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Karma - The Mechanism: Tattvarthasutra 8.25

Published: 09.09.2014

Sadvedyashubhayurnamagotrani punyam (25)

The agreeable variations of karma that determine
  • our feeling of life (vedaniya)
  • the duration and place of our (future) embodiment(s) (ayu)
  • the form and features of our body (nama)
  • what status we carry in our social environment (gotra)
are called positive karma (punya). (25)

Positive karma brings about an agreeable subjective feeling of life and ideally leads to spiritual growth.

Positive karma (punya) is always the result of our own actions and attitudes. Comfortable circumstances of life, high status, friends etc. indicate that now or at an earlier time we created the basis for this agreeable environment. Since this (our very own) karma will manifest in any case, there is no reason why we should not enjoy these circumstances.

However - one aspect of this situation is somewhat problematic: All manifestation of positive as well as negative karma is limited in time - sooner or later every positive (and negative) experience will end.

In these circumstances we are basically facing two alternatives:

  • either we enjoy the agreeable situation till it ends - and then try to re-establish the positive conditions we became accustomed to

  • or we accumulate new positive karma while still enjoying the positive state. At the manifestation of the newly acquired positive karma our agreeable conditions of life will then continue.

In both cases we experience the world - more or less consciously - as the result of a karmic process. But we also remain on a level of existence that only appears attractive to us because we are unaware of more advanced levels.

Yet there is a third alternative. If we gain direct access to the immense dimensions (of knowledge, love, power, abilities and happiness) within us, we will experience these qualities directly - without karmic limitations.

On this path we gradually dissolve all karmic bonds to reach superior and far more interesting stages. Initially we may be unable to picture what these more advanced stages will feel like, but after our first few serious steps in this direction new understanding, perception and action arises automatically. Once we start to experience the world more consciously than ever before, immense encouragement supports our exploration of entirely new dimensions of life.

Unfortunately this path is not always open to us. Though every living being has an inherent potential for this development, our access is often blocked by karmic processes we caused by our own actions and attitudes.

Yet the strength of these blocks varies in the course of time. There always are phases when we recognize our potential for development more clearly. During these phases our access to this third path is open.[47] It is entirely our own decision how we use this opening.

The incarnation in an agreeable and safe environment clearly states that this third alternative is open to us, since it usually provides the means and time for spiritual expansion. If we take positive life-circumstances as the basis for our journey into advanced, new and fascinating dimensions, we not only unfold our very own inherent potential, but will also[48] generate sufficient positive karma to guarantee that these valuable circumstances will support all future development as well.

The positive types of karma listed in this sutra are mentioned to make us aware of the broad basis that already supports our spiritual growth. If and with how much engagement we take up this rare opening is our very own decision.


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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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Page glossary
Some texts contain  footnotes  and  glossary  entries. To distinguish between them, the links have different colors.
  1. Ayu
  2. Body
  3. Environment
  4. Gotra
  5. Karma
  6. Nama
  7. Punya
  8. Sutra
  9. Vedaniya
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