Some Key Passages on Karma

“Karma (devanāgarī: कर्म) is a Sanskrit term that “action” or “deed.” In in Hindu, Jain, Buddhist and Sikh religions karma refers to a law that regulates causes and effects.”

Karma–General Definition – Wikipedia

“…it also refers to the spiritual principle of cause and effect where intent and actions of an individual (cause) influence the future of that individual (effect).[2] Good intent and good deed contribute to good karma and future happiness, while bad intent and bad deed contribute to bad karma and future suffering.[3][4] Karma is closely associated with the idea of rebirth in many schools of Asian religions.[5]In these schools, karma in the present affects one’s future in the current life, as well as the nature and quality of future lives – one’s saṃsāra.[6]

Theosophy, Spiritism, New Age

The idea of karma was popularized in the Western world through the work of the Theosophical Society. In this conception, karma was a precursor to the Neopagan law of return or Threefold Law, the idea that the beneficial or harmful effects one has on the world will return to oneself.

I. K. Taimni wrote, “Karma is nothing but the Law of Cause and Effect operating in the realm of human life and bringing about adjustments between an individual and other individuals whom he has affected by his thoughts, emotions and actions.”


Karma in Theosophy

In a general sense, however conceived, the law of karma implies that we live in a universe of moral order as well as one of physical order — a just universe, in other words. That seems to imply some sort of cosmic intelligence, not merely the impersonal, mechanical action of matter. But since it is hardly possible that all karmic reactions could occur in the same human lifetime, it is said that REINCARNATION is a twin doctrine with karma. In theosophical literature, these twin doctrines can be traced respectively to the Second and Third of the Three Fundamental Propositions in
The SECRET DOCTRINE of Helena P. BLAVATSKY. It is the combination of these two doctrines which are invoked by theosophists to explain apparent injustices and inequities in one’s personal, family, or environmental circumstances. Furthermore, karma functions not only at the individual level, but also at the level of groups. These might be termed clan karma, national karma, racial or ethnic karma, etc. So it is an extremely complex law. There are said to be three kinds of karma: saṇchita karma or the accumulated karma of all previous lives; prārabdhakarma or ripe karma which is now set in motion in this life; kriyamāṇa karma or present karma that is being created in this life.

The law of karma is sometimes considered to be a kind of fatalism, but that is a misunderstanding of the law. We must face the consequences — good or bad — of our past actions, but when those consequences occur, we are free to deal with them creatively or uncreatively, i.e., reactively. In the latter case, we just perpetuate the energy which brought them about; in the former case, we resolve the problem and dissipate the energy. In other words, as Blavatsky has explained (cf. SD I:639), karma implies DESTINY, rather than FATALISM; it is self-imposed rather than foreordained and fixed. Of course, the less aware one is of one’s own nature and of the law of karma, the more like fate it will appear to be. 

World Karma–Good and Bad

It is not my intention to explain or elaborate the subject of Karma. This occult yet fundamentally exoteric theme, the Law of Cause and Effect, evokes a general recognition when called by this name. When called the Law of Karma, it is immediately regarded as mysterious, Oriental and new. Called (as it sometimes is) the Law of Retribution, an entirely erroneous connotation has become attached to it. Today, the karma of humanity is descending upon it. I would remind you, however, that the continuous emphasis laid upon the malevolent aspects of karma conveys a wrong impression and negates the full grasp of the truth. There is as much good karma as there is bad; even in the present world situation, the good karma emanating from the soul of humanity balances the evil which comes from the material aspect and is continuously over-emphasised. It is the rhythm of matter in contradistinction to the rhythm of the soul, and these constitute the initiating causes of the present conflict, both in individual lives and in the general world situation. When this is properly grasped, the true picture may emerge in your hearts and minds with greater clarity.

Offsetting Bad Karma

The Law of Karma is not the Law of Retribution, as one would surmise as one reads the current books upon the subject; that is but one aspect of the working of the Law
[21] of Karma. The Law of Cause and Effect is not to be understood as we now interpret it. There is, to illustrate, a law called the Law of Gravitation, which has long imposed itself upon the minds of men; such a law exists, but it is only an aspect of a greater law, and its power can be, as we know, relatively offset, for each time that we see an aeroplane soaring overhead, we see a demonstration of the offsetting of this law by mechanical means, symbolising the ease with which it can be surmounted by human beings. If they could but realise it, they are learning the ancient technique of which the power to levitate is one of the easiest and simplest initial exercises.

The Law of Consequences is not the inevitable and set affair which modern thought surmises, but is related to the Laws of Thought far more closely than has been believed; towards an understanding of this, mental science has been groping. Its orientation and purposes are right and good and hopeful of results; its conclusions and modes of work are at present woefully at fault, and most misleading.

Agni Yoga Agni via Helen Roerich

Karma is of great importance, but of greater gravity is the choice.
Karma is but the condition of the choice.

Karma and Freedom in DK/Alice Bailey

As to Karma, what man has made he can unmake. This is oft forgotten. Karma is not a hard and fast rule. It is changeable, according to man’s attitude and desire. It is the presenting of the opportunity to change; this grows out of past activities, and these rightly met and correctly handled lay the foundation for future happiness and progress.

Karma and Free Will in Hinduism

The future, replies Bhishma, is both a function of current human effort derived from free will and past human actions that set the circumstances.

Karma of Reward

There is also the Karma of Reward in contradistinction to that of Retribution; this is a type of karma oft forgotten, but one which will become better known in the coming world cycle. Humanity has worked off much evil karma, and the karma based on causes later to be initiated will not generate such dire effects as that of the past. Not all karma is bad, in spite of what man thinks. Much of it is necessarily punitive and distressing, owing to humanity’s ignorance and low stage of development. When karmic retribution becomes acute and terrible, as it is in today’s appalling world experience, it indicates that humanity has reached a point where consequences can be meted out on a large scale and with justice.

The Human Family and Karma Djwhal Khul

If they have the capacity to analyze world events in this way, such people of course also have the mental capacity to utilize some degree of free will and, says DK, it is only through the compassionate use of that free will that the world’s evils and havoc will be transmuted into good. “Therefore,” he concludes, “those who are looking on at the tragic sufferings of humanity and who refuse to be implicated, and thus succeed in evading responsibility as an integral part of the human family, are definitely storing up for themselves much evil karma.” The struggle against such human suffering is the struggle for freedom, and “those who refuse to share in that struggle for freedom will be left out of the gains of freedom, even if it only means within their own home limits, in their life habits and in their private circumstances.” (Externalisation of the Hierarchy, p253.)

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Morphing with Light

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