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Eternal Law

Activity and Experience

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kali.jpg

kAli mAtA
(Mother Kali)

yA devi sarva bhUteSu vRttirUpeNa saMsthitA
namastassai namastassai namastassai namo namaH


Again and again I bow to the devi who abides in all beings as activity (i.e., change or transformation).

Workings of karma in dharma kshetra or field of Law can be expressed, as we saw earlier, by a simple equation:

(Impressions, Intentions, Karma)1 + Actions + Experiences ===> (Impressions, Intentions, Karma)2

I also described karma as our interaction with the field. When we perform any activity we are exerting our will on the field. Field has a way of responding to our to our activity. What it feeds back to us is our experience. Above equation shows that activity as well as experience change our karmic state. Both activity and experience are important and neither should be ignored.

Importance of activity is appreciated by most people today, but many tend to ignore experience. We learn from our experience more so than from activity. It is easy to overlook experience because when we act, we are most often concerned solely with the consequences our actions produce in the material plane. Each experience ignored is a missed opportunity to learn.

We can think of the contents of our profile as our capital. The larger the profile, greater
our capital. Our personality profiles represents our potential to make our mark in dharma kshetra. More often than not, when we are performing activity, we are using up some of that capital. We can make up for the used up capital by learning from experience. Experience actually broadens our personality profile when we learn from experience.

Since karma is about our interaction with the field, we must always be mindful of how we perform our actions in the field. This is not easy as it is hard to fathom karma. What makes karma complicated? Karma is all-encompassing! I think karma is hard to understand precisely because it is all-encampassing. It applies to everything in the universe. Our  intellect has limited reach if we are an average human being. Not that it has to be this way. The way to understand karma is then to expand our intellect.This is the innermost sheath of the subtle body. But from where ever we stand, it always pays to make every effort to understand karma.

Ordinarily karma is thought of as something arising out of our interactions with others. This is therefore a good place to start. We all know or learn soon enough what happens when we deal with others. But what we know and learn is usually and mostly limited to what happens in the material or physical plane. And for most people, all our actions are motivated by desire to gain the most advantage on the material plane.

Most people do not seem to be aware that our actions also have consequences in the inner world - the world of dharma kSetra or for an individual, his subtle and causal bodies. But this is really where ancient writers on karma have concentrated. Thus when bRhadAraNyaka upaniSad says: "according as one acts, according as one conducts himself, so does he become. The doer of good becomes good. The doer of evil becomes evil. One becomes virtuous by virtuous action, bad by bad action.", it is referring to the effect of our actions, not others, but on ourselves.

Thus in a way, karma is concerned not so much with what we do, for its own sake,  but with what we become as a result of what we do. Everybody, with worldy knowledge can figure out the effects of our actions  in the material plane or the physical world, but very few seem even inclined to investigate how our actions change us. Yet this is what really matters and this is what real growth is essentially all about.

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