The Karmas and our destiny

Vidyasankar Sundaresan vidya at CCO.CALTECH.EDU
Tue Jul 8 19:51:55 CDT 1997

> SO how does one answer oneself that karmas can be burnt,
>  and
> eventually even the prarabhda karmas will run thier course.
> I feel it is important to have this cleared out..

The logical position of advaita is extremely clear about this. Destiny is
just the sum total of the fruits of all previous actions. Now, some of
these karmas have already started coming to fruition (prArabdha) while
some more karmas are yet to bear fruit (sancita). If actions continue,
they will also have their fruit in the future (Agamin).

Now, avidyA is the root cause of any karma, just like cloth is a cause of
a dress. If the cloth is burnt, there is no more dress. Only the ash
remains, maybe in the form of the dress, to be swept away. Similarly when
avidyA is removed, the karma is also burnt up, although the external form
might remain. This is what is described as prArabdha karma running their
own course.

If you take the position that all future actions are predestined, and
that one is helpless against such a superhuman force, you might as well
deny any possibility of attaining jnAna, or else, make jnAna itself just
an adventitious outcome of favorable karma. But that is never the case.
To talk about free will and destiny as if either is an absolute, is to
grant more than is due to these two. Destiny and free will have no
existence apart from each other. By exercising free will, one brings upon
a certain destiny, which then offers more opportunities for exercising
free will, which creates yet more destiny. We can use the same free will
to acquire jnAna, thereby breaking the cycle of destiny and free will.
There is a clear way out of the cycle that has been taught from the
ancient upanishads down to the recent Ramana Maharishi - namely Atma

Read the yoga vAsishTa - there are answers to many of your questions


More information about the Advaita-l mailing list