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What is karma?

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Expressions researched:
"What is karma"

Conversations and Morning Walks

1974 Conversations and Morning Walks

Karma, anyone can understand. As you... Fruitive activities. You do something and enjoy the good or bad result. That is karma. You do something, either good or bad. So the result you'll have to suffer or enjoy.
Morning Walk -- April 1, 1974, Bombay:

Chandobhai: ...proktam adhidaivaṁ kim ucyate.

adhiyajñaḥ kathaṁ ko 'tra
dehe 'smin madhusudhana
prayana-kale ca kathaṁ
jneyo 'si niyatātmābhiḥ

Very important.

Prabhupāda: Yes. So these are the questions. So the answer will be there.

Chandobhai: Yes, answers. Akṣaraṁ brahma paramaṁ svabhāvo 'dhyātmam ucyate.

Dr. Patel: Param Brahman is akṣara.

Prabhupāda: Akṣara? First of all try to understand. Akṣara... Akṣara means, "that does not fall down." That is akṣara. Akṣara and kṣara. The spiritual world is akṣara, and this material world is kṣara. So the living entities or God in the spiritual world, they are all akṣara. And in the material world we are all kṣara. Therefore akṣaram paramaṁ brahma. The Supreme...

Chandobhai: Svabhāvo 'dhyātmam.

Prabhupāda: Svabhāvam.

Dr. Patel: Sva means "own."

Prabhupāda: Eh?

Dr. Patel: Bhāva means...? Bhāva (Gujarati)? Essence, essence.

Prabhupāda: Sva-bhāvaḥ means nature.

Dr. Patel: Nature. Sva-bhāvaḥ...

Chandobhai: Adhyātmam.

Dr. Patel: Adhi-ātma. That is the...

Chandobhai: That is real bhāva.

Prabhupāda: Adhyātma. Adhyātma means bodily and mentally.

Chandobhai: Ah, bodily and mentally, yes.

Dr. Patel: Adhyātma? Bodily and mentally?

Prabhupāda: Yes.

Chandobhai: Mentally. Spiritually... Inner existence.

Prabhupāda: No. Adhyātmam. Adhyātma. Ātma means body, mind and the soul, but here adhyātma means the body and the mind. That is material nature. The body and mind is made of material nature. (break) ...creation.

Chandobhai: Creation, yes.

Prabhupāda: So by working with the body, we create another creation.

Dr. Patel: Bhūta-bhāvodbhava...

Prabhupāda: Just like now I am a human being. Next life I may be a demigod, I may be a dog. That I create. That is sarga.

Dr. Patel: That is karma.

Chandobhai: That is his karma. That is his karma.

Dr. Patel: What is karma?

Prabhupāda: Karma, anyone can understand. As you... Fruitive activities. You do something and enjoy the good or bad result. That is karma. You do something, either good or bad. So the result you'll have to suffer or enjoy.

Dr. Patel: But here is a very big question. I'm very sorry to... Who does the karma? Unless and until we have got ahaṅkāra in that, then...

Prabhupāda: The ahaṅkāra is there, false ahaṅkāra. You are thinking that "I am kṣatriya." That is false ahaṅkāra.

Dr. Patel: That is what I said. So doer is that, ahaṅkāra is the doer.

Prabhupāda: That ahaṅkāra...

Dr. Patel: Then it is karma. Not otherwise.

Prabhupāda: As soon as you come to the material world, the ahaṅkāra is there, that "I... I belong to India." "I belong to America." "I belong to brāhmaṇa community, kṣatriya..." The ahaṅkāra is there. Ahaṅkāra-vimūḍhātmā. So long this ahaṅkāra is there, "I am this, I am that," all bodily concept...

Chandobhai: Ahaṅkāra-vimūḍhātmā kartāham iti manyate (BG 3.27).

Prabhupāda: Yes.

Dr. Patel: But this karma. Here is the question of karma.

Prabhupāda: The karma... Karma means he is doing, but every, everyone is doing in his own way. Nobody, nobody cares to understand the instruction of Kṛṣṇa. Everyone is doing in his own way. That is karma.

Dr. Patel: Kiṁ karma kim akarmeti kavayo...

Prabhupāda: Ah, that will be explained. Karma, akarma, yes. (break) ...the same, material. Kṣara. Kṣara bhāvaḥ. That is perishable.

Chandobhai: Perishable.

Prabhupāda: Yes.

Chandobhai: Puruṣaś cādhidaivatam.

Prabhupāda: Puruṣa. Puruṣa means the soul.

Chandobhai: Soul. Jīva.

Prabhupāda: Yes, the jīva. Puruṣa adhidaivatam. Then?

Chandobhai: Adhiyajño 'ham evātra.

Prabhupāda: Adhiyajñaḥ means Paramātmā.

Dr. Patel: Adhidaiva means jīva.

Prabhupāda: No.

Chandobhai: No, no. Adhidaiva, puruṣa.

Prabhupāda: Adhidaiva, jīva. Adhiyajña, Paramātmā.

Dr. Patel: That is what I said.

Prabhupāda: Yes.

Chandobhai: Adhiyajña is... (break)

Prabhupāda: Karma means which produces result. And akarma means which does not produce result. So that they do not know.

Chandobhai: And the vikarma.

Prabhupāda: Just like these activities, devotional service, it does not produce any result. And the ordinary man... Suppose they are also selling books. An ordinary man also selling books. It appears to be the same. But they are not creating any result. But ordinary bookseller, he's creating his result, pāpa-puṇya. That is karma and akarma. And vikarma. Vikarma means against the...

Chandobhai: Vikṛta karma.

Prabhupāda: Yes, vikṛta.

Chandobhai: Vikṛta, against śāstra.

Dr. Patel: Although the actions which are prohibitory...

Prabhupāda: Yes, yes.

Dr. Patel: ...and if we do it, it is vikarma.

Prabhupāda: Yes.

Chandobhai: Adhiyajño 'ham evātra dehe deha-bhṛtāṁ vara. Īśvara, īśvara.

Prabhupāda: Īśvara.

Dr. Patel: That means īśvaraḥ sarva-bhūtānāṁ... (BG 18.61). (break)

Prabhupāda: ...important thing, mām, Kṛṣṇa. They practice it, always remembering Kṛṣṇa. Then at the end of life, ante nārāyaṇa-smṛti. That is perfection of life. But how one will remember, ante, then? There is a verse of... Just wait.

Chandobhai: Yaṁ yaṁ vāpi smaran... (BG 8.6).

Prabhupāda: No. Just wait. There is a verse by Kulaśekhara. Kulaśekhara. Adyaiva viśatu me mānasa-rāja-haṁsaḥ. He says. He says, "My Lord..." The idea is that "Now I am in quite fit order. So let me remember You and die. Because at the end of... At the end of... Kapha-pitta-vāyu, there will be disorder. Smaraṇaṁ kutas te (MM 33). At that time, it is..."

Dr. Patel: How can there be the smaran?

Prabhupāda: Yes. "Therefore, my Lord, I pray that adyaiva, immediately, because now I am fit."

Dr. Patel: Right now.

Prabhupāda: Right now. "Now I am fit. So let me remember You and die." So one must be fit. You see, even in daily, in dream, while sleeping, we forget so many things. Everything we forget.

Chandobhai: Yes.

Prabhupāda: So at the time of death, when everything is disordered, nothing is in order, unless one is very strongly practiced, how he can remember?

Dr. Patel: My father spoke, "Oṁ," and he stopped breathing and...

Prabhupāda: That's nice. Oṁ, oṁ ity eka... That is...

Dr. Patel: Then he stopped breathing.

Prabhupāda: That means he practiced. Therefore, either you practice Oṁ or Hare Kṛṣṇa, that is all right.

Dr. Patel: Whatever we do of our whole, all our whole, all day of life, it comes at the end. That is why you must continue to do for the life.

Prabhupāda: Twenty-four hours. Kīrtanīyaḥ sadā hariḥ (CC Adi 17.31). Always Hare Kṛṣṇa Hare Kṛṣṇa Hare Kṛṣṇa... In this way practicing, if somebody is fortunate enough, he can remember.

Dr. Patel: Eṣā brāhmī sthitiḥ pārtha na... Sthitvā samanta-kāle 'pi brahma-nirvāṇam ṛcchati.

Prabhupāda: So...

Dr. Patel: Therefore at the last moment you... But you can't get that last moment in this position because you have, whole life, you have...

Prabhupāda: Yes, you have spoiled your life simply in material activities. How you can remember?

Dr. Patel: But even if you are doing material activities by your body, and by your mental activities you are bhaja kṛṣṇa...

Prabhupāda: But you are under the body... Prakṛteḥ kriyamāṇāni (BG 3.27). Body and mind is working... Unless you practice to be above body and mind... That is bhakti-yoga. Māṁ cāvyabhicāriṇi-bhakti-yoga..., sa guṇān samatītya. You cannot expect that you go on doing all these material activities and at the time of death you'll remember Kṛṣṇa. That is not possible.

Dr. Patel: That can't be done.

Prabhupāda: That is not possible.

Chandobhai: Should be a real concentrated difference

Prabhupāda: Yes.

Chandobhai: When you do the work, you should be a real concentration.

Prabhupāda: That is not possible.

Chandobhai: Therefore there is no... Because your attachment is more to the...

Prabhupāda: Yes.

Chandobhai: ...reserves of that...

Prabhupāda: Vīta-rāga-bhaya-krodhā man-mayā... (BG 4.10).

Chandobhai: Mad-bhaktaḥ.

Prabhupāda: Man-mayā mad-aśritāḥ. Unless he takes shelter of Kṛṣṇa, these things are not possible. Simply by talking it is not possible. There must be practice.

Chandobhai: Acaropanam.(?)

Prabhupāda: Yes.

Dr. Patel: (Sanskrit)

Chandobhai: Yaṁ yaṁ vāpi smaram bhāvaṁ tyajanty ante... (break)

Prabhupāda: There is a risk. Yaṁ yaṁ vāpi. If you are thinking of dog, then you become a dog.

... more about "What is karma?"
MadhuGopaldas +  and Rishab +
June 16, 0011 JL +
August 23, 0012 JL +
BG: 0 +, SB: 0 +, CC: 0 +, OB: 0 +, Lec: 0 +, Conv: 1 +  and Let: 0 +