Freewill and Karma
Informal Discussions with Guruji Krishnananda on Freewill and Karma
The July 2012 Volunteers’ Meet was like an intense round of Q&As and no time was lost even while the microphone changed hands. Most had come prepared with questions after due contemplation on Guruji’s Sunday lectures. For Guruji, Volunteers are his representatives; his interactions with them have a different tone.
Mr. Karthik N. wanted to understand about Karmas and their impact, his question was, “We understand that Karmas teach us lessons. If a layman, in some corner of the world, who is not even aware of the concept of Karmas commits mistakes and acquires Karmas, do Karmas then have some compassion over him compared to other people who knowingly commit mistakes?”
“It is difficult to generalize and simplify,” Guruji said and reminded us the words of his Guru – Maharshi Amara. “Also, as Amara had said, somewhere deep in our being we will be aware of our wrong actions. However, Karmas act dispassionately and yet the Intelligence operating in them is considerate. Justice cannot be partial. We have to pay-up, after all what are Karmas but the Spiritual effects of our actions. If someone apologizes for what they have done then the Karmas will be removed.”
Reminiscing his life Guruji said, “I have spent much of my life in observing and studying human behaviour. I am a graduate in Science but I have read a lot of literature. I have studied very closely the various dimensions of human emotions. People do not apologize even when they realize that they have committed a mistake, deliberately or otherwise.
“Karmas are strict, like God and the Rishis. A Rishi is the kindest being, he will bless with boons but he can also give curses. The Rishis are Perfect Beings, they are Masters. There is a very important lesson here for all of us; you see, being good is not enough. Try being only good and the world will exploit you. Amara was very kind; he would disapprove in a very gentle and polite way, but I have seen him getting tough with a few.
“Similarly in our families, with our children and friends we have to put our foot down in a non-offensive way if the situation so demands. So coming back to your point, Karmas are very compassionate as well as very strict.”
Karthik’s voice had shades of disappointment as he asked his next question, “At the Astral level, people have more knowledge than what they have here at the physical level. So, our friends and relatives should be more aware about the purpose behind our practice of Meditation and Light Channeling. Yet they impose restrictions. Is it that they have not understood at the Astral level or they do not want to translate it to the physical level?”
“Some truths are hard to digest but we have to; we take up Spiritual pursuit as seekers of Truth. Fact is that they do know the benefits of Spiritual practices but still they get in the way. It is not out of ignorance.”
When the Light Channelling Volunteers Team visited schools on the birthday anniversary of Maharshi Amara, February 1st, Guruji had mentioned that Master V and two Ra Loka Rishis would be present in every session. Karthik wanted to know if this still continues because many have felt the Grace of the Rishis during sessions.
Guruji confirmed the presence of the Astral representatives of the Rishis and said, “The Light Channelling activity is Vishwamitra Maharshi’s project. Every Light Channelling session is monitored, guided and blessed by Vishwamitra Maharshi.”
Thanking Guruji, Karthik passed on the mic to Sunil.
Freewill – the more we scrutinize it the deeper the feeling that it is a double-edged sword. Humanity has enacted epics to fight for freedom; wars and revolutions have marked the history of mankind. Maintaining Karma-less freedom is another battle all together. Sunil’s question was in this regard, “Guruji, because of Freewill we make choices and when we make wrong choices we attract Karmas. Now, Freewill is a gift from God to human beings, it has not been given to plants and animals. So can we say that because we abuse Freewill we attract Karmas and if Freewill is withdrawn then there will not be any Karmas?”
“You can say that, however, why associate Karmas with bad ones only and why focus on the abuse of Freewill. There are many good things we chose and these result in good Karmas too,” Guruji smilingly questioned Sunil’s scepticism. “Let us never underestimate ourselves; we all have our flaws and weaknesses.”
In earlier discussions, Guruji had mentioned that Freewill, despite the dangers of mistakes, makes the human story adventurous. It adds newer dimensions to life.
“Continuing on this point Guruji, animals and trees are not bound by the Laws of Karma,” Keerthi asked, “but they are bound by other laws, isn’t it?”
“Of course, every living being is bound by some or the other law. A tiger will kill for survival, that is its nature and it is allowed, but there are cases wherein they are known to not hurt a defenceless calf. Observe even the street dogs around your house; notice the laws they follow.”
Ms. Hemalata, a Meditation teacher at the Indiranagar Centre continued the topic, “Namaste Guruji, on karmas, there was a question in the Basic Course Class – since Meditation was introduced by Rishis, was Karma also introduced by them?”
“No, the Laws of Karma were introduced by God Himself,” Guruji deepened his voice and continued, “it is very important to know that before we took birth on this level of existence, we as souls, were completely briefed about the pros and cons of Freewill and Karma. At the level of the soul we always know the consequences of our actions. We came here with full awareness.”
These words from Desmond Tutu add to the clarity whether applied to individuals or nations – ‘Freedom and liberty lose out by default, because good people are not vigilant.’ If we are careful enough not to overstep the Laws of freewill then we will not accrue any Karmas. This point about being vigilant came up in an answer Guruji gave to Jayant, but more importantly there was an extremely important lesson we received.
Mr. Jayant Deshpande, “Guruji on freewill, it allows us to go beyond ourselves and go out of our way to do things. Without Freewill, we will not be able to do so….”
“Absolutely, there are large-hearted people who donate one of their kidneys to save someone’s life. These acts of kindness are also due to our Freewill which we can use to help humanity. In the spur of the moment we might go out of our way and help others. I won’t hesitate to say that if it is possible for you, help others recklessly! Love for fellow human beings should manifest in our actions. With positive actions you can be reckless but if you are in doubt whether your action is right, pause for a moment. Listen to your intuition, and then decide.
“Helping others recklessly sounds like a reckless statement, doesn’t it,” Guruji remarked, “but human life is extremely complex; there is so much to life that there cannot be just one straitjacketed law for every situation. Wisdom gives us discernment and forbearance into applicability of different laws appropriately. Similarly, we cannot brand people as only good or bad. Suddenly a good person may do a bad deed or vice versa.”
This point on not branding people is crucial in our efforts to stay positive and non-judgmental in the face of challenging people situations.
Ms. Usha Satishchandra, a dedicated Light Channels Volunteer, asked from the very depth of her being. Her voice resonated with deep life experience and peace. “Can’t we rise above all these – freewill, karmas and all that – is there any way?”
“Yes there is,” promptly Guruji guided, “if you carry lot of Love and Light, you will rise above all these. When you love someone you will naturally ignore their shortcomings. It is not easy to forgive, who are we to forgive anyway, only God forgives; let us ignore others’ follies. When we allow ego to operate, we don’t allow the love to operate.”
Pausing for just a moment, Guruji spoke words which, I feel, is a quote – “Everyone is capable of everything of the highest order.”
Usha, “How to balance that, Guruji?”
“You see in the right moment you will have enough wisdom to know what to do; a check-list of do’s and don’ts cannot be given. Sometimes you have to give in, may be a bit of your ego, but you can maintain an exalted state. For this, conscious thinking, choosing and execution are important. We should not behave like ordinary people.”
For Sunil the point of Karmas was still lingering on his mind, so he asked, “Guruji, if a person has heavy karmas and is suffering a lot, and he decides to leave his body then will his karmas be carried to his next life? Is there a possibility that that intensity can be spread out over lifetimes, so that the suffering goes down?”
Guruji gave a very clear answer, “It all depends on his intent to grow spiritually. If the person is serious about positivisation and transformation then the Karmas can be reduced, spread over, postponed, cancelled and even taken over.”
Moving his hand across Guruji emphasized, “Anything is possible, but it depends on the person’s intent, and of course, effort.”
From this point onwards the tone of the session changed. Sunil brought up an often asked question about carrying Light all day long. “Early morning when I experience and channel Light, I feel I am in a different world. The moment my workday starts and I meet clients, the serenity vanishes. How do I maintain the vibrations of Light throughout the day Guruji?”
“It is very simple, be aware that Light is inside you irrespective of what happens around you, then you will not be touched. Also, practice the Shambala Principles of spreading Ananda and Love. Usually the moment we interact with the people of the world our vibrations come down, but you can avoid it by consciously carrying Light all the time. Pray to the Light to operate through you even when you are engrossed in the day’s activities.”
“I was contemplating about our responses to situations and people,” Keerthi said in a very deep voice with undertones of some struggle, “it occurred to me that responding begins with going beyond confrontation. Instead of a typical knee-jerk reaction, I pause before responding to what others say to me; if they are right then I accept and correct myself, and if not then I should pause before responding. Is this approach correct, Guruji?”
“You can rise above anything with Love,” Guruji said categorically. Often he answers a question specifically for a person knowing their limitations and strengths.
“If you are too soft the world will exploit you. There are times you have to put your foot down and state clearly that you will not take being spoken to in an impolite manner. We have taught that we should be calm but you have to be tough and upfront at times. There isn’t just one Spiritual law you can apply in every situation, there are other laws as well.”
In the same context there was another important point raised regarding people management. When we see prejudices in people with absolutely no flexibility in their thinking how should we deal with them.
Guruji explained in a no-nonsense clear-cut way – “Tolerate such people!” We laughed. “When you cannot change situations and people refuse to grow, what can you do but accept this reality.” He said in a matter-of-factly way and continued, “Maintain your calm, do not lose your peace over matters you have no control over, accept people with all their imperfections. Be diplomatic and smile, if you cannot disengage from the conversation.”
Pausing for a sip of water, he taught us a very important lesson – “Acceptance is not compromising.”
Giving us just a moment to absorb the wisdom behind this statement, he said, “There are people around me who have not grown as much as they should have, but I accept them as they are, I have no complaints. It is the responsibility of the individual to grow and he has every right not to grow. As a Guru, I have done my job and for me, that suffices. Amara’s words come to my mind, while speaking about a very stubborn person he said that this earth will last for another two billion years giving that person ample time to transform. This might sound humorous but notice that even Amara accepted the situation.
“There are times when I convey to those around me that they are wrong, sometimes I am tough, but I put forth a lot of love behind my words. These relationships are intact. Even if they choose to not grow, there is no dilution in my love. More importantly, I have no complaints and no problems with anyone.
Again pausing for just a fraction of a moment for us to open-up more, he added, “There are issues we should not accept, like corruption, terrorism; however, these are general issues. We should not endlessly put up with injustices whether at the personal or world level. If you can bring about a change, do so and if you cannot, do not go on fretting about it. As I have been saying, there isn’t just one law or approach which fits every situation.”
Life is not simple; wisdom of living cannot be over-simplified in a list of do’s and don’ts. The look on some of the faces must have amused Guruji, because with a mischievous smile he said, “We have to accept people and the world as it is, yet we have to assess how much to accept and when to reject completely.”
Wisdom should be exercised while speaking truth. We cannot blindly and bluntly speak the truth; like for example, we cannot tell a person that he is a total failure. It will worsen his life and make recovery difficult. But if it helps, then we should bring about this awareness in him. Resistance to a situation or person we cannot change will not benefit anyone. We have to address the problem at hand, acceptance will help, resistance will hinder.
Guruji had once said, “We should see everything from a higher perspective. This world, you and I have many imperfections. Do not judge, accept. Do not harbour strong dislikes towards anyone, if I had a strong dislike or hatred towards anyone then the Rishis will not allow me to sit here.”
To lighten the moment Guruji joked, “The Rishis are still working through me, which means I am not that bad after all.”
And he added, “So, accept your neighbour…” Our laughter almost drowned his words – “….accept your spouse, in-laws!”
Mr. Jayant Deshpande shared his observation about the times we are living in; his position as a Director, Trustee and Senior Guide leads him to interactions with many people at very close quarters. This coupled with intense training and personal guidance from Guruji gives him a unique perspective into many matters. “Guruji, in these times of turbulence, I have observed that there is also a lot of Grace. While there are many facing challenges simultaneously there are many who have smooth lives; I see people settling in life comfortably, their life-tracks are getting set beautifully, like some are establishing their careers, others with their education.”
“Yes, that is a very good observation. There are severe floods and remorseless mass killings, also there are many good things happening like mass people’s movements and revolutions. Both good and bad, are intensifying. I observe that intelligent people create problems while average ones manage life better. Sometime back I met a person who is very innocent, almost bordering on naïve stupidity. There are all shades of people with every kind of problem resulting from lack of intelligence or too much of it; that is why I have been saying just to lead a sensible, mature, balanced life one needs Spiritual maturity. In these times everything surfaces, good as well as bad.
“Since people bring their problems to me and pour their hearts out, I see that rare acts of goodness are becoming more frequent. Because there is essential goodness in everyone there also is an expansion in their emotions and thinking. Here we give opportunities, knowledge, wisdom, a lot of help for meditators to grow. It is for people to choose positive or negative. Turbulence will bring out what is chosen.”
In this session some other questions were also asked, like, Mr. Ramachandra had a question on Mantras or chants, “We repeat a Mantra one hundred and eight times; I wanted to understand why exactly this particular number; and also what is the relevance in the times when we are going beyond Mantras and experiencing Light directly?”
“When you are experiencing Light or God directly no mantra is required. Now the ancient Rishis found out that one hundred and eight is a mystical number, just like the number nine. That is why any and every Mantra should be repeated one hundred and eight times.”
On the same lines Guruji had once mentioned that the number seven is special; it can be understood as a base unit. Ideally, we should send Light to a person for a minimum of seven minutes.
Some guidance was sought on contacting the Rishis as well, “When we are trying to contact the Rishis or higher beings, I have felt that if I am aware of them all the time, it helps in the contact. Is this correct Guruji?”
“Yes, because you are aware of their existence, you are naturally aware of them. There will be a kind of contact, however mild at some level and when you really want to talk seriously it gets strengthened. Even during Astral travel, you have to go on thinking about the place you want to visit, it helps; the intent itself generates a kind of energy.”
Another Volunteer re-visited Guruji’s teaching that pain is an important part of life. “Guruji, I came across a quote from Kahlil Gibran – ‘Pain is the destruction of the shell that encloses our understanding’. It is so intense.”
“Khalil Gibran was more a mystic and much more. He wrote poetry, he would paint, above all he was Rishi Worker…” This revelation from Guruji left us agape. There are many Spiritual Masters or Rishis who incarnate in different countries and cultures in every period of time. They may not start a Spiritual centre and teach Meditations but they bring about higher awareness and elevate the quality of human life in one way or another. Some become scientists, mathematicians, artists, poets, leaders, etc.
“There are not many evolved mystics like Kahlil Gibran in today’s times. The only name which comes to my mind is Eckhart Tolle. He is a genuine Spiritual Master and there is no one to compare with him. There are many spiritual teachers and guides who intellectualize and are very good orators,” Guruji said and summarized, “such guides are brilliant intellectuals and philosophers but they are not spiritual.”
Ms. Usha Satishchandra transported us into a different state of mind when she asked, “I was wondering Guruji, there are some moments in our lives which we could not live fully. Is it okay if we can go back in our thoughts and live those moments or is the moment just over?”
Her question may appear obvious, but read again and understand its depth. It is not about escaping into reveries. Guruji’s answer might clarify, “Yes, you can go back and live those moments. Go back in time, go back in mind, there are several ways. You can do that, although in a different realm, but you can. I do that often. Nostalgia is precious and you cannot compare it with any other experience.”
Many years ago, Guruji had told me that we can experience things better in retrospect. My young mind, still filled with management jargon and corporate know-how, could not comprehend it; fortunately, now I do.
Probably this explains Anais Nin’s quote – ‘We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospection.’
Every soul seeks healing for their body and mind. While Meditation is the most holistic approach to healing, Guruji has periodically introduced us to various healing energies and techniques. During a Sunday Class Lecture, Guruji had mentioned that all Divine Energies heal. This led to our attempts to further understand the process of healing.
Since disease is essentially going out of tune with the natural balance with in our body, we asked if healing energies tune us leading back to normal health.
Guruji taught us – “During Meditation when we enter Stillness, we become aligned with God and His Energy fine tunes all that is out of balance in us.”
To explain us how every Divine Energy can heal, Guruji explained – “Every Divine Energy is a composite of many other energies. When you pray and invoke the Energy of Brahma, it will be the primary energy however it will also contain the Energy of Ishwara.”
When we send healing energies to a person, a lot depends on the patient’s willingness to accept the energies. Ms. Vaishali Joshi was sending healing energies to someone and she found that the energies were not flowing; she found a block.
Guruji explained to us that some refuse to accept Spiritual energies. Healing energies not only reduce the suffering but at the level of the soul, the energies speak to person to positivise. If the person refuses to transform, the energies return.
Along with the patient, those around him also suffer. Guruji said that it is due to their Karmas. Earlier he had explained that if a person chooses to positivise, then even his Karmas help in the process.
Vaishali shared an incredible healing experience. One of her friends had psoriasis. Medication from conventional healing methods did not help; as the disease worsened they tried alternative methods which healed to a very small extent. Months passed, finally Vaishali sent healing energies for a week; the disease vanished completely.
The session ended with an inspiring discussion on hope. Sunil appreciated Guruji’s example of the triumph of indomitable human spirit – there was a magazine report a few days after the Indonesian tsunami. The devastation wrecked many coastal villages and towns. A photograph showed an old lady drawing Rangoli (a welcome decorative sketch at the entrances of Indian households), when half of her hut had collapsed, most of the roof was missing and the surrounding houses had been crumbled. “Imagine the courage of this woman to continue with hope. Think about her state of mind; the shock of the tsunami, loss of life around her, dismal poverty, helplessness, nothing had trampled her hope for a good future. That is courage.”
Guruji walked down the memory lanes, “I had some photographs, I do not know where I have kept them now, I could not afford simple furniture in those trying days when I lived in a hut. So I piled bricks, placed a small flat stone on it and used it as a table. I had flower beds around my hut, a beautiful bamboo fence; it was all so very enchanting. I had problems but I did not suffer. I hardly had any financial resources but I used to plan for the construction of the Cosmic Tower. At some deep level I knew that it would happen someday. What gives us strength to continue with life, to dream and hope towards happier times? It is the bright flame of the human spirit which cannot be extinguished.”
He also gave us examples of Mandela and Gandhi who displayed exemplary hope during intense long-drawn trials. Guruji highlighted the point that they did not carry any bitterness after the trials they underwent. He also appreciated Aung San Suu Kyi’s determination.
The July 2012 Volunteers’ Meet was more vibrant than any before; and we were charged with Guruji’s life-force and resolute undefeatable spirit. We were left with more wisdom, courage and hope.
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