Q: Mohanji, you just spoke about karma as a part of one’s life purpose. We’ve heard of karma being assigned as good karma or bad karma. This usually instils fear in people. What would you like to say on that?
A: Anything that elevates you is good karma, and anything that pulls you down or binds you is bad karma. This is a broad categorization and there could be various types of bindings. Thus, when people victimize others, create fear, bind people or even animals, or when people bind themselves through phobias and fears, it is bad karma.
Bad karma is anything which is not good when we consider the larger purpose of existence. Good karma is whatever elevates you, brings you forward and makes you free and liberated. Liberation is the primary cause of every existence. Liberation is exactly what everybody craves – be it a human being or an animal. That is why a bound animal suffers and a free animal is happy even though it endures the tests of nature. This is true for human beings too! Many a time, we may have noticed a boyfriend and girlfriend enjoying life much more than a husband and wife, because when there is binding there is also expectation and pain. The relationship sours. Until then, everything is beautiful. So whatever binds you is not good. I am not saying that marriage is not good. However, anything that binds or anyone creates pain is not good and this binding could be at any level.
So what is good karma? An activity that liberates you, even a lifestyle that liberates you. There are lifestyles that are liberating, and these do not even require you to visit temples, do puja or meditation. However, it is essential that you have a good heart, are able to express love all the time, and stay beyond the dualities of existence such as good and bad. Then you can feel free in all aspects of time and lead a liberated existence. This is good karma.
On the contrary, if you are feeling tired in the office, feeling bound by situations or people, and are forced to act, think and talk, it is binding and makes you feel miserable. That can be called bad karma. Heaven and hell are here. The difference lies in how we lead our lives.
Q: You said that bad karma could be like going to office, etc. But as a common man, I have to have a job, I have to take care of my family, I have to be in that office…
This is again an aspect of existence – having to do something versus loving to do something.
When you do something that you love, there is no pain. However, if you have to do it in order to survive, it is always pressure. T he difference between pleasure and pressure is your choice. Are you able to do what you love? Or are you just doing it because of some pressure? It could be social pressure, family pressure or pressure from the community. Even our levels of understanding or conditioning can be a cause for pressure. Persistence of agony is the result if we continue to live our lives in such a way.
We often start working in an organization and because we would like to survive, we do many things which further our agony. You can see this often in the corporate world. On the contrary, there are some who go off the track and achieve great success, because they do what they love to do! Thus, it is our choice. This means that if there is clarity in operation, there is no agony. Again, there is agony when there is monotony and repetition because of our lack of understanding.
The difference is realizing that you do not have to do whatever you are being compelled to do. Sometimes it may be necessary temporarily, but it is not your permanent existence. You have to slowly reverse the situation and work your way out, using your intellect, whatever your situation is. This situation might have been brought about by your lack of understanding. Also, it is important not to be emotional about it. The more emotional you become, the more you entangle yourself and become further bound. You might have noticed people saying, “Oh my God, this is not working, this is not what I wanted to do!” and cursing all those around them. Such people can never overcome the problem they face. When you remain calm, accept and understand the predicament, try to perform at your optimal level, slowly detach yourself and then move into activities which are enjoyable, you are on the right track! This is because the world is like a mirror. When you do not react too much, society allows you to function. The more you confront situations in an emotional way, the more society also throws back the same emotions and then you feel even more miserable!
Many in the corporate world come back and ask me the same question. “How do we get out of it?” Then the first question is,” Why did you choose it?”
There is a reason why you are at a specific place at a certain time. There is a reason why you are sitting here and listening to me. You may not understand that intellectually now, but you may understand in the course of life, “Hey this is the information I was looking for, this is what I have been waiting for!” and that becomes valid only at that time. Realities are situational. Realities are based on time. Now, the reality is that we are all here. Tomorrow, the reality might be different. Handle that reality as it is. If we make a frame and think this is how reality should be, we suffer. Either the frame is wrong or the reality is wrong. At the same time, if you are flowing like a river through the twists and turns of life, there is no doubt that you will survive, and agony will be less. You cannot change the situation, but you can change yourself. Situations will remain the same because they are made by collective consciousness, not individual consciousness. Society operates on collective consciousness that creates a Hitler as well as a Krishna! The collective consciousness of the world creates events, people, and rulers! They bring agony or ecstasy. So we get what we deserve.
If an atrocity is taking place in society, it is because the collective consciousness demanded it. Wrong understanding, perpetually operating in ignorance, selfishness and ego, can create atrocities, wars and agony in society. Thus our operating level has a lot of value. We need to know what we are doing. We need to know where we stand, right? It is very important to know.
How to enhance awareness
Q: How can one enhance this awareness?
A: Awareness is always available to you. It’s just like your shadow. Awareness is not outside of you. Awareness to some degree is always present in us, or to any degree is available to us. What we choose to use is what the reality actually is, our reality. If you are able to tap into your own awareness much more, it will help. As I said, a big or huge reservoir of awareness is available, but we choose to use only a tiny bit of it. That is why we are conditioned, because our mind only uses a fraction of what is available. Since mind does not have the capacity, we have to go beyond the mind to reach the actual level of awareness. To give you an example, the transformer outside has high capacity, but that electricity cannot be used by this house. It has to be reduced through smaller transformers and then it can be used to light a lamp or operate a washing machine. Similarly, awareness is huge and it’s available to us, but we choose to use a very small part of it. In order to increase awareness you need to go beyond the mind, beyond your ego, beyond your intellect and beyond the whole setup which you normally use in your waking state. We have to change the pattern of what we use on a typical day, and the best way to do this is to watch – watch our thoughts, watch our words, watch our actions. It’s not that you stop doing things and watch. While doing things you watch them, observe them and are objective about them. Do not criticize, do not censor, and do not suppress. Then what happens is spontaneity. You are moving through situations in a spontaneous way. The more you move through situations in a spontaneous way, the more there will be neither happiness nor sorrow. There are only effects, and their particular experiences, be they good or bad. Since every being has a unique constitution, since there are seven billion people on earth with seven billion constitutions, there is uniqueness. There are no two people alike. So once we know that we are a unique being and that we are here to express ourselves in the most unique way, it follows that we cannot be stereotyped. We cannot be someone else and they cannot be us. Thus our expressions are unique and this is exactly what we are here for. Once we understand this, there are no ups and downs in our mind, we are relatively stable and also relatively detached from everyday activity. While we are doing it, we are detached from it. It is not that we are indifferent. We are enjoying it, but it is not like a craving, or front footed affair or like being in a pressured mode where awareness cannot survive because mind is taking over. When mind takes over, many negative things are possible, such as wrong decisions, pressured decisions, being pushed into thought, word and action. You are pushed into activity and it also distorts reality. The mind distorts reality. There is probably a reason for an action to take place in a particular location. The mind inflates it, connects it to our past. Sometimes it mixes our past events into an event of the current time and inflates the whole situation. It makes you feel this is very important or that it was bad and shouldn’t have happened! There was probably no problem and it was a very normal situation, but our mind created one! Say, we watch a feature film; some people really get affected by it, while others look at it as a nice movie with a good story and move on. Why is there such a difference in reactions? It is because the mind operates in different ways and our constitutions are different.
Likewise awareness is available 24/7 in the most expanded form. However what you choose to use is what your reality and understanding are. Your understanding level will depend on the level of awareness you are using. So the higher the awareness, the more the enjoyment. The higher your awareness, the higher your visibility. You can see things with clarity. You will see things in a clear and distinct manner and your vision will be based on necessity, so that even if you are interested in many things, you will be objective. You will do what you have to do and perform your duties in life, irrespective of who is around you and what the situations are. Often we are encouraged or discouraged by the people around us or the situations around us. Even issues such as our upbringing, a feeling that our parents did not do enough for us and hence we are angry, blaming others and so on could come up. But all this will change because awareness will take you higher. We understand that these were all situational. The situation is now over, we are moving forward and time is taking us forward whether we like it or not. When time takes you forward and you are existing absolutely in time as it moves, in other words neither in the past which is dead nor in the future which has not yet happened, you are existing in the now, which is the only reality. Let me be here now, that is perfect awareness. That is perfection in awareness, which means that the operational level has shifted to the now. Energy loss will not happen there because maximum energy is lost when you are either moving towards the past, entertaining guilt, or moving towards the future, entertaining anxiety. These drain you. Insecurity draws away your energy, and you feel tired and exhausted. Why should there be insecurity at all? It is because you are eating food today, and you want it tomorrow too! There is an old saying, that if God has given you a mouth, then he has provided the food as well! Trust that God, whichever God you like. This is the truth of existence. God has provided for everybody’s need, but not for everybody’s greed! This is the difference. Thus, when you are existing with higher awareness, there will be no greed. You will be operating, more or less, perpetually in the plane of the Almighty. This is because you cannot be self- centered or narrow minded when you have higher awareness. Both cannot be together, both will not be together. What is the nature of God, the highest entity? Unconditional love, nothing else. The operating level itself is unconditional love, you and I are one! There is no duality. This is higher awareness. This is understanding. Thus higher awareness is available, and it can be easily achieved if you are able to objectively observe your thoughts, words, and actions. Objectively. Then the understanding is, I do not exist, a situation exists and I understand that the situation has been brought about by my inherent karma. This brought forth the situation, this time, this space and I into it. So be it. It’s fine. That awareness will help you to move on in life or float through life, without many upheavals. Even if there are calamities around, we will be fine. If society is filled with people who are fine, society will be a better place. Calamities, murders, rapes, all these will not happen. This is because suppression brings forth reactions. The more you suppress, the more the tendency is to burst the wall and come out. Eruption happens. So higher understanding, higher awareness always brings you into perfect balance. It gives you equanimity in existence. And equanimity leads to liberation.
Transcribed by Vidya Rajagopalan
Proof-read by Caroline Moscato