“As discussed in our last class, karm (कर्म) particles are the impurities surrounding the soul, obstructing it to attain its state of complete knowledge. But what are these karm particles? Are they living or non-living? Do they decide the fate of soul? Can they ever be eliminated from the soul? If yes, how? Why in the first place are they surrounding the soul? I am sure you have one or more such queries bothering you”, jolted the professor.
“Yes”, came a chorus.
These and many more questions around karm are what are dealt in the theory of karm.
“So finally, are we going to learn how to attain the complete knowledge by eliminating the karm particles?”, asked Jāti.
Dear Jāti, it is a continual learning process, not just a pill to eliminate all karm particles. So, knowing the theory of karm is just the beginning into the process.
Great! at least we’ll begin today.
Karm particles are one of the tiniest granules of matter, and as such they are non-living.
“How does the living soul accumulate the non-living karm?”, asked Upyog.
If it is a pure living soul, it in fact cannot accumulate non-living karm, and that state of soul is what is called nirvāṅ (निर्वाण) or mokṡ (मोक्ष), from which it never comes out. However, the worldly soul is already surrounded by karm and these karm leads to accumulating more karm – it is a vicious cycle.
“If it is a vicious cycle, would soul ever be able to come out of it”, asked Yog.
Good question. If left on its own, the karm wouldn’t allow soul to attain nirvāṅ. However, soul has the ability of doing puruṡārth (पुरुषार्थ), i.e. “putting effort” to break the vicious cycle.
What kind of effort?
Effort to stop the inflow of karm, and effort to remove the existing karm.
How to do the effort?
For that, let’s first understand the process of inflow & accumulation. Any of our mental, vocal, or physical activity brings in the karm. So, stopping or reducing them, stops or reduces the inflow, e.g. taking vows to reduce our activities – the most common & profound activity being eating.
Is that why so many soul centred philosophies are centred around food restrictions?
Sort of – more precisely food control and management, as food is one major activity driver for all living beings.
So, does it directly relate fasting to removal of karm particles?
Yes, it does – just that it should be done with that intention alone – otherwise it may not be that effective.
“Intentions? Do they have any role?”, asked surprised Karm.
In fact, they are the ones having the major role, as intentions trigger thoughts, and thoughts drive the appropriate effort.
Isn’t putting effort an action in itself?
Putting effort to remove karm is an action indeed.
Then, wouldn’t it further accumulate more karm?
It would, but accumulate only good karm particles, eliminating the bad ones.
“Does it mean, it is good to have good karm particles?”, quizzed Yog.
Not really, as even they would obstruct the soul from reaching its pure form. But once all the bad ones are gone, the good ones cannot stay for long – they would eventually go off. And a thing to understand is that more important than the accumulation of karm particles is the strength with which they are bonded with. As it is almost inevitable to reach zero activity, so karm particles would keep on accumulating, till almost our soul gets into pure form. But, if they are accumulated with the least possible bonding strength, they could all be cleared very easily, in lesser go’s.
And how do we control the bonding strength?
The bonding strength depends on the level of kaṡāy during the bonding.
“What is this kaṡāy?”, asked Guṅasthān.
It is the glue for karm particles. The foursome of Anger, Greed, Ego, Deceit is collectively termed as kaṡāy. So, having the less of these in our character, enables easy removal of our karm. One may remember them as the acronym AGED. I hope all of you understand these four emotions.
I believe anger is best understood but least worked upon. Greed is want of something more than one’s need, even at cost of others. Ego is the “only me” thought. Deceit is cheating.
More or less correct. And with that I believe you understand why various philosophies talk about being simple, devoid of anger, greed, ego, deceit.
You mean being devoid of AGED paves the path towards complete knowledge.
Yes. Shed anger, be peaceful. Shed greed, be satisfied. Shed ego, be accommodative. Shed deceit, be straightforward. And head towards achieving complete knowledge, and henceforth the state of pure soul.