Saturday, February 09, 2008

Four Karmic Categories

Although the cause-and-effect relationship is essentially an indivisible whole we can for easier comprehension partition it into four categories: Sanchita, Prarabhdha, Kriyamana, and Agami.

Sanchita ("heaped together") Karma is the sum of all past actions, known and unknown, that appear in causal body nursery; it is Sanchita Karma that prompts some Sadhak to claim that the ways of karma are unfathomable. "Unknown" actions include those performed in past lives.

Prarabdha ("set in motion") Karma is that portion of Sanchita Karma which is ready to be experienced by an individual during this lifetime, the fruits which have ripened and ready to be consumed.

Sanchita and Prarabdha Karmas in a sense "destined", or "fated" as the product of past actions that have matured. However they are truly inevitable only to the extent that they are not modified by Kriyamana ("being made") Karma or Agami ("coming, arriving") Karma.

Agami Karma is our capacity to envision future actions, while Kriyamana Karma is what we do at any moment with our capacity to will and to create. You can not destroy your past, but neither need you permit your past to manipulate you like a puppet, since you can alter your future by acting in your present.

Kriyamana Karma can also include Agami Karma, and Kriyamana Karma and Agami Karma can together become Vartamana ("Current, living") Karma.

A famous agricultural analogy to this system of karmic classification eqautes karma with rice. This makes Sanchita Karma the already grown rice that has been harvested and stored in the granary. Prarabdha Karma is the small portion of that stored rice that has been removed from storage, husked, and readied for the cooking and eating. Kriyaman Karma is the rice that is now being planted in the field to produce a future crop.

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