Sreemad Bhagawad Geeta
As understood by Seekers

Being with myself

YEAR 2023

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‘KARMA’ Expounded

Ajita
Dubai (UAE)

Hari Aum!

Humble Pranaams at Maaji’s Lotus Feet! Humble Pranaams to Chaitanya ji!

We often hear the term karma-phala when one is enjoying or suffering because of his/her own actions. So what does this ‘Karma’ actually mean? And how does it affect us and impact our lives? This was a very thought provoking Talk by Maaji on the topic “Action, Reaction and Reflex Action”. We thank Chaitanya ji for giving us the opportunity to listen to this Talk.

All living beings are subject to Action. It can be

‘Prakritik kriya’ - Instinctual action,

‘Prati kriya’ - Emotional Action,

‘Karma’ - Intellectual Action.

Karma is deliberate, intellectual action done with understanding and is motivated by wisdom, prati kriya is desire motivated action driven by emotions, and prakritik Kriya is instinctive and is nature motivated.

Reflex action or prakritik kriya is available to all beings including unicellular organisms. Emotional action or prati kriya or reaction is available to animals. Human beings have all three i.e. reflex action, reaction and action. Reaction leads to repercussions. Reaction is not advised by scriptures, because it is emotional. Reflex action, though primitive, humans have the special capability to recollect the incident and think about it and analyse it. This is possible due to the developed intellectual faculty in humans.

Whether our intellect has turned into wisdom depends on our learnings from scriptures like Sreemad Bhagawad Geeta etc. Our scriptures say, KARMA can be categorised into 3 divisions namely “Karma” “Vikarma” and “Akarma”.

Karma – are the deliberate intellectual actions.

Vikarma – are the deliberate devolving actions that are to be completely avoided.

Akarma – are actions performed without doer-ship.

Our scriptures further classify KARMA into 4 types – Nitya, Naimittika, Kamya and Nishiddha karmas.

Nitya karma (deliberate and thoughtful) are the actions which have to be performed selflessly without getting motivated by desires or emotions. It is to be done on a regular basis like daily obligatory duties, Sandhyavandanam etc.

Naimittika karma is also intellectual and deliberate, based on nimittam and not a reaction or reflex action nor desire motivated. These are actions performed on certain important occasions like Upanayanam, wedding ceremony etc.

Kaamya karma is done to take my soul in the right direction and to evolve, though intellectual and deliberate, it is something like a Putra kameshti Yagnya.

Nishiddha karma – I do it without proper understanding of the impact and it turns out to be a prohibited action, though not deliberately done. (Vikarma is a deliberate negative action. Vikarma is straight away prohibited by the scriptures). It is difficult to first understand the types of action and then think and perform. Maaji advised us to put this classification on paper and the below diagram is a small effort from my side to understand this.


Reaction is neither advised nor desirable. But we mostly react on emotional basis driven by desires, which takes shape as anger, confusions, greed, harm to others and self, etc. Self-assessment is required to analyse if we should have acted instead of reacting to the situation. This assessment should be based on our scriptural understanding. Maaji suggested reading of Chapters 3, 4, 5 and 18 of Sreemad Bhagawad Geeta for proper understanding of karma, on which Dhyan Yog Sadhana depends. Bhagawan Sree Krishna has explained this in shloka 4 of Chapter 3.

न कर्मणामनारम्भान्नैष्कर्म्यं पुरुषोऽश्नुते ।
न च सन्न्यसनादेव सिद्धिं समधिगच्छति || 4||

Gurudev, Swami Chinmayanand Ji Maharaj has explained that actions arise out of spiritual ignorance. When this functions in the intellect, desires are born. When they function in the mental zone, thoughts arise. When thoughts express in the outer world, actions are born. So without the foundation of scriptural understanding, we are most of the time confused regarding our actions and most of the times we are wrong in our understanding. When Arjun asks Bhagwaan, what makes man commit sin against his desires, Bhagwaan replies desire and anger propel him to commit his sins and they are his enemies. But unfortunately it is mostly our desires which drive our intellect. That is why Bhagwaan advises Arjun (and all of us) to perform actions as a sacrifice, for the benefit of the society. This is explained in shloka 9 of Sreemad Bhagawad Geeta.

यज्ञार्थात्कर्मणोऽन्यत्र लोकोऽयं कर्मबन्धनः ।
तदर्थं कर्म कौन्तेय मुक्तसङ्गः समाचर || 9||

Continuous study of scriptures under proper guidance of the Guru, and simultaneously performing our karma enjoined in our scriptures can only help us evolve. We pray at the Lotus Feet of the Guru Parampara to bestow us with knowledge, with understanding and wisdom to act righteously and to lead us in the right direction.

I seek for forgiveness for my errors in interpretation of Maa ji’s explanation and pray to Maa ji to correct my understanding.

Dhanyavaad and pranaams!