“Karma literally means “deed” or “act” and more broadly is the universal principle of cause and effect, action and reaction which governs all life. Karma is a natural law of the mind, just as gravity is a law of matter’
Karma means not only action, but also the result of an action. Whatever we are going through at the moment is the result of previous actions, not just of this life, but many lives. In short Karma is the sum total of our actions both in this life and in the preceding ones. Nothing happens by accident or chance actions. Everything happens in regular order, the past, present and the future being interconnected and interdependent. Cause is Effect concealed, and Effect is Cause revealed!
Let us examine the theory of Karma and rebirth. You will not cease to exist after death. It is the physical body that dies. The astral body and causal body continue forth. The causal body has all your Karmas stored in it as seeds, seeds that result in rebirth. As long as man has not exhausted all his Karmas, he has to be born again. All our actions and thoughts become the seeds for our future lives. Karma is at the root of this cycle of births and deaths. Again and again Karma makes us take birth. Countless times have we been born and countless times have we died. Very many wombs have we passed through.
Karmic Debt (Runanubandhana):
In each life, we have mother, father, brothers, sisters, spouse, children and so on. We are born in a family as a result of undischarged debts of past lives. Constantly we are creating accounts, debiting and crediting. We are creating Karmic debts with all those with whom we interact. The Karmic debts (runa) lead to bondage or attachment (bandhana). These Karmic attachments pull us into the wheel of existence again and again. Runanubandhana (the bond that results from Karma debts) is at the root of repeated lives.
Karma leads to runa and runa leads to Karma. It works both ways. If you have given something to somebody in some life, the memory is stored in your casual body. That person will be your debtor in this birth. If you have taken in the past, it will be taken from you in some birth. The causal body stores the memory of all of one’s runanubandhanas of countless births. Till all the karma stored in the causal body is burnt away or exhausted, there is no liberation from rebirth. Human life is nothing but a memory of runanubandhana, the story of the countless karmas that we make, and live through. Every relationship reflects some runanubandhana. The people with whom we have very strong Ruanubandhana become our parents, spouse, children and co-borns in this life. The memory of Karmic debts may be sweet or bitter. Sweet memories of karmic debts lead to a `happy’ relationship and bitter memories to an `unhappy’ relationship. In reality most of the karmic debts are mixed, a mixture of sweet and bitter memories. That is why most relationships are of a mixed nature. I will try to explain briefly two kinds of relationships that are very important: parent/child and love/marriage relationships.
This relationship is the most important. This is the easiest way to discharge our karmic debts toward one another. Some possible ways in which it works:
i. A person whom you have helped in some life is born as a child, takes good care of you in the present life and discharges his/her debt.
ii. A person to whom you owe a lot in some life may be born as your son or daughter and take back what you owe. Such a child makes you spend heavily on her/him.
iii. A person whom you cheated ruthlessly in a previous life is born as your child and gives you a lot of suffering, takes your money and goes away.
iv. An enemy of some life is born as a son/daughter in this life, in which case, he/she behaves like an enemy, hates you and causes a lot of suffering to you. The spouse, the parents, siblings, friends, servants, all is born in a set up together as a result of runanubandhana.
SEX/ LOVE/ MARRIAGE
Two people can be mutually attracted to one another only if there was some relationship between them in some previous life. When you meet a person to whom you were related in a previous life, the stored memories or the runanubandhana stir up your emotions and you may start feeling for the person. In fact sex itself has runanubandhana at its roots. In countless lives, we would have had sex with many people. Every longstanding relationship leads to certain deep impressions. Any act when done repeatedly can become a habit. Every habit leaves an impression. These impressions are the samskaras, which drive us to act again. That is why we get sexually attracted many times. But if we have no more debt (runa) with the other person, it just remains as a fleeting thought, as an impulse only. But if the runanubandhana is still there, the attraction results in a relationship. Sometimes even if the karmic debt is discharged, still the samskaras (impressions of past acts) drive us to sex. We eventually end up creating a fresh account, a further karmic debt that is not advisable. Somebody who was your mate in a previous life could have come back as your mother, sibling or father. That is how incest occurs! The previous samskaras stir up an over whelming urge to have sex again in this life. But the nature of the relationship, the purpose being different in this life, it only leads to fresh unwanted karma, which is not safe. In the majority of the sexual attractions, it is only the samskaras and not the actual karmic debts (runa) that operate. But if there is any undischarged karmic debt, it results in a relationship of love. When the karmic accounts are settled, once there is no more debt, the relationship breaks suddenly. But if the runanubandhana is very strong, it results in a long-standing relationship like marriage.
This is the cause of every relationship, how it is born and how it ends. But nothing is permanent. No karmic debt can be everlasting. Eventually it has to end, when the debt is discharged, when the account is balanced. In this impermanent world change is the law of life. Countless wombs have we passed through. Innumerable mothers, fathers and wives have we been with. But when a karmic debt is over, the attachment might still be there. We still cling on. When runa is over, the relationship has to end. But anubandhana (bondage or attachment) might still make us cling to the person. Like the fan that turns for a while even after the power supply has been switched off, the attachment doesn’t die for some time. Once the runa is over, nothing can sustain the relationship. Hence any further remnants of attachment (anubandhana) are bound to produce only suffering and misery. In some cases, one of the two people involved grows out of the relationship once the runa (debt) is discharged. But the other refuses to move on, due to the attachment (anubandhana). The second person suffers tremendously because any further attachment leads to misery and suffering only. Sometimes there is bitterness also after separation. This bitterness can sow the seeds for future karma! When the karmic debts are over, when a couple has to part ways, as far as possible, it should be done with the least negative feelings. They should part in an amicable way to avoid further seeds of new karma. Easier said than done. The karma that brings two people together into marriage can also be of many types. I will mention a few below:
i. Bitter enemies are born as husband and wife and always fight, criticize, deceive one another and make their lives miserable.
ii. Two people who have created negative karma between them come back as man and wife and lead a life of suffering together, fighting with one another.
iii. Two people who have created both positive and negative karma between them come back as man and wife and have a mixed life causing both happiness and unhappiness to one another.
iv. Two people who have created positive karma between them in previous lives come back as man and wife and lead a relatively happy life.
v. One who has taken a lot in some life has to give in the present life. In such a case, one of them will always be giving (money, love, care, etc.) and the other receiving.
vi. Two souls who are evolving spiritually come as husband and wife, help each other in their evolution and benefit one another. This is the purpose of marriage.”