Eighth Principle: Accelerate Karma
Why wait twenty more births to achieve spiritual maturity when you could achieve it in two births? That is the idea behind accelerating karma. When we begin meditating and performing regular daily sadhana, preferably at the same time each day, our individual karma is intensified. In our first four or five years of striving on the path we face the karmic patterns that we would never have faced in this life had we not consciously intensified our spiritual practices. Those on the spiritual path resolve much more karma in a lifetime than others. They could be called professional karma managers.Of course, family duties in the grihastha ashrama don't allow much time for sadhana. Thus, the principle of karma acceleration is best fulfilled in the stage called sannyasa, both by those following the path of the monk and by everyone after age seventy-two. Retirement can be more than playing golf. It is an opportunity to intensify our spiritual practices and thus accelerate our karma. Gurudeva said, "By this conscious process of purification, of inner striving, of refining and maturing, the karmas come more swiftly, evolution speeds up and things can and usually do get more intense. Don't worry though. That is natural and necessary. That intensity is the way the mind experiences the added cosmic energies that begin to flow through the nervous system."
Tirukural: "Not allowing a day to pass without doing some good is a boulder that will block your passage on the path to rebirth."
Though some of our dreams are only the result of thoughts occurring in our own mind, other dreams are astral experiences, of being conscious in our astral body and interacting with others in their astral body. These astral plane actions create karma, just as do our physical plane actions. This is the basis of the Hindu ideal that one would not steal or injure even in a dream. Why? Because such transgressions create negative karma that will come back to you. These are real karmas that may eventually manifest on the physical plane. However, this can be avoided if you happen to have further dream experiences in which appropriate actions are taken to dissolve the karma. More commonly, though, we can resolve dream or astral-plane karmas in the same way we would physical-world experiences, by performing penance for them in our waking state, while remembering the high standards of virtue and good conduct that should always be maintained, even during sleep. For instance, if in an emotional dream you injured someone intentionally, you could perform a simple penance the next day to atone, such as fasting one meal.Gurudeva said, "These kinds of dreams-when a person is in his astral body and can feel what he touches, emote to his experiences, think and talk-are not what is known as the dream state. This is an astral experience, similar to the death experience, but the astral body is still connected to the physical body."Tirukural: "The highest principle is this: never knowingly harm anyone at any time in any way."
Tenth Principle: Incinerate Karma
In the practice of yoga, we can burn up negative seed karmas without ever having to live through them. What we have to do is find the seed and dissolve it in intense inner light. Let's take the analogy of growing alfalfa spouts. You place the seeds in a jar and keep them moist until they sprout. But if you heat the seeds in a frying pan before putting them into the jar, they will no longer sprout. Similarly, karmas exposed to intense inner light are destroyed.A meditation adept, having pinpointed an unmanifested karmic seed, can either dissolve it in intense light or inwardly live through the reaction of his past action. If his meditation is successful, he will be able to throw out the vibrating experiences or desires which are consuming the mind. In doing this, in traveling past the world of desire, he breaks the wheel of karma which binds him to the specific reaction which must follow every action. That experience will never have to happen on the physical plane, for its vibrating power has already been absorbed in his nerve system. This incineration of karmic seeds can also happen during sleep.Gurudeva explains it in this way, "It is the held-back force of sanchita karma that the yogi seeks to burn out with his kundalini flame, to disempower it within the karmic reservoir of anandamaya kosa, the soul body."Tirukural: "As the intense fire of the furnace refines gold to brilliance, so does the burning suffering of austerity purify the soul to resplendence."
No matter how deep our understanding of karma may be, actually applying our understanding of karma to the events in our daily life can still be a challenge. Why is this? Our humanness gets in the way; our ego is challenged and we react to preserve our self image; our emotions are stirred and we respond impulsively, without intellectual reflection; our attitudes are prejudicial against certain religious or ethnic groups and we feel justified in striking out at them, because they are not "our people." How can such human weaknesses be overcome? It is by perfecting our character, which Gurudeva defined as "the ability to act with care." This is done through mastering Hinduism's Code of Conduct, the ten yamas, restraints, and the ten niyamas, observances. With a strong character in place, the mastery of karma becomes natural to us. Gurudeva mystically summarizes this process as follows:"Bhakti brings grace, and the sustaining grace melts and blends the karmas in the heart. In the heart chakra karmas are in a molten state. The throat chakra molds the karmas through sadhana, regular religious practices. The third eye chakra sees the karmas past, present and future as a singular oneness. And the crown chakra absorbs, burns clean, enough of the karmas to open the gate, the door of Brahman, revealing the straight path to merging with Siva."