Saturday, 22 December 2012

Karma as Gravity

I'm on a gravity theme. I like gravity, because it provides a good analogy for many things. So after talking about Guru as gravity (below), I now want to talk about karma as gravity.

In the West, we often talk about 'good karma' and 'bad karma'. But really, the distinction does not exist.

A great many of us are brought up in the West with at least some influence of Christianity. Even if we were not brought up as church-goers, many of those around us will have been church-goers, or will themselves have been raised by church-goers. In Christianity there is a clear dichotomy of good and evil. God and the Devil, two opposed forces.

This runs so deep within our society, that many people have a very, very deep rooted impression that Good and Evil are absolute forces. Even if we don't think it consciously, it's a mindset that filters through into our thought patterns, and colours the way we see the world, to a greater or lesser extent.

This dichotomy of absolute good and evil is not present in other cultures, and specifically not in Hindu/yogic culture. In Yoga, there is no devil. Even beings such as Ravana, the demon who kidnapped Sita, is not ultimately evil. He was just a being, like you or I, who had an incarnation as a demon. His ultimate true nature was of Sat Chit Ananda, just as for every other being in the universe.

So there is no ultimate good and evil. And also there is no good karma and bad karma. Karma is karma, and karma does what karma does. Karma is really just cause and effect. We all operate within the field of maya, and karma is one of the laws of nature within maya. Karma makes no decisions, and makes no judgements. Karma is not a conscious entity watching your actions and giving you 'what you deserve'.

Here comes the gravity. Gravity is a law of nature, just like karma. Everywhere I go, and everything I do, I'm doing it within the field of gravity. So, right now, I'm sitting in a chair and typing. Gravity is acting on me, and so I remain in the chair, and I don't have to worry about floating around the room like an astronaut! I don't have to wear magnetic boots so I can stay on the floor, and I don't have to put padding over all my walls, and be scared of every sharp corner. All thanks to gravity. So that's good gravity.

On the other hand, if I'm walking along not paying attention, and I happen to walk off the edge of a cliff, that same gravity would take hold of me and smash me into the rocks two hundred feet below. Bad gravity?

It's quite clear to see that in these cases, there was no 'good gravity' and 'bad gravity'. Gravity made no judgements about my actions. Gravity had no conscious decisions to make about the outcome of my actions. I acted, and gravity was just gravity, doing what gravity does.

Karma is the same. You act, and karma does what karma does. The consequences are rarely as immediate, which tends to make it seem more mysterious, but the principle is the same. There is no 'good karma' or 'bad karma', there is just karma doing what it does.

Of course, there may be karma we 'like', and karma we 'dislike', but that's far from the same as good and bad karma. Saying good karma makes it sound like something desirable. But it isn't. We need to be free from all karma. Trying to build up good karma is every bit as useless as trying to build up bad karma.


Because if you are trying to build up good karma, this means you are carrying out your actions with the desire and expectation of result. And any result, any karmic consequence, only binds us further into maya. Carrying a suitcase full of good karma into our next incarnation, is still carrying a suitcase full of karma.

We need to try to operate in such a way that we incur no karma. In terms of gravity, we need to become weightless. We need to operate in such a manner as we are not creating more waves, not interacting with the ebb and flow of karmic existence.


Karma yoga. We have to do as Krishna exhorted, and carry out our actions without expectation of, or desire for, the fruit. And good karma is the sweetest and tastiest fruit of all! Acting as Krishna (and Swami-ji!) tells us allows us to gently express the samskaras of our past karmas, without creating any further karmic baggage.

So, I don't like to think of good and bad karma. It's just karma, doing what it does.


  1. Thank you Sannyasi Dharma for framing the concept in a user friendly way and also through synchronicity directing me in an area that I was currently pondering :-)

    Hari Om!

  2. Thanks dharma. I meant to ask Sw. PRAGYAMURTI about 'bad karma' . Need to consider what you have posted here. Hari Om Karon.

  3. Dharma. Can you help me with this question? Incarnation. Why are we incarnated and what does this have to do with karma? Karon x


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