When I was first introduced to this topic “Karma” in YTT, the thoughts that came to my mind were “What goes around comes around”, “as you sow, so shall you reap” and “good karma, bad karma”. After the Master Ram covered this topic, little did I realize that my understanding of Karma is so shallow, and there exists multiple definitions and different meanings.
There are 3 types of Karmas, namely:
1) Sanchitta Karma
The way I understands this is “past karma”. Sanchitta is the total karma accumulated from all our actions, be it good or bad from our past lives. These are latent which is awaiting to become an action.
2) Prarabdha Karma
I classify this as “present karma”. These are portion of the past karma, or Sanchitta Karma that comes into fruition through actions in present life.
3) Agami Karma
Then finally, Agami Karma would be the “future karma”, which are the consequences based on present actions that will define our karma for the future. So these are more like impression which we are creating on the future.
With the new understanding of Karma, I now translate Karma into “Cycle of Cause and Effect”. I read an example about caffeine addiction which I would like to share to help you relate to the understanding of Karma. Suppose you have been drinking coffee every morning, and one day you skip your coffee and you got an headache. It is because you had coffee in the past, the impression of it in the mind makes you crave for it. The moment you make coffee to satisfy your craving, you are creating a craving for the future.
I am still very new to this entire Karma philosophy and I am hopeful that over time, I can undo some impressions that I have gathered over the years and have a better control of my mind.
So where do I start? I begin to observe the karma that is being manifested in my daily life. I became more aware of my day-to-day actions because these produce impressions in my mind. I remind myself that my present actions are affected by my thoughts and actions of my past, and what I do now will affect my future. Before I made any choices or actions, or even harbor any thoughts, I will question myself…. “is this due to an impression I’ve created in my previous lives? how can I break free from it?”
I’ll encourage you to start small and practice the above. The next step I would like to move to, is to remove the desire of the fruits of my actions, focusing only on the process and not outcome. This ensures that I will always be doing my best and find contentment in what I do.