Wednesday, September 16, 2009


Karma is a very common jargon in Indian philosophy. When discussing about inner change, the word karma is unavoidable as it was so much used by various cultures and belief systems in India. Hence it may be appropriate to get into the detailed analysis of Karma, which may give some insight into our understanding of Karma.

Karma is referred in more than one context. In one sense Karma is referred as action. Another sense, it is referred as the imprint of our actions carried from one life to another life of the individual (for the belief systems which propagate the concept of rebirth). And in the medical sense (Karma Dhosha in Ayurveda), it refers to the hereditary diseases passed on from generation to generation – as per ayurvedic principles, one can be affected by the hereditary diseases from previous seven generations.

In the context of this blog, we may analyse Karma in the sense of imprint of our actions, which goes into our brain. It may be appropriate to revisit the concept of Transactional analysis, discussed earlier in this blog. The following three paragraphs are part of one of the earlier posting, which gives some basic idea about transactional analysis – a term in modern psychology.

\\Transactional analysis talks about the ego states with in individuals. The ego state of an individual can be classified into three states. They are Parent ego, Adult ego and Child ego. Every one has all the three ego states, but at a different proportion. The traits of an individual depend on how the three ego states are mixed with in an individual. The parent ego is authoritative ego, adult ego is matured ego, and child ego is the playful ego. When ever a person communicates with another one, he/she always will be at one of these three ego states. That doesn’t mean, he communicates always with the same ego state. That particular ego state depends on his/her personality, situation, and few other psychological conditions. The same is the case with the other person also. Wile communicating, the first person can be in any of the three ego states and the second person also in any of the three ego states. Hence there are nine possibilities of interpersonal communication. The each communication between two persons is called transaction. The transaction is not only verbal communication, but also the communications like gestures. Hence the transaction between two persons shall be Parent to Parent, Parent to Adult, Parent to Child, Adult to Parent, Adult to Adult, Adult to Child, Child to Parent, Child to Adult and Child to Child. When ever the persons transacting are in the same ego state, the transaction will be a healthy one. If they are in different ego states while communicating, the result of the transaction will always be negative.

Then there is a thing called STAMP in transactional analysis. It is an impression that happens with in the mind of personnel involving in the transaction, created as a result of this transaction. Each transaction will have a stamp for each individuals participating in a transaction. To make it clear let us assume, the first person involved in the transaction is at its parent ego state and the second person involved in the transaction is in child ego state. The first person says “You are idiot”. By transacting this he collect a stamp which has an imprint that “Others are always idiots”. The second person who is in the child ego state, seeing some body says him as “Idiot” collects a stamp with the imprint of “I am always Idiot”. If the second person involved in this transaction is with his adult ego state at the time of transaction, he may collect a stamp with some other imprint, probably a healthy one, depend on his mind conditioning. And also the point to be noted here is one can not be in the same ego state always. For the functioning of life, one has to have all the three ego states at different moments. Even a child need to have parent ego at certain circumstances.

The essence of transactional analysis is that with any communication between individuals, they collect stamps and store them in their mind or memory. With so much communication happening between people, we can imagine the amount of stamps we have collected and dumped into the mind and memory during our life period.//

In the above discussion on transactional analysis, the term stamp is nothing but the imprint in our memory as a result of inter-personnel communication. In Indian philosophical term, it is Karma. The term Karma is more than that.

Karma can be generalized as the result of any of our action (physical or psychological), which goes into our memory which in turn initiate the thought process within us. There is nothing called good Karma or Bad Karma. Any karma is Karma. It is contrary to the general notion that our good action yield good Karma and our bad actions yield bad Karma. This is because there is no action which can be classified as good or bad. An action looks like good or bad depend on our view on that action, which entirely depends on our psychological conditioning. If we are free from the psychological conditioning, there is no notion of good or bad.

The Karma is the breeding point of thoughts within us; for our present way of life, thought is the origin of any of our actions and hence Karma is the breeding point of all our actions. We already know that thoughts originate from memory. Hence the content of our memory is the Karma. Whatever goes in to our memory is our account of Karma. Our intelligence uses certain knowledge, only when it is required. For example, the way to our home from our office is in our memory. In general our intelligence uses this part of memory only when we need to go to our home. Hence we are psychologically free from this knowledge of way to our home or we are free from that part of Karma, if we use this knowledge only it is really required.

Now at certain point of time in our work, due to certain projection of mind, we got a thought “I have to get recognized for this job in my work place”. As soon as this thought arises, it goes in to our memory and it is becoming a Karma. Now whenever we think about this job, this desire of being recognized will come into our thought and it interfere with our work and hence the result of our work. The result may be positive or negative, depend on how far this Karma affected our job. Hence the karma is acting on all our further actions and implications on the results of our actions without any need and hence we are bonded with this Karma. We can imagine how many thoughts are coming in our mind on daily basis and how it is getting registered in our memory and how this registered thought is again creating new thoughts and so on. On the other hand, we can imagine how is our Karma gets multiplied on each moment of our life.

As we have heard about Karma in so many places and in our scriptures with so many different notions, the above simple explanation may be hard to believe! But if we really see in to the concept of Karma explained in any scriptures, we can very well understand ourselves the validity of above explanation.

We already know that our mind is conditioned by the process of evolution at one hand and by our culture, religion, society, etc. on the other hand. All these conditioning are Karmas in our account. Now the big question is, is it possible to be gain freedom from this Karma? The solacing answer must be a big ‘Yes’, if we are willing to be free from this Karma, and naturally the next question is, how is it possible?

One of the primary functions of brain is to register in memory, everything it comes across. For example, when we see something it is registered in our memory. We cannot avoid such registering and it is required for our day-to-day life and technological evolution of world. But we do not need the thoughts arising out of past and projection of future. When such thoughts are no more generated by our brain, the entire Karmas due to psychological factors are ceased to get added. Is it possible to free from Karma or from our thoughts? The thoughts are due to the knowledge and experience we have. Hence the real question is can we gain freedom from our knowledge, yet have the knowledge required for our living and evolution?

- The above questions shall be analysed in next posting!

1 comment:

Deepak said...

Taking on Karma now :)
My questions after your next post!