Karma - The Mechanism: Tattvarthasutra 6.23

Published: 14.08.2014

Tadviparitam shubhasya (23)

The opposite (i.e. straightforward, honest thoughts, words and actions) attracts karma that manifests an appealing body with pleasant radiation. (23)

Our physical body - and its inner characteristics, energy, abilities and potential - represent the visual and tactile result of all our desires, attitudes and the energy with which we project them into action.

The appearance of our body is mainly determined by our behavior in the present - i.e. by our very current thoughts, words and actions. Many body-forming karmas do not manifest in some nebulous, far away future incarnation, but - often with shocking intensity - in this very life.

Examples of the effects of body-forming karma are easy to find: People who looked fresh, sheen and attractive in their youth, often show early traits of decadence in their faces if their life revolves mainly around pleasures and indulgences. The longer they maintain this lifestyle, the more their appearance deteriorates. - Others who strive for inner growth and equanimity often radiate inner beauty, harmony and growing attraction though their outer appearance would never comply with any beauty concept.

Body-forming karmas tell us instantly how the inner attitudes we express in our thinking, words and action affect us. This is their main function.

The bodily forms and features of others inform us in a subtle way about their inner attitudes. We intuitively perceive facial and bodily appearance as agreeable or disagreeable and react with attraction or rejection. We thus may e.g. intuitively shun the attitudes an ugly body signifies and thereby save us from acquiring similar negative karma (attitudes). The beauty of an attractive form may inspire us to strive for the underlying grace this form symbolizes and thereby attain the respective positive karma. We will feel untouched if we already completed the lesson a particular form represents.[30]

If our own body is subject to attachment or rejection, we receive even more immediate information.

As long as we do not consciously recognize this educational function of karma, our progress in learning will be dominated by this effective, yet slow and cumbersome process. It is the purpose of scriptures (Tattvarthasutra, Dravya Sangraha etc.) and their teachers to explain the corresponding processes so that we may take conscious control of our karma and prevent its acquisition - if this is our intention. Any conscious understanding of the karmic mechanisms we are involved in accelerates our progress towards ultimate freedom considerably.

We may at any time influence our bodily form by simply changing our desires, attitudes and actions. The point in time this change becomes visible certainly depends on the intensity of our presently active karma. Yet this needs not necessarily take long. Any fundamental departure from e.g. a general negative attitude will almost immediately be recognized and appreciated by our social environment. How much time we need for stabilizing new (positive) attitudes and how many difficulties we have to overcome in this process, depends how deeply we were emotionally attached to our previous undesired attitude and how much energy we invest into dissolving it. The more intense our desire for change, the faster the change will manifest.


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Title: Karma - The Mechanism

Publisher: Crosswind Publishing

Edition: 2000

HN4U Edition: 2014

'The purpose of souls is to assist each other.'
TATTVARTHASUTRA - Chapter 5, Sutra 21

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Some texts contain  footnotes  and  glossary  entries. To distinguish between them, the links have different colors.
  1. Body
  2. Dravya
  3. Environment
  4. Equanimity
  5. Karma
  6. Karmas
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