Karma and the programmings of the mind


July 2015.

A documentation and interpretation of the speech given by Anandhi-Korina Kontaxaki in our 3rd Philosophical Seminar 2015, by Eleni Cosma.


We take our own logic as absolute truth, yet this rational voice in our minds provides us with only one, limited point of view. Our point of view is coloured by our experiences (kleshas), which obstruct our view of a more objective, holistic truth, the truth of the universe, or God.

The obstruction of this view leads to the following chain:
CHITTA VRITIS =>KLESHAS => SAMSKARAS=> VASANAS => KARMA

As indicated in Sutra 2.13, from the moment that the Kleshas exist, they create Karma. As long as Karma exists, the cycle of life and death persists.

A solution is then suggested in Sutra 4.11: Being together, supported by a cause-effect relationship, these effects will disappear once the cause dissolves.

Our primary goal when dealing with our karma, must therefore be to return to the root of the chain, the Chitta Vrittis (whirlpools of the mind; repetitive thought patterns), in order to stop Karma from being created. If we can stop karma from being created, then we can focus on getting rid of the karma that we have already obtained in our current and previous lives.

Whatever creates disturbances, whether it is to us, in us, to those around us, or to the earth, creates karma. However, we cannot sit at home and do nothing in order to avoid creating disturbances – this is not the solution. We are here on this earth to work with our karma, and in fact, Earth used to be referred to as KARMA BHUMI; the place in which we can work with our karma. 

Meditation is the key for breaking this chain. However, in order to do this, we must become morally pure. This pure morality will eliminate the Chitta Vrittis. If we do not make this effort, our meditations will simply be daily efforts of ridding ourselves of the ‘’rubbish’’ we have collected during our day.

We will also find a heavy contributor to this chain is Avidhya: Ignorance.

Through Kriya Yoga and Ashtanga Yoga, the mind slowly cleanses itself, and the kleshas weaken. When this happens, Avidhya begins to break down. Once it dissolves, the connective links of the karmic chain begin to break, and the Samskaras and Vasanas also begin to fade.

In order to work with our Karma, it is also helpful to understand the different types of karma that exist, and where they originate:

TYPES OF KARMA

        Sabija karma: This is the Karma we obtain genetically from our parents or from previous lives. The sabija karma we take from our parents is compatible with the Sabrina karma we carry from previous lives. It consists of un-sprouted seeds. Before birth, we select our parents in order to help us deal with this karma. Sabija karma can be burned by:  intense meditation and ‘’Hang-Sah’’ mantra (surrender of the self to the higher), and Karma Yoga.
        Agami karma: This is the karma that is ready to awaken in this life, for which the conditions are ready. We can avoid these ‘’miseries that have not yet come’’ through observation of our behavior and the tendencies that have been set for us in this life (eg. Egoistic behavior). Once we become conscious of this through self-awareness, we can use tapas (discipline) to fix this, and prevent it from awakening. Agami karma can therefore be cleared through the yamas, niyamas and karma yoga.  
      Prarabdha karma is the karma we cannot escape. It is as if the arrow has already left the bow, and nothing can be done to prevent it. (eg. Karmic relationships). The key here is to work with detachment or pure love. We must understand that these karmic relationships, although painful and inescapable, are not our punishment, but a necessary tool for us to evolve. We must try to see what we can take from this person, from this experience, and use love and detachment to view them beyond the mask created by the kleshas.  

Karma, on a larger scale, can also fall into the following categories:
        Adhyatmika Karma: Such as the types of karma mentioned above, which all refer to personal karma resulting from our own actions in current and previous lives.
        Adhibauthika karma: Karma which belongs to the earth, and is the cause of natural disasters such as earthquakes and tsunamis. Each country may also have its own karma.
        Adhidaivika karma: This karma is related to the stars and planets and the biorhythms that affect the time and space in which we are born, as well as the section of our lives that we currently live (dharma, yantra and karma yuga cycles). This again is particular to each person, and is powered by Daivika (the powerful psychic forces ruling the mind, nervous system, glands.)

How we deal with our karma:
1.    Meditation or concentration on AUM.
2.    Following the eight steps of Ashtanga yoga: Yama, Niyama, Asana, pranayama, pratyahara, Dharana, Dhyana, Samadhi)
3.    Following the Yamas, Niyamas and Kriya Yoga
4.    Karma Yoga: Practical tasks that are carried out without receiving any kind of reward or praise. In Karma yoga we must not feel as if we are the doer, but instead that we are simply a tool for the higher purpose. If we do not feel that we are the doer, we will not wish to accept the rewards, and instead we will work on our karma. In the same way, an artist can allow the higher to enter them, losing the ego in the process of creation.
5.   Dharma: When Karma becomes reduced past a certain point, it becomes dharma. This is the stage in which bliss can occur, in which we find our purpose in this life and simply follow it. It must be our desire to become what we truly are according to the laws of karma, dharma, yamas and niyamas. If we want to be happy, we must follow our dharma. If we do so, we will not continue to create karma.
6.    Detachment: (This includes to some extent, accepting death.)
7.   Tapas: Discipline “accepting the purifying aspects of painful experience” (Yoga Sutras of Patanjali- Swami Jnaneshvara Bharati), so that we can burn karma.

The understanding of this final act of tapas is vital to both comprehending the concept of karma and working with it. We must learn to accept the pain that comes with life, because this is why we are here.

This is illustrated in the story of St.Kasianos:

St. Kasianos once said, "As I was alone in the desert for some time, I was overcome with a feeling of deep depression. As the feeling began to grow, I felt that it would eventually take me away from my spiritual efforts, so I went to visit my brother, Pavlos, in an effort to change my environment. In doing so, I felt my moods lift and my soul lighten.
After a while, I proudly told this story to my spiritual master. I felt that he would praise me for the way in which I had conquered my sadness, but instead his reaction took me by surprise. 'Have strength!' He told me, 'because you did not release the sadness in this way, but instead you tied yourself to it. You must know that this misery will avenge you, if you do not from now on deal with it with patience, prayer and through your creative work.' "


If we can accept the ‘’purifying aspects that come with painful experience’’, then we accept our karma, and we are ready to work towards freeing ourselves from it.

The ideas presented in this session are mostly inspired by the lectures of my teacherAnanda Balayogi Bhavanani and Meenakshi Devi Bhavanani ,on theYoga Sutras of Patanjali (Ananda AshramPondicherryIndiawww.icyer.com)
Anandhi Korina Kontaxaki 

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