Tag Archives: karm particles

Theory of Karm

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“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.

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Types of Knowledge

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“Today, we’ll talk about the types of knowledge. Before we start, you may ask any doubts from our last two sessions”, stated the professor.

“In the previous session, you mentioned that all souls already have the complete knowledge. Then, what do you really mean by types of knowledge? Is completeness also of different types?”, quizzed Sharīr.

Excellent. That’s correct that every soul’s complete knowledge is just one – there is no categorization of it.

Then, what do we mean by types of knowledge?

Hope you also remember the discussion, that just having knowledge doesn’t mean having the ability to use it.

Yes – the worldly bounds and limitations, restricts the ability of the soul to use its complete knowledge.

Exactly. So these types or rather levels of knowledge are classified based on the ability of the soul to use its knowledge. Accordingly, knowledge is broadly categorized into five types:

  1. Mati (मति)
  2. Shrut (श्रुत)
  3. Awadhi (अवधि)
  4. Manh Paryav (मन:पर्यव)
  5. Kewal (केवल)

Okay, so these are basically levels of exercisable / usable knowledge.

You may say so. Mati knowledge is the most basic form, we perceive through our sense organs and processed / analyzed by our mind. Mind (मन) is not just what one relates to brain, but it actually is spread throughout our sense organs and body.

Is Mati, the common sense, we talk about?

Let’s not get into that, as that’s a very loose term we use. Common for one may not be common for others. Basically, the knowledge of sound, colour & form / shape, smell, taste, touch could be assimilated as Mati knowledge.

“So, does it mean that, living beings only with all 5 working sense organs have Mati knowledge?”, asked Yog.

Not really. Every living being has it in some form or the other. Depending on its sense organs, or rather capability of sense organs, a particular one may be used / exhibited more profoundly than others. In that sense, you may have heard / read about blind people recognizing colours using touch, and similar other cases.

Wow! This foundation that knowledge is within, would possibly answer many such miracles around us.

Yes. In fact, as you dive deeper into the non-observables, the more you’d realize that there is nothing called a miracle, but just connection of some missing dots.

So can we conclude that, what all observable knowledge we currently know, can be called as Mati knowledge?

Don’t be so impatient. Let me first explain the next one – Shrut knowledge. Then, we shall draw some conclusions. Mati is just the basic form of recognition, but it lacks relation. Hence, we may be able to know using Mati, but may not be able to share / exchange / communicate the knowledge with others. The knowledge which enables us to do that is called Shrut knowledge.

“We communicate using languages. So, are they a form of Shrut knowledge?”, asked Upyog.

Yes, one of the forms, or at least a medium for it. And the language could be anything – written, spoken, pictures, or for that matter even sign. However, Shrut is more than just language – it knowledge about relations, e.g. between words and their meanings, which finally conveys the knowledge. For an example, one may know what an elephant is (Mati knowledge), but in absence of the word elephant, or other words describing it, or one’s inability to express it, one may not be able to convey it to others (absence of Shrut knowledge).

“In that case, all our current knowledge is Mati & Shrut knowledge”, said Yog, in a summarizing tone.

If you just consider the knowledge commonly observable through our sense organs & mind, in day to day life, then yes.

Why only day to day? Does knowledge of *all* observables, still not come under these two categories?

Before I answer that, I’d like to elaborate a bit on observables. By observables, we define anything having one or more of sound, colour / shape, smell, taste, touch. However, even within observables, there is a category, which literally cannot be observed using our sense organs, directly or even indirectly, which we would like to call the invisibles.

May not be observable today, but with evolution of science & technology, shouldn’t one day, we would be able to observe at least all the observables?

No. Even science has proved that there are limits of space & time, beyond which we may not be able to observe, even using any level of technology.

So, we cannot know about the so-called invisibles?

No. We just cannot observe using our sense organs and mind, but we can definitely know about them. And it is the knowledge of such observable invisibles, which doesn’t come under the purview of Mati & Shrut knowledge.

“Is that where the Awadhi knowledge comes into play?”, interrupted Upyog.

Exactly. Awadhi is the knowledge of observables, without using sense organs & mind, typically attained by deep meditation. However, it typically is bound by matter, space, time, properties.

“Any examples of invisibles?”, asked Sharīr.

Particles of speech, particles of thoughts, karm particles are all examples of invisibles.

What are these karm particles?

These are the particles restricting the complete knowledge of the soul.

“O! I see. So removing these we would get the complete knowledge and know everything”, spoke the still silent Jāti.


Please tell us how to remove them.

Yes Jāti, we’ll talk about them, but in separate sessions. Let’s complete our discussion on types of knowledge, today.

“What are these particles of speech and thoughts?”, continued Sharīr.

Our speaking and thinking also emits invisible particles. In fact, specialized knowledge of particles of thoughts is called Manh Paryav knowledge. Having this would enable one to know the thoughts of others.

Wooh! Mind reading.

And finally, Kewal knowledge is the complete knowledge of everything – observable and non-observable, in all forms, in all spaces, in all times, of all properties.

“… which the soul already has. Just that these karm particles are the nuisances”, Jāti concluded as reminder.

Yes, let’s talk about them in our next session.

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