"In Wonders We Sail, Questing for the Answers in Veil"

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Freedom To Reap The Fruit Of Our Karma

How much freedom of choice do we have in deciding when and how we die and where we go after death ?

Both scriptures and sages tell us that humans have a great degree of freedom in this regard.We are the only species that can,through our actions,create new karmas and erase old ones.Nature has given us the ability to think,decide,plan and execute out plans.No other species has this privilege to the extend that we do.That is why we are the only species classified as karma yonis - beings who can reap the fruits of their action.According to the scriptures,all living beings fall in to one of the three categories : divya yonis,bhoga yonis or karma yonis.

Divya Yonis :

Divya yonis are beings who inhabit a body made of pure light,rather than a material body.This is subtle body,and it is the locus for their consciousness,which consist of the mind and senses.Divya yonis, perceive,feel and experience just as we do.They perform actions,but their actions do not bear any fruit.The scriptures tell us that so-called celestial beings were once humans who accumulated uplifting samskaras through good works and spiritual practices.However,they had little knowledge,they could neither disidentify themselves from their good deeds nor surrender them to the divine.Their actions are motivated by their expectation of the reward,and so they have been rewarded with a celestial body and heavenly pleasures.

But divya yonis do not have the privilege of finding the purpose of life or even privilege of searching for it-they lack the ability and resources to undertake spiritually illuminating practices.They live on their store-house of good karmas,which as humans they could have reinvested for a higher purpose : enlightenment and freedom from the cycle of birth and death.Thus by inhabiting a celestial body they actually go backward in their spiritual evolution.When the karmas that brought them their body of light are exhausted,they return to the earthly plane to find the meaning and purpose of life.

Bhoga Yonis :

The second species of the living beings,bhoga yonis,have little or no freedom to change their circumstances or to escape from them.Species belonging to this class have a limited capacity to sense and feel.Nature gives them some small ability to experience pleasure,but their consciousness is mainly occupied with satisfying their primitive urges. Their bodies are equipped with under developed brain and nervous systems;the sensory organs that enables them to survive and procreate are the only senses  that are well developed.

Nothing a bhoga yoni does in the course of completing its life cycle creates karma.A lion for example ,does not incur any karma by killing a human.Just as the celestial beings exhaust their karmas by enjoying extraterrestrial pleasures,bhoga yonis exhaust their karmas simply by completing their life-cycle in the manner dictated by nature.At the time of death they are not affected by the subtle impressions of their actions,because their actions are guided by instincts, and instinct is governed by nature.The barely evolved intelligence and lack of ego of these beings prevents them from identifying with their actions,so they experience neither shame nor guilt.Except for the instinct to cling to life,their consciousness is not cluttered by desires,attachment or a sense of guilt and regret at the time of death.

Some scriptures says that bhoga yonis are those who did not exercise their power of intelligence and discrimination when they were human.They accumulated degrading samskaras by performing base actions which,due to their ignorance,they could neither purify nor surrender.But these scriptures warn us that adopting a self righteous or punitive attitude towards this category of beings is itself a base action,one that generates the same kind of karma that leads to birth as a bhoga yoni.For example,feeling that a stray cat's pain and misery is result of its karma,and hence feeling indifference towards the cat's wretched state,creates a base karma that can pull us down to a similar miserable state.

Karma Yoni : 

The third category of beings,that of karma yonis,is gifted with a high level of intelligence,organized mental faculties and a body composed of an efficient brain,nervous system and sensory organs.Like bhoga yonis,we humans are influenced by the four instinctual urges of food,sleep,sex and desire of self-preservation,but our knowledge and power of discrimination prevent us from being completely motivated by our instincts.Our extraordinary gifts bring with them greater responsibility - we can and do reap the fruit of our actions.

Although,with rare exceptions,humans lack perfect freedom of choice,if we make best use of the freedom we do have,we can eventually extricate ourselves from the bondage of karma.The efficient tools granted us by the nature enable us to distinguish right from wrong and to differentiate the unreal from the real.We have the ability to take conscious decisions,verify their validity in the light of reason,and act on them.We also have the privilege of drawing on the vast knowledge and experiences of all those who have come before us.Therefore,unlike divya yonis and bhoga yonis,who exist for sole purpose of exhausting the karmas which bought them to these states in the first place,the purpose of life as a karma yoni is to perform actions which destroy, or at least loosen,previous karmic bonds and to gain direct experience of the immortal self.So this opportunity comes only with a human birth.

Other Articles On Karma and Afterlife In This Blog :
The Story of Jaigishavya
The Transmigration of a Soul: Interpreted by Paramahansa Yogananda
Afterlife : The Propeller Of Death And Rebirth
Afterlife : The Moment Of Death According To Hindu Cosmology (A Journey To The In -Between)
Afterlife : Predicting The Destination By The Movement Of Prana (Life-Force) At The Moment Of Death


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