Karma - The Mechanism: Tattvarthasutra 9.13

Published: 13.10.2014

Jnanavarane prajnajnane (13)

  • Vanity because of our own great learning as well as
  • ignorance
are both manifestations of karma that blocks or restricts our access to knowledge. (13)


Learning too many details without integrating them into one living experience is as much a manifestation of ignorance as sheer lack of knowledge: Both types of ignorance are variations of karma that blocks or restricts our access to knowledge.

The acquisition of formal knowledge to impress others with our high degree of learning is useless.

When we actively use knowledge to expand our range of experience, it automatically becomes a natural part of our life. As we employ it to evaluate and change our attitudes and activities, knowledge transforms into insight that soon ceases to be new or special and usually also does not give cause for vanity or arrogance.

Without this natural integration knowledge remains a foreign and separate component to us. Persons thirsting for high social status tend to display this formal, dead knowledge with vanity and in arrogant disdain for the 'less learned'. Convinced of their 'superiority' they like to define 'knowledge' as the stiff data they accumulated. Their fellow people easily recognize the vanity for what it is - a flaw of personality, - but unfortunately they also tend to equate 'knowledge' with the stagnancy and boredom these people emanate. And this often kills their natural enthusiasm and thirst for growth.

Any use of 'learning' as a tool of power and attitudes of vanity or pride in it only document a total misunderstanding of the real function of knowledge.

Ignorance also originates in flawed understanding. It manifests as the feeling that we may never have sufficient knowledge to successfully pursue freedom from all karmic limitations.

Yet this feeling of inadequacy is only a manifestation of karma which obscures our insight that we always carry the totality of all knowledge within us - irrespective of who and where we are. That we do not perceive it in its entirety is due to the karmas (preconceptions) that block parts of this knowledge. Once these karmas are removed, the blocked part becomes accessible and any event at any location can make us aware of the additional knowledge.

At any time and at any place we are surrounded by an abundance of material and psychic components that stimulate us to become more conscious of the complete knowledge dormant within us.

One example: Gravity did exist at all times, but the falling of an apple - an entirely trivial event - triggered Issac Newton's sudden understanding of its underlying force. In exactly the same way the most trivial events of our life offer us an abundance of opportunities to extend our understanding to deeper, more comprehensive levels.

We do not have to visit special locations or persons to 'receive' knowledge or to wait till we possess 'better' insight. The path to freedom from all karmic limitations is wide open for everyone at any place and at all times. Precise knowledge about the path is acquired by progressing on the path itself and not by any kind of preliminary training that only moves our start further and further into the future and carries the danger of losing ourselves in an endless and entirely superfluous preparation.


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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  1. Karma
  2. Karmas
  3. Pride
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