The way in which the Master tackles the intricate and baffling problem of Karmas, may briefly be stated as under:
Sanchit or the seed Karmas: These are latencies lying in the store-house to one’s account from endless ages, ever since the world began. No one escapes from them unless the same are worked off (without making any more addition thereto, which of course in the nature of things, is an impossibility), in innumerable lives that lie ahead. It is, therefore, not possible to exhaust this tremendous credit balance in one’s account. Is there then no way to cross over the great chasm that lies between the conscious and the sub-conscious and again the gulf that separates the sub-conscious from the unconscious?
Every wrong has a remedy; it may be a spiritual or a secular wrong.
If one fries seed-grains in a pan so that they get puffed up, they lose their fecundity or power of fructification, that is to say the power to germinate and to bear fruit. Exactly in the same way, the Sanchit Karmas can be seared and scorched with the fire of Naam or Word and rendered harmless for the future, for then one becomes a conscious co-worker with the Divine Plan losing all contact with the unknown past.
Pralabdh Karmas: These constitute one’s present fate, his stock-in-trade or destiny as it is called. The fruit of these has got to be borne, no matter how bitter or sweet, for one cannot avoid reaping the harvest already sown. The Master, therefore, leaves them untouched for man to endure with loving sweetness and to finish up during his present lifetime.
If these Karmas were to be wiped out or tampered with in any way, the body itself would dissolve. In grappling with these, a disciple is, however, not left alone. As soon as the Master initiates, the Master Power takes charge of the disciple. He is helped a good deal at every step. By gradual spiritual discipline, he learns the process of self-analysis and withdrawal and grows strong in spirit with the result that the otherwise painful effect of these Karmas just blows over as a gentle breeze, leaving him unscathed.
Even in serious and incurable cases, the Master Power brings into operation His Laws of Sympathy and Mercy. All the troubles of the devoted disciples are greatly mitigated and softened. Sometimes the intensity of bodily and mental troubles is increased a little to shorten the duration of the suffering involved, while at others the intensity is greatly reduced and the duration is prolonged as may be considered appropriate. But this is not all.
The sufferings, troubles and diseases of the physical body accrue from sense-pleasures. Bodily troubles are, of course, to be borne by the physical body. The Master, as Word-personified or Polarized God, knows all about disciples, wherever they may be, either at a distance or near at hand. He may even take over by the law of sympathy the burden of the Karmas of His devoted disciples on His own shoulders to bear Himself, for the Law of Nature has got to be compensated in one form or another.
This happens in very rare cases as the Master may think fit. Besides, no disciple would like to adopt a course, in which the Holy Master should suffer for his wrongs. On the contrary, a disciple must learn to pray to his Master sincerely and if he does so, all feasible help is sure to come to relieve him or to soften the situation and to minimize the resultant suffering; the soul itself becoming strong by feeding on the bread of life and by drawing sustenance from the water of life.
There are, however, things over which a man has no appreciable control:
- the sweets and bitters of life with comforts and discomforts, physical as well as mental;
- riches, opulence and power or destitution, penury and abjectness;
- name and fame or notoriety and downright oblivion.
All these are the usual adjuncts of life on earth and come and go as predestined. All human endeavours are directed to gaining one or more of the sweets of life and in avoiding what is bitter, without realizing that life itself is as evanescent as a cloud, a shadow without a substance, a mere mirage and will-o’-the-wisp; ever flitting and eluding the unwary pilgrim on the scorching desert-sands of time. The Master-Saints by precept and practice bring home to the jiva the illusory nature of the world and all that is worldly, and manifest in him the perennial fountain of life; finding which one gets saturated to the very marrow of his bones and the fibres of his being and becomes fully satisfied, able to sing away life itself.
Kriyaman Karmas: These are the Karmas that we daily do during our present sojourn on the earth-plane. In this respect, every disciple is enjoined to lead a strictly chaste and pure life hereafter in thoughts, words and deeds and to abstain from all that is evil, for any violation or disregard in this behalf is bound to bring trouble in its wake and the price of sin is nothing short of death, death at the very roots of life.
The question here arises as to how Master-Saints take over some of the burden of Karmas of the jivas under special or rare circumstances and manage to rid them of the unpalatable effect. The Karmas connected with the physical body, as said above, are to be borne on the physical body.
God clothed Himself in vile man’s flesh,
that so He might be weak enough to suffer woe.
— J. Donne
We have in history an incident that occurred in the life-story of Baber, the first Mughal king in India. His son Humayun fell seriously ill and everyone despaired of his life. The king in silent sympathy prayed to God that he might be permitted to take over his son’s illness and strange as it may seem, from that very moment the tables were turned; the prince began gradually to recover while the king languished and died. This is just a single instance of vicarious suffering on the human plane.
The Master is of the Lord of Compassion. In His kingdom which is boundless, there is no count of the deeds. Embedded in the divine, He grants contact to each individual with the saving life lines within, which serve as a sheet-anchor in times of distress. The ship may toss on the stormy waters of life, but being moored to the floating buoy it keeps steady on its keel, in spite of the stormy winds and waters around.
Man is irresistibly forced to come on to the stage of the world blindfold just to reap the fruit of his Pralabdh Karma of which he has no knowledge whatsoever. He is not even aware of the working of the physical plane, not to speak of higher regions. With all his professions and protestations, he renders a lip-service to God having no access to the inner Divine Links, the saving life-lines: the Light and the Voice of God. He does not even know the nature of his own real Self and spends all his time in sense-pleasures. He takes himself to be but a creature of chance and lives by chance, a mere puppet on the stage of life.
A Saint, on the other hand, comes with a commission and a purpose. He is God’s elect, His Messiah and His Prophet. He works in His Name and by the Power of His Word. He has no independent will of His own, apart from the Will of God; and being a conscious co-worker with Him on the Divine Plan, He sees the hidden hand of God in all the affairs of life. Living in time, He really belongs to the Timeless. He is Master of life and death but is full of love and compassion for the suffering humanity.
His mission is to link such human souls with God as may be yearning for re-union and may be in earnest quest. His sphere of action is quite distinct from and independent of Avtaras or incarnations, for the latter work only on the human plane. Their job is to keep the world in proper shape and order. Lord Krishna has declared in no ambiguous words that He comes into the world whenever there is an imbalance in the forces of good and evil; the object being to restore the lost equilibrium, to help the righteous and to penalize the unrighteous. Similarly we read of Lord Rama in the Ram Chritra Mansa. He reincarnated himself when the evil in the world was in the ascendant.
The Avtaras come to re-establish righteousness. They cannot, however, throw open the prison gates of the world and take the jivas out into the spiritual planes. This work falls purely within the domain of the Saints, who consciously act as co-workers with the Power of God on the Divine Plan and teach the worship of the Divine alone; for that alone puts an end to the effects of Karma.
A Muslim divine says:
At last it came to light, that in the Kingdom of Darveshs,
Karmas count for naught.
Again, it is said:
A Master-Saint chases away the Karmas
which fly as jackals do in the presence of a lion.
No one can escape from the fruits of his actions – not even the ghosts and spirits; nor the giants, demons, kinnars, yakshas, gandharvas, devas and the gods. Those with luminous, astral and ethereal bodies enjoy the fruits of their actions in the region of Brahmand (causal plane), the third grand division, above the first two, Pind (physical plane) and Und (astral plane). They, too, aspire for and await a human birth to get out of the clutches of Karmic reactions; for in human birth alone there is the chance of contacting some God-man who may reveal to them the secret of the Divine Path, the Sound-Current or the Holy Word.
It would require many years of patient meditation for a man to be able to understand in some measure the arrangement of God’s mighty administration, and very little can be said to the inquiring seeker at this stage. It is also equally difficult to understand a genuine spiritual Master. But with all this, a Sant ordinarily plays the normal part of man while on this earth and He always speaks of Himself as a slave, a bondsman and a servant of God and His people.
In taking over the burden of the Karmas of the devoted souls on His shoulders, a Master-Saint does not overlook or eliminate the “Highest Law.” His position may be likened to that of a king in disguise, who for ameliorating the condition of his subjects freely mixes with them to understand their difficulties and at times even shares with them their joys and sorrows. So far as the human body is concerned, a Master-Saint makes use of the special Divine Concession. He may, in brief, reduce death by guillotine to a thorn-prick. At times, He allows His body to suffer in some slight measure which for an ordinary individual might have been a great travail. In this way, He shows man that all bodies do suffer, for this is Nature’s law for all the embodied creatures. “Physical life is all misery,” declared the Sakya Muni, Lord Buddha.
Sant Kabir also declared that he bad not seen a single human being who was happy for each one whom be happened to come upon was in misery. Guru Nanak graphically draws a pen-picture of the world as full of sorrow and suffering humanity except rare individuals who had taken refuge in Naam. It is because of this sad experience all around that we take the God-man for an ordinary being, like ourselves. In suffering bodily “pain” He plays the part of a man to all appearances, but internally He is always separate from the physical body. The constant contact with the divinity within Him enables Him to escape what may otherwise have been an unbearable sting for the disciple.
Every one who has been put on this path and is engaged in the process of inversion, can withdraw his sensory currents from the body by concentrating them at the centre at the back of the eyes. There may be differences in the time required by different individuals to achieve this, but the results are sure to follow, and are actually verifiable in each case. The devoted disciples on the path, even when on the operation-table, voluntarily dispense with the usual administration to patients of anaesthetics.
They withdraw their consciousness from the body and do not feel the effect of the surgeon’s knife or lancet. Of Bhai Mani Singh, who was sentenced to death by cutting off each joint, it is said that he not only smilingly submitted to the process but even remonstrated with the executioner to stick to the letter of the order when the latter tried to get rid of the nefarious job and wanted to make short work by cutting down the body part by part, instead of joint by joint, as ordered.
The Satsangis who study things with open eyes, very frequently come across several such cases. The souls that have an inner access remain absorbed in the great Self within, and do not make a show of their capabilities. This rule holds good for the simple reason that feats like these are calculated to pass for miracles and hence are to be avoided scrupulously.
Saints do not display miracles nor do they allow any of their disciples to indulge in such vainglorious and empty baubles. Saints, when seemingly ill, are generally seen taking medicinal doses as may be prescribed by the physicians, but actually They do not need such treatment. This They do just to keep up the worldly order of things.
In this way, They set an example to man to continue his worldly routine wisely and resort to proper treatment whenever necessary. It is, of course, expected of the disciples to resort to such medicines as do not contain products of or substances from animal sources; but some of the disciples who have an unshakeable faith in the benign power of the Master-healer within, usually avoid the so-called remedial measures, and allow nature to work on its own, for the healing power within is a part and parcel of the human system.
The bodily disorders as they come should be accepted and borne cheerfully for they are generally the result of our own dietetic errors and can be set right by resort to proper hygienic measures and selective foods. Hippocrates, the father of the medical system, emphasized that food should be taken as medicine. Even serious illness, resulting from Karmic reactions, has to be tolerated with patience without grumbling or bitterness, because all Karmic debts are to be paid and their accounts squared here and now, and the speedier it is done, the better, instead of keeping any outstanding balances to be paid hereafter.
In the time of Hazrat Mian Mir, a great Muslim devout and mystic, it is said that one of his disciples Abdullah, when down with an ailment, withdrew his sensory currents to the eye-focus and closed himself safely in the citadel of peace. His Master Mian Mir when He visited him, pulled Abdullah down to the body consciousness and ordered him to pay what was due from him for he could not indefinitely evade the payment by such tactics.
Unlike most of us, the Master Saints do not devote much time to their bodily needs and cares. They consider the physical raiment as a mere rag to be cast off one day. They take to hard physical and mental labor as need be, seeking no rest and repose, not sleeping for nights on end. Such prodigious acts present a riddle to modern science, though it is common practice with Saints for They are conversant with, and make use of, the higher laws of nature of which we are quite ignorant.
Deeds or Karmas may be grouped under the heads of individual Karmas and group Karmas. The latter are Karmas performed by a society or a nation as a whole and these are termed as Dharma. As an individual bears the fruits of his own Karmas (actions), so does a society, for it has to bear the fruits of the general policies it pursues with the result that innocent individuals have also to suffer for the wrongs arising from the wrongly conceived dharma of the society to which they belong.
When Nadir Shah of Persia invaded India and ordered a general massacre of the people of Delhi, there was a general consternation among the populace and it was believed that the social wrongs of the nation had assumed the form of Nadir. A just retribution for the sins of commission or omission is the very essence of the law of nature and it visits in one form or another, call it what you may like; furies, eumenides or anything else.