Karma - The Mechanism: Tattvarthasutra 9.03

Published: 03.10.2014

Tapasa nirjara cha (3)

The intentional confrontation (tapas - the burning) of karma dissolves existing karma and prevents the binding of new karma. (3)

The first two sutras describe how to prevent the acquisition of new karma. This is the first and most important step towards dissolving all karma. Yet this process leaves the dissolution of all our existing karma to its natural course. 'Natural course' means that our existing karma will dissolve only at its time of natural manifestation - i.e. when the conditions for its activation arise on their own. Unfortunately much time may pass till this occurs. This process is characterized by reaction and passive observation rather than dynamic action. Though it may also involve activity, we do not actively search out this manifestation, but passively wait for it to happen.

Yet we can accelerate this process. Consciously confronting karma means to actively create conditions that stimulate karma to manifest immediately. It is the intentional initiation of (agreeable as well as uncomfortable) situations that are emotionally charged. It is actively seeking the confrontation with conditions - persons and situations - that deeply influence our feeling of life. It is consciously creating conditions in which our long standing, yet unmanifested desires, dreams and ideas can become real.

All aspirations, desires and hopes dormant within us - which we forever keep postponing, and for whose realization we never mustered sufficient courage, - indicate that we carry an attachment (karma) within us that binds us to exactly these ideas. As long as we avoid creating a reality in which these dreams and desires can manifest, we will always feel an urge to express these - our very own - concepts of greatness and capability deep within us. Even if the urge appears small or seems to dissipate during the course of our life, this does not dissolve the original karmic bond. Unfulfilled emotional attachment is the main and foremost cause for further incarnations. We will always be drawn to further embodiments as long as unfulfilled aspirations still exist within us.

There is no reason why the conscious confrontation with karma should be negative or produce negative effects. We certainly can decide for ourselves whether we want to approach a situation with a negative or positive disposition. One example: We usually feel like under a heavy burden when we head for a clash with someone whose power we fear. But we may also and as easily interpret this confrontation as a decisive step towards our freedom and away from the dreaded influence. This positive attitude will even reinforce us with additional verve and energy.

There is no compulsion to focus only on the tensions that might accompany the confrontation. Any anxiety we may experience during the dispute will only last for a short time while the outcome can easily open a new sovereign and more independent life for us.

And - no matter what the result of this conscious confrontation may be - we always profit from it. We will in any case experience new freedom because we now know how courageous we can be. We further realize that we are quite capable of carrying out what we set ourselves to do. The confrontation removed karma that previously blocked our expansion into new fields of life. And last not least we released the pressures that often accompany such unresolved issues.

The conscious confrontation with situations whose outcome is uncertain and unforeseeable often causes initial fear or apprehension. Yet this fear and disquiet is nothing other than one form of the very karma we consciously intend to dissolve. Overcoming these effects 'burns' karma (tapas literally: 'heating by fire'). It is an active process that requires courage, but is highly effective.

It makes no sense to be afraid of this 'initial fear' itself because this again binds exactly the same type of 'fear-' karma. As long as fear is a theme of our life - i.e. as long as this type of karma exists within us - we cannot escape it by trying to avoid fear. By avoiding situations that we believe will produce fear, we merely direct this negative emotion towards other situations, persons or objects. Only by consciously confronting fear - by realizing how irrelevant it is for our progress - will we remove its original cause.[54]


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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. Fear
  2. Karma
  3. Nirjara
  4. Tapas
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