In general, people believe that karma means going to work, performing meritorious deeds, doing charity, religious activities, etc. However, the Self-realized (Gnani) call this ‘karma-phala’ (the fruit of karma), as it’s a result of karma and not the original karma. The gross karmas, which can be seen and experienced through the five senses, are all karma-phala or discharge karmas only.

When asked, what is the definition of karma?, Param Pujya Dada Bhagwan, the Enlightened One, said:
“Supporting any action with a claim of, ‘I am doing it’ is karma. Claiming doership of any action binds karma. To support the action with the belief of, 'I am the doer' is called binding the karma. It is this support of the belief of 'doership' that binds karma. If you know that you are not the doer and are aware of who the true doer is, 'I am not the doer' and 'who is the doer', then the action will not have any support and the karma will be shed.”

Let us understand this in detail. Say, two people donate 1000 dollars as a charity to a church. As a result of their donations, both the people are garlanded by the church authorities during the church inaugural. Thus, they both received the fruit of the good deed they did, in this life itself. This is called karmaphal parinaam (the result of the fruit of one’s past life karma), which comes into being in the same life.

Their intentions while donating are the karmas that they charge for their future life.
While giving the donation, one thinks, “These people are thieves. It’s not worth giving them even five dollars, but I am giving it due to pressure from the church Chairman, who happens to be my relative.” On the other hand, the other person intends, “If I had 5000 dollars, I would give it all for charity.” This intention at the time of giving the donation charges new karma. Consequently, in the next life, the discharge karmas of the two people discussed above will be such that the former will not be able to donate, while the latter will contribute even more.

Karma is of two types: merit karma (punya) and demerit karma (paap).If we give happiness to any living being, we bind merit karma. For instance, if we have virtuous thoughts such as, ‘How do I ensure that my behavior does not hurt anyone’, and so on, we bind merit karmas. However, if we hurt or torment any living being in any way, then we bind demerit karma. It binds demerit karma if we have evil thoughts like taking someone’s things away.

Is there a way to wash off the demerit karma (sins) such that we don’t have to suffer its adverse effects?
Gnani Purush, Param Pujya Dada Bhagwan, has given a magic eraser called Pratikraman to do so. Pratikraman means to apologize, with deep repentance in our heart, before the Lord within the person whom we hurt, and ask for forgiveness for our mistake. We also ask for strength from God so that we do not repeat the mistake.

So, suppose we’ve hurt anyone or have had negative thoughts about someone, and if we do Pratikraman for this, all the sins bound by that action will be washed off. If we regret it deeply, the sin can be completely cleared away. But if we feel happy about committing the sin, the punishment will only increase, and that too multifold.

Thus, as far as karma is concerned, the charging part of it is in our control. But we have no control over the discharge karma; they will just happen naturally in the next life.
Is there a way to not bind any new karma?

Yes, there is. Let’s understand. For example, we eat a mango and throw the seed. The seed grows to a tree and bears fruits. But, if we can roast off the seed before we throw it, it will not bear any more fruit.

Similarly, we have already charged all the karmas in our previous life. From birth till death, every act now, in this life, is the fruit of our past karmas i.e. they are discharge karmas. And If we do not want to now charge any new karma for the next life, it is possible, provided we know the science involved profoundly.

The science of karma says that claiming doership of any action binds karma. In our example, when the two people donate money, they believe that ‘I am John (their name), and I am donating money.’ Hence, one binds demerit karma due to the belief of doership, and the other person too, although his thoughts are good, his belief of doership makes him bind merit karma.

In reality, we are not this body; we are not the name. At the time of death, we leave the body, title and all our belongings here itself. Only the Soul, which is our real Self, along with the atoms of charged karmas, leaves one body and attains a new body.

To realize the real Self is called Self-realization.
In Akram Vignan, when Gnani graces us with Self-realization, we within just an hour, get the awareness that, ‘John (please insert your name here) is doing all the work, and I, being a pure Soul, am separate.’ Gnani changes our belief. So thereafter, we no longer claim doership of any action. And hence, we do not create any new karma. All the discharge karmas will come to fruition even after Self-Realization, but they are like seedless fruits then, because now by following nani’s words, new karma do not get created anymore. And as no new karma gets created, we soon come out of the cycles of life and death forever and attain liberation.

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Author's Bio: 

Ambalal M. Patel was a civil contractor by profession. In June 1958, spontaneous Self-Realization occurred within Ambalal M. Patel. From this point on, Ambalal became a Gnani Purush, and the Lord that manifest within him became known as Dada Bhagwan. A Gnani Purush is One who has realized the Self and is able help others do the same. Param Pujya Dada Bhagwan used to go from town to town and country-to-country to give satsang (spiritual discourse) and impart the knowledge of the Self, as well as knowledge of harmonious worldly interactions to everyone who came to meet him. This spiritual science, known as Akram Vignan, is the step-less path to Self-realization.