates through the child. So, if at the time of copulation, the minds of the parents are focused on creating an opportunity for a higher soul to incarnate, then at the time of conception, it is more likely that a higher soul will be attracted to incarnate in that particular fetus. The SSG teaches that this is one of the reasons that the procreative instinct is a powerful tool that can be used to help liberate souls.
* Note: for a detailed discussion of Karma, refer to the book by Bahram Shahmardaan entitled:
- Karma: Its Basis, Its Nature, Its Source
- How Karma Binds Us to the Cycles of Birth Life and Death
- How You Can Free Yourself From the Wheel of Karma