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Advanced Yoga Study ( By Swami Dharmananda
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and causal universes and find its ultimate freedom and union with God in the transcendental realm. 

Definition of karma 
"Karma" means action. A physical action is physical karma and a mental action like thinking, feeling, willing etc. is mental karma. Mental karma is the real karma and is superior to the physical karma. The word karma is also used to denote the fruit or effect of the actions. The seed or samskaras that every action produces is also called karma. 

The Law 
Every action creates an effect or fruit. This fruit has to be experienced. Good actions create good fruits in the form of peace, health and happiness. Bad actions create bad fruits creating sickness, pain and suffering. Good actions are those that stimulate our spiritual growth. Bad actions are those that obstruct our spiritual growth. The fruit comes to us either 

  • Immediately 
  • Delayed 
  • Carried over to the next life (Prarabdha Karma) 
  • Or stored, to be carried over to the life beyond the next (Sanchita karma) 

Every action creates a seed or ‘samskara'. This seed creates in the mind a strong urge to repeat that action. Repeated actions create habit patterns. These habit patterns, create our inner nature, our likes and dislikes, our capacities and limitations, our biases and prejudices etc. We are all born with a certain personality trait because of these samskaras. Our present actions are affected by three factors. 

  • Free choice 
  • Samskaras or habit patterns i.e. the environment inside 
  • Gunas of Nature i.e. the environment outside. 

Karmas are of three types 

Actions that are done out of total free choice and not compelled by the forces of past habit patterns or the environment outside are called Purushakara. These actions when done according to the principles of Karma Yoga do not create fresh seeds and therefore helps in the release of the soul from bondage to matter. 

The seeds of past life actions that are fructifying in this life are called prarabdha karma. It is also the results of actions done in a past life whose effect did not materialize in that life and is now materializing in this life. This effect of past life actions cannot be changed and has to be patiently experienced by either enjoying of suffering as the case may be. Our present body, its health, mental faculties, likes and dislikes, inner tendencies, prejudices are all a 


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