Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Karma in Vedic Astrology

Newton’s third law of motion ‘every action has an equal and opposite reaction’ forms the core of the theory of Karma in Vedic Astrology. As you sow so, you reap is the essence of the principle of Karma in Jyotish. This principle is inherent in the very structure of the universe. According to astrology events in a person’s life happens according to a sequence which is scheduled by the law of Karma on the calendar called time.

The moment of birth starts the Law of Karma. Every action causes some effect. With hundreds of actions that we perform this has a complex and intricate effect entangling us in a web of cause and effect which most human minds cannot fathom. The Law of Karma is a self governing and a kind of auto mechanism that forever controls our destiny. Mahatma Gandhi once said that ‘After inventing the Law of Karma God was able to retire’. The birth chart is blue print of the kind of Karma that we are likely to face and the challenges that lay ahead of us. Humans are reborn at the moment the planets move into a particular configuration. That configuration can then be studied to discover whether a person’s past activities were pious or impious, and what events are most likely to occur in a person’s future as a result. The planetary positions at the time of birth can thus reveal the events of a person’s present life as well as his or her past and future lives. The quality of a birth chart can be judged by the planetary positions in the zodiac, in the different signs and constellations. Thus a person takes a position in this birth according to the karma accrued in past births.

Vedic Astrology classifies Karmas as under:

Sanchita Karma (The sum total of all Karmas)
Prarabdha Karma - the Karmas we ought to be ready to experience.
Kriyamana Karma – The current Karmas
Agama Karma – The approaching Karmas

Quite often one kind of karma overlaps the other due to the complex & incomprehensible nature of Karma. Let’s very briefly look into each one of them:

Sanchita Karma:

This as already mentioned is the entirety of all karmas of this life and past lives. Reincarnation assumes that one’s past actions performed in previous lives are the causes of the effects being experienced in this life time. The doctrine of reincarnation has been an accepted philosophy since times immemorial in the Indian culture. According to the Bhagvat Gita, one of India’s famous and treasured scriptures ‘just as a person casts off worn out clothes and puts on others that are new, even so does the embodied soul cast off worn out bodies and take to others that are new’

A man who wonders why he was able to acquire such high academic qualifications so easily, earn a fortune so easily, have ill health despite the best medical care, suffer loss of near and dear ones prematurely must realize that it is the eternal law of karma that is in operation. The mind has forgotten the karmas that he performed in his previous lives that are causing effects beyond this control in this life.

Prarabdha Karma:

Prarabdha is that portion of the past karma which is responsible for the present body and state of affairs in a man’s life. That portion of the sanchita karma which influences human life in the present incarnation is called prarabdha. It is ripe for reaping. It cannot be avoided or changed. It is only exhausted by being experienced. You pay your past debts. prarabdha karma is that which has begun and is actually bearing fruit. It is selected out of the mass of the sanchita karma." It is what appears as fate or destiny. An entity does not experience all of the Sanchita Karma at once. Only that portion which is ripe will surface at any time.

Kriyamana Karma:

This is what we do in the present with our free will. While Sanchita Karma & Prarabhda Karma are destined or fated , Kriyamana Karma represents our current actions by the us of our will. People are not mechanical devices merely controlled by our past actions. We can by exerting and struggling create new favorable situations. This is Kriyamana Karma.

Agama Karma:

New actions that we plan to execute are a measure of our capacity to envision future actions, whether or not we implement them. To set an intention to be more careful in the future would be our agama karma. Without kriyamana and agama karma our life would be entirely predestined upon birth. We would, in effect, be completely at the mercy of our past karma. Let’s say we go on a joy ride and get into an accident. The accident would be considered our prarabdha karma – our allotted karma for this life out of entire sanchita karma. To dress the wound in order to lessen the suffering would be our kriyamana karma. To plan or to set our intentions to be more careful in the future would be our agama karma.

The Three Levels of Magnitudes of Karma:

In addition to the four kinds of karma, there are three levels of magnitude to any given karma. Karma can be fixed/strong or non-fixed/weak, or a combination of the two. If the karma is strong then the predetermined event will almost certainly happen. If the karma is weak then it may be relatively easy to avert it. The three levels of magnitude are:

1. Dridha karma - Fixed Karma – This is karma that cannot be changed by any effort on our part. Only the grace of God can alter fixed karma (Dridha). These are destined to be experienced because for the intensity of the causes. Many times we experience that an event simply happens despite all efforts to avoid it. In vedic astrology Dridha Karmas happen when there a confluence of factors.

2. Dridha/Adridha - Mixed karma – This is karma that can be changed but only with substantial effort. This can be changed with concentrated mental application. Will power is necessary.

3. Adridha Karma - Non-Fixed karma – This is karma that can be easily changed with some effort. It’s like having a clean paper on which you can write what you want.

It is possible from astrology to determine the magnitude of the Karma.

Possible Remedies for Difficult Karmas:

Jyotish / Vedic Astrology is an excellent method for delineating one's Karmic pattern - the good times, the bad times, the lessons that need to be learned, etc. However, many people are not so happy with the bad times and would like to improve the bad times if possible.

Yagyas (ancient Vedic ceremonies) are among the strongest remedial measures. Yagyas should only be undertaken under the advisement or direction of a competent guru, Hindu priest or Vedic astrologer.

Fasting is an art and there are many other structures to fasting that are too intricate to go into here. No one should undertake fasting without medical clearance and specific instructions.

Here is an example of a fast directed to specific planets: Fast Sunday for the Sun, Monday for the Moon, Tuesday for Mars, Wednesday for Mercury, Thursday for Jupiter, Friday for Venus, or Saturday for Saturn and Rahu.

Mantras, generally, should only be used under the direction of a competent spiritual advisor or Vedic astrologer. They can have negative effects when done improperly.

Some mantras are very strong and should absolutely not be used by the general public. Do not pick a mantra out of a book and start using it. That is like going into a drug store and choosing a medicine at random. It can be ok at best, dangerous at worst.

However, there is a small number of widely known, "public" mantras that are generally safe for any adult.

Charity is *always* a good thing. If you engage in enough charitable giving, you can probably offset almost any bad Karma seen in your chart.

However, there are ways to maximize your charitable giving, according to the Vedic tradition. If you want spiritual benefits, probably Thursday is the best day to donate. If you want to grow in power and status, Sunday is the best day to give money or articles away. If you want more love, and physical enjoyment and creativity, most likely Friday is the best day.

The Vedic tradition also delineates classes of people and classes of animals who are the ideal recipient of your charity. This maximizes the effects of your charitable giving.

Gems are said to be powerful although it is not stated in the astrological texts as remedies. Gems are supposed to work. However, gems are probably not as powerful as mantras and yagyas. Ideally, if you are going to use a gem for Jyotish purposes, it should touch your skin for maximum effect. The gem should also be blessed, have a yagya, and be worn for the first time on a certain day. Gems chosen improperly that are not suitable for the individual horoscope can wreak havoc. One must be especially careful of blue sapphires and diamonds.


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