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Does Karma Burn Itself out on Its Own?
Ram: Dear Keith, about your statement in your last email that karma burns itself out on its own, the spiritual texts don’t support this view nor does common sense and reason. Yes, karmic situations change, but karmic impediments do not just disappear without conscious effort to remove them. Even when they seem to have gone on their own, the vasana that created them simply reconstitutes them in another form. The method sanctioned for burning karma is called karma yoga, which is an attitude that a spiritual person takes toward action and its results. A spiritual person wants to exhaust karma because he or she is aiming for a peaceful mind. What good is a peaceful mind? If the mind is clear the self shines brightly in it and one’s attention naturally gravitates to it – because it is so beautiful. As one meditates on, the self-inquiry happens spontaneously and ultimately self-knowledge results.
Very often people who have a particularly difficult karmic knot to unravel entertain the belief that karma burns itself up because they don’t really want to look at the attachments that are causing their karma to disturb them. If you argue that there is no doer to unravel karmic knots then there is no one who is suffering karmic problems in the first place, so your worry about money and your unhappiness with your marriage does not exist.
But we know that we have karmic problems and these karmic problems impede our appreciation of life. If you are willing to suffer a particular karmic pain because of an attachment, that is fine. It is entirely up to you. But one shouldn’t think that somehow, by magic perhaps, the problem will go away on its own. Even if it seems to, it will simply appear in another guise.
Anyway, those are Sri Ramji’s words of wisdom. There are of course many more words of wisdom on this topic of karma, but Sri Ramji has to go out in the big world and deal with his own karmic problems, particularly a computer that needs a new microprocessor and garage sales that might have things for his new home.
~ Much love, Ram