Karma (or effects)

The Yoga-Sûtra of Patañjali translated by Chip Hartranft


III-22. Karma (or effects) are of two kinds: immediate karma or future karma. By perfectly concentrated meditation on these, the yogi knows the term of his experience in the three worlds. This knowledge comes also from signs.

This sutra can be somewhat elucidated if read in connection with Sutra 18 of Book III. The karma referred to here deals primarily with the present life of the aspirant or seer. He knows that every event in that life is the effect of a previous cause, initiated by himself in an early incarnation; he knows also that every act of the present life must produce an effect (to be worked [285] out in another life) unless it is done in such a way that:

  1. The effect is immediate and culminates within the scope of the present life time,
  2. The effect involves no Karma, for the act has been done from a selfless motive and carried out with complete detachment. He then produces the effect desired in accordance with the law but it carries no consequences for himself.

When the seer enters into incarnation in a life wherein only a few more effects remain to be worked out, and when all that he initiates is freed from karma, then he can set a term to his life experience and he knows that the day of liberation is at hand. Through meditation and ability to function as the ego {soul} he can arrive at the world of causes, and he knows therefore what acts must be performed to release the few remaining effects. Through strict attention to the motive underlying every act of the present life he obviates the necessity for their effects to tie him in any way to the wheel of rebirth. Thus he consciously and intelligently nears his goal and every deed, act and thought is governed by direct knowledge, and in no way chains him.

The signs or portents referred to, relate primarily to the mental world, where the real man dwells. Through an understanding of three things:

  1. Numbers,
  2. Colors,
  3. Vibrations,

the seer becomes aware of the freedom of his [286] aura from “death producing” effects. He knows there is nothing more written, symbolically, in the records which can bring him back to the three worlds, and therefore “by signs” his path is seen to be clear.

This has been expressed for us in the ancient writings found in the Masters’ archives as follows:

“When the star with five points shines with clarity and no forms are seen within its points, the way is clear.

When the triangle encloses naught but light, the path is freed for the passing of the pilgrim.

When within the aura of the pilgrim the many forms die out and colors three are seen, then the road is freed from that which might obstruct.

When thoughts call not to forms and when no shadows are reflected, the thread provides a way direct from the circle to the center.”

From that point of rest, no return is possible. The term of necessary experience in the three worlds is at an end. No karma then can draw the freed spirit back to earth for further lessons, or the working out of prior causes. He may, however, continue or resume his work of service in the three worlds, without ever really leaving his true home in the subtler realms and higher spheres of consciousness.

The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali – Book 3 – Union achieved and its Results

Alice Bailey & Djwhal Khul