Karma Cubed – Three Views of Karma

Quoting from S.N. Sastri’s Terms and Concepts in Vedanta:

“The word ‘karma’ is used in two different senses in vedAnta:

(1) the results of actions performed, in the form of merit and demerit (puNya and pApa), which produce their effects later on, usually in another birth, and

(2) the action itself, whether secular or religious.”

After reading Swami Narayana Muni Prasad’s superb booklet “Karma and Reincarnation” I would like to point to a third sense in which the word karma can and needs to be understood, especially for advanced students of Advaita.

karmaKarma as puNya and pApa

At some point every seeker comes across the concept of karma in this sense. If he follows Western Advaita he may dismiss the concept as something altogether irrelevant or, if he is not yet an advaitin, he may subscribe to the Western version of karma as an assignment for this lifetime (see http://advaita-academy.org/blogs/Sitara.ashx?Y=2011&M=June) which, if successfully absolved, will produce the kind of life that everyone is wishing for: safe, pleasant and ethical. Continue reading