I see a lot of non-Indian friends on this site. While, their zeal and dedication to Yoga Vidya gives me immense joy, I am not quite sure whether they understand the meaning of Yoga and other terms of Indian Origin in their real perspective. I don't claim to be an expert or an authority on Indian religion or culture. On the contrary, there might be a great number of members who know much more than what I know about Yoga Vidya. However, being an Indian my self, I thought I should blog on some of the terms for the benefit of other members.
The Law of Karma, Yoga, Reincarnation, Prarabdha(Fate), are some of the basic and interwoven precepts of 'Sanatan Dharma' (popularly and erroneously called 'Hindu Dharma'). I am posting this blog keeping in view the fact that the coexistance of these precepts creates confusion and ambiguity for an average seeker. Trying to understand any one of the above concepts in isolation or without understanding the philosophy of Sanatan Dharma, might mislead the enquirer. It would, therefore, be better that we understand these notions in simple terms before trying to assess its relevance with each other.
Let us take Karma first. The Law of Karma can simply be stated as: "As you sow, so shall you reap." or "For every action there is equal and opposite reaction". Every act once performed (whether at physical level or at mental level) creates its reward on the basis of attitude and intention of the doer. Thus, Karma is a process of transformation of 'Action Energy' into 'Reward Energy'. The generation of Karma initiates at Subtle level i.e. in form of thought, desire, wish, intention etc. Every Act howsoever it be gross, its foundation remains subtle. There is no power that can falsify this transformation. However, the time of fructification of Karma is beyond human judgement. On the basis of time of fructification of reward, Karmas are divided into three categories:
1. Sanchit: Those Karmas where the fructification time of the reward is very long and generally beyond the present life time. Arrears of such past Karmas is the cause of cycle of lives of the spirit.
2. Prarabdha: The portion of Sanchit Karma where the rewards are due to be delivered during the present life.
3. Kriyamana: Are such karmas where the rewards are delivered immediately upon performance of the Karmas. An action is done, reward availed and nothing is left out. These are the actions performed through the free will of a person.These are the actions performed in present time.
Karma impregnates the cycle of births. So we have another important precept, 'Reincarnation'. Unlike western religions, Sanatan Dharma advocates the concept of Reincarnations. With the cause of Kamra, and the resultant cycles of births it proclaims the evolution of human spirit. At the same time, it provides a deterrent force against indulging into bad activities and ellurements.
People who believe in Prarabdha(fate), believe that during their life they are subject to experience certain events in a pre-defined way. This means, that happenings are decided long before they occur. Thus, notion of 'Fate' does not allow any scope for the freewill of a person.
However, contrary to the common man's belief, the priority and order of fruictification of the Prarabdha does get modified. This is possible through Kriyaman Karma. As a result of the present actions, a kind of volume gets generated on the time line of human life. The pressure and volume of the resultant rewards pushes the turn of the rewards otherwise destined to be availed as Praarbdh.
Now it should be easy to appreciate the validity of Yoga and Yogic Kriya. Let us understand this with the help of an illustration. Let us assume that a person 'A' is destined to avail the rewards of his prarabdha at his age of 40. The rewards are negative in nature because they are the product of some bad karma performed by the person in past, might be in previous lives. Now, if the person undertakes Yoga during this period, he would be living in present. During performance of Yogic excercises, the person forgets his associations and attachments and liberates from the constraints of his individual Ego. This way, Yoga enables him to enlarge his individual frequencies and merge them into universal frequencies. The performing of Yoga is a Kriyaman Karma because it is done in present time and without any future rewards. the volume of this Kriyaman Karma increases, the fructification order gets affected. The sequence of fructification of bad karma (destined to be delivered now) gets disturbed. The bad rewards cannot get room to be delivered now. This is the secret method of attaining liberation by way of dissolving past Karma. Further, Yoga creates harmonious environment, peace of mind, relaxation, joy etc. and puts the person on better mental state where he is more likely to act in a true and fair manner and thereby saved from creating bad Karma.
This is what lord Krishna has directed "Yogah Karmasu Kaushalam" योग: कर्मसु कौशलम | Adeptness in Performing Acts is Yoga. Keeping magnimus cosmic view and developing self-less approach to life would generate Kriyaman Karma. This is a smart way to avoid the bad rewards, though for the time being.