To every action there is a equal and contrary re-action, the mutual actions of any two bodies are always equal and oppositely directed. Thus, action and re-action are exactly equal. A single force, therefore, is impossible (on earth). This relates, of course, to Isaac Newton’s Law of Motion discovered in 1686. Yet, before Newton, and many millenniums ago, the Rishis of India understood this Universal law and attributed its effects to Maya which was the great illusion of mankind and caused by the actions of cosmic vibrations.
The Universal Law of Motion goes hand in hand with electricity, a phenomenon of repulsion and attraction; its electrons and protons being exact electrical opposites. The Atom, or final particle of matter, sets another example because, like the earth itself, it is a magnet with positive and negative poles.
Since each action must have an equal and contrary re-action, it is apparent that through our personal actions, we are creating both our life rewards and life challenges. Then, if our actions are generated from our desires and our attachment to an outcome, then one must assume responsibility for the outcome and also face the consequences. This is Karma.
Throughout the centuries, many Saints and Spiritual Masters have taught this Universal Law and also taught its remedies:
Jesus of Nazareth taught this law through the Parable of the Sower (Matthew 13:3-9) as follows:
“Behold a sower went out to sow; and when he had sown, some seed fell on the roadside,
and the fowls came and ate it. Other seed fell upon rock, where there was not sufficient
soil; and it sprang up earlier because the ground was not deep enough; but when the sun
shone it was scorched, and because it had no root, it dried up; and other seed fell among
thistles, and the thistles sprang up and choked it. And other seed fell in good soil and bore
fruit, some one hundred-fold and some sixty and some thirty. He who has ears to hear, let
The Parable of the Sower reminds us that specific actions performed produce specific results. Negative actions produce negative results while positive actions produce positive results.
The Bhagavad-Gita, the ancient book of authority on these matters, explains the best way to free onself of Karma, as taught by Bhagavan Krishna. In verse 4:23, and 4:24 Krishna explains:
All the effects of Karma (action) are nullified (in oneself), and one achieves liberation, when
ego-attachment ceases, when one becomes centered in wisdom, and when all one’s actions
are offered up (in sacrifice) to the infinite.
For such a person, (both) the act of self-offering and the offering itself are, equally, aspects
of one Spirit. The fire (of wisdom) and the person making the offering are both Spirit.
In this realization, the yogi, freed from ego- identification, goes straight to Brahman (Spirit).
While some ancients tried to practice renunciation of all actions (which verily can prove impossible), Krishna stressed devotion through action, renunciation of the attachment to the actions (sanyas); and renouncing the fruit of the actions (tyaga). Therefore, if the actions are surrendered to God, one could more easily detach from any self-pleasure that may be gained. With this practice, future karmic responsibilities could be prevented for that lifetime, and eventually, along with completion of the past (making whole again), stop the process of reincarnation. The result would be final liberation from the cycle of birth, death, and rebirth.
St. Teresa of Lisueux (1873-1897), a Carmelite nun of the catholic church, known for the practice of The Little Way, which was later adopted by Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta (1910-1997), practiced doing little things with great love and offering it all to God. She insisted that this was her “elevator” to heaven, little knowing that she was practicing an ancient form of Karma Yoga as taught by Bhagavan Krishna. She has been known to have appeared after death to explain to her superiors that her way was true and she had been liberated (as recorded in her auto-biography, The Story of a Soul).
We may compare this to the Buddha Gautama’s teaching that all desires cause suffering. He stated that the end of all desires will be the end of all suffering. One could then live harmoniously with joy and, as Jesus recommends ‘Be in the world, but not of the world’. We might notice, that as we release the need to experience a specific outcome to our endeavors, we harmonize with the flow of nature as it comes. All life occurrences then become part of this harmonious flow. Our enjoyment comes, not from the circumstance that follows our actions, but only from the creative, generative self-expression of our being. We expand instead of contract. We give instead of take. We experience a life that moves joyfully as well as it moves sorrowfully; all in one graceful movement.
Although, one must have a deeper understanding of the Buddha’s teaching on this matter. Certainly, it would seem impossible to end all desires, and therefore end Karma completely. Paramahansa Nithyananda, the living Enlightened Master of Southern India, has given a deeper understanding of these words, and solutions for all of us to explore and enjoy. For further understanding, I hope you will enjoy reading my article The Remedy to Karma – Part 2.