WHAT IS KARMA?
Avoiding to perform an action is also karma. There are voluntary karmas and involuntary karmas. Brushing your teeth every morning is a voluntary karma. Things that happen without the desire to do them are involuntary karmas. For example, a knee jerk or raising your hands to protect yourself from a falling object which falls on an ant instead and kills it. This an involuntary karma. Stepping on an ant while walking is an ‘involuntary karma’. Involuntary karmas are not accounted for.
As we are witness to the karmas that happen through our bodies, mind, spirit (at various levels of consciousness i.e. conscious, subconscious, unconscious and super-conscious) we take ownership of these karmas and hence become responsible for them. Intent is another factor which makes us accountable, or not, for our karmas. A judge sending a murderer to his death has a different karma and does not pay for it, but the murderer does. Both performed a similar act – both sent someone to their deaths. The difference is that the judge is doing his duty based on the rules in force. He has no emotional connect or personal agenda against the man convicted. He cannot stake ownership for his act.
An amalgamation of these karmas form the Balance Sheet of our Jeevatman or individual being. This balance sheet is the basis for our future destiny, that could span several lives.
The body is called the Karma Kshetra or the incarnation where the karmas are worked out, exhausted, squared up, so that the identity can become free of karmas. It is only when an entity is free of karma can it attain mukti which is freedom from birth and death, and finally moksha, which is non-existence and becoming one with the Supreme. In order to achieve this, the individual has to ensure that fresh karmas stop being generated.
This is easier said than done. Intellectually, one can read the last sentence and understand it, but practically it’s almost impossible to achieve! From the time we wake up to the time we sleep, we are engaged in karmas. Several lifetimes produce as many profit and loss accounts of karma. The amalgamation of these can be called the Balance Sheet of an individual to date-his/her current state of wealth.
To the best of my knowledge, even after our bodies die, we can perform good and bad deeds. Many spirits harm others, whilst some elevated ones help in doing good. Many saints have been known to be spirit guides to people across centuries. They communicate with people in their dreams, through mediums and other signs. My spiritual teacher continues to guide us by meeting his disciples in their dream state. Sai Baba has appeared to many of his devotees in their dreams and rewarded them with a darshan.