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More on Karma

May 09, 1995 07:12 AM
by Jerry Schueler

As I had hoped, some very interesting thoughts have cropped up on
the subject of karma.  Here are some more thoughts:

Ann: <I had a yoga teacher who once said, "Never fulfill another
person's bad karma.">

Very good advice.  If someone wants to die in a car accident, for
example, thats fine with me, but I don't want to be the one who
accidently kills them.  If a lot of people want to go down in a
plane crash, fine, but please don't ask me to be aboard at the
time.  Whenever a person starts to walk out in front of my car, I
kindly tell them, under my breath, to find another vehicle to
express their karma with and to please leave me out of it thank
you very much.  So far this has worked well for me.  I don't care
much about causing more karma or taking on someone's karma, but I
do not want to be the servant of bad karma to anyone.

Liesel: <Does that make sense to you?>

Yes.  kinda scary huh? :-)

JRC:< the "Law" of Karma ...seems straightforward when looked at
in broad, general terms, but seems absolutely unknowable when
minutely analyzed ...>

I have been saying this for many years.  You can't begin to know
how glad I am to hear this from a fellow theosophist.  For the
most part, the TSs and all the early TS writers describe karma as
a very simple principle that always mysteriously works; a cosmic
Law.  Either they never thought it through (which is hard to
believe) or else they were appealing to simple minds and figured
that the unanswerable questions would just confuse their readers.
It is just this sort of thing that Jung referred to when he said
theosophy appeals to lazy minds.  Karma is infinitely more
complex than we can possibly imagine.  Anyone who thinks that
karma "explains" our life is a lazy thinker IMHO.

JRC:<, for instance, that one wishes to act in a situation, but
that one needs to somehow take the karma of another into account,
or somehow be careful about "taking on" someone else's karma
seems kind of ridiculous ....  *Gravity* is another "universal"

Actually, I rather think that we can, and do, take on other's
karma.  I also think that we should consider the karma of others
at times before we act.  Psychology tells us that there is a
difference between forcing our help on someone else and really
helping.  When help is forced, there is usually an underlying
need for control and/or domination (we thus act from our own
karmic burden rather than from compassion).  In most cases, it
pays to ask if the person wants our help first before we charge
in and do something that we assume needs doing.  And we can't
communicate with another person in any way without coming into
their karmic sphere of influence, and thus mixing in their karma
to some extent.  I am not saying that this is wrong; obviously we
would have to live in isolation to avoid karma altogether (and I
would guess that isolation brings its own kind of karma anyway).

Gravity seems to me to be a bad example here, as it relates only
to the physical plane.  How about the Law of Attraction?

Anyway, my point is that we shouldn't worry or "be careful about"
taking on new karma, any more than we need to worry about killing
animals and plants to eat their bodies, or about killing hundreds
of ants each time we stroll through our local park.  Rather, as
theosophists we simply need to be knowledgable about what is
going on.  We should know where our own personal karmic burden
came from (for info on our collective karma, just watch the
evening news on any day of the week).  We should be aware of our
motives.  To do this, we need to be aware of our karmic burden so
we don't push the stuff off onto others - this is not the
proscribed method for eliminating our karma.

JRC:<I suspect *no one in incarnation* is capable of possessing
anything other than speculations about "karma", or at least of
actually expressing anything other than partial hints at the
truth (if there is one) ..  as our whole language is deeply
embedded in assumptions about the nature of reality...">

While I agree with your second analysis as to the inadequacy of
our language, I can't agree with the first part as to the ability
to obtain more than speculation about karma.  It is not that
difficult to get an intuitive feel for karma and how it works.
Trying to put this into words is all but impossible.

I am aware of many universe models, and at least three are well
known today: Qabala, Gupta Vidya, and Enochian.  I am sure that
there are many others that I am not aware of.  But all of them as
far as I know employ the concept of karma, simply because all
embrace the concept of causality.  But I agree with Jung that
causality can't adequately address the whole story.  Some things
happen that are not causal, and so I agree with Jung's concept of
synchronicity or the possibility of acausal events.  Thus while
karma can "explain" most of what happens to us, it can't explain
all of it; not even if we take into account the astral karma,
mental karma, and spiritual karma that exists on other planes or

JRC:<I suppose I believe that simply intending to act with
clarity, with justice, with compassion, i.e., according to the
classical virtues, and letting the law of Karma (whatever the
devil it is) operate in whatever fashion it operates is the best
way of approaching the subject ...  problem is, I've heard
"karma" often used as an *excuse* for inaction ...  >

Sounds like an artistic approach.  Go for it! I believe it was
HPB who said that inaction, as surely as action, produces its own

JRC:< You speak definatively about "Karma" ...  with an attitude
that suggests you *know* the truth in some absolute sense.>

I far as I can tell, there are several definitions of karma
floating around, some complementary and others at odds.  One view
is simply causality or the law of cause and effect.  Another is
the law of action and reaction, which is complementary to the
first but not quite the same things because in this view karma is
limited to actions with "intent." Some see karma as a general
system of good and evil or reward and punishment in which we can
add or deplete our stockpile or accumulation of chits.  Ome see
it as a cosmic balance of all dualistic forces.  In the new
April/May issue of SUNRISE, Hugh Harrison defines karma and
reimbodiment as "the primary agents of evolution and involution."
This restricts the Law of Karma to the dualistic processes of
involution and evolution that we, as monadic
consciousness-centers, are currently going through.  In this view
we can only eliminate karma to the extent that we can extricate
ourselves from the Rounds of this manvantara.  There are
doubtless other interpretations of this complex principle.

In the same way that many Teachers have described karma in
simplistic terms, so they have described its elimination.
Theosophists have, by and large, stayed away from the whole idea
of eliminating karma in the sense of jivamukti (liberation of the
jiva or self).  The concept of karmaless action begs for
techniques and initiations, which are anathema to the TS.  Yet
the idea is found in virtually all schools of magic and
throughout Eastern esotericism.  But just as defining karma is
complex, so is its elimination.  It takes more than intuition,
insight, satori, mystical experience, gnosis, initiation,
enlightenment, and so on (I would say it takes a combination of
all of the above).  Being able to act totally selfless is not as
easy as it might sound.

Jerry S.

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