What is Karma and Rebirth?
Those who follow yogic traditions, as well as many Nature-oriented religions, teach that the soul takes many births in its evolution toward universality, Divinity or enlightenment. The soul must reap the fruits of its actions, must experience the consequences of the energies it has put forth. Just as there is an evolution of form (the body) through the world of Nature, so there is a corresponding evolution of
consciousness (the mind) through repeated births of the soul, which
itself is the underlying manifest or conditioned consciousness
behind the body. The soul is Nature's vehicle for the evolution of
intelligence, which occurs through its experiences in repeated
The law of karma is very
scientific. The effects of our actions must be of the same nature
and extent as the original actions themselves. It is not a question
of reward and punishment but a law of energetics. Our actions set in
motion a subtle or occult force that pushes us along in life. If we
act in a violent way towards others, for example, that violence
becomes embedded in our psyche and reflects upon us, causing us to
act and to be acted upon in a similar way.
If we act in a loving and
compassionate manner that energy carries us along the stream of love
and brings the forces of love into our life to the same degree and
manner as the love we have put forth. Whatever we set in motion
through action, even if that action is directed toward others, we
must come to experience within ourselves. When we die we take with
us the essence of our actions and the will that has caused them,
which becomes the basis of our next life.
Karma is the residue of past
actions that follows the soul along its journey until it is able to transcend action which, based on desire, is always limited. The goal for Dharmic traditions is liberation or union with Truth, the Self. This arises from knowledge, not action, because action which occurs in the realm of time cannot bring us to that which transcends time. We must learn to look beyond action and give up the sense of being the doer. Then the fluctuations of action and its result cannot disturb us, and whatever we do, being detached, will be inherently good.