On Karma (20 December 1999) Auroville - Karma 105

Now, this experience of identity is manifold. Everywhere ultimately you have to see yourself. I can know you better when I find, ‘Oh! You are me and I am you’, it is the identity that gives me the experience of you. I can understand you when I become one with you. Very often we say, ‘You put yourself in my position, and try to understand it, then you will really understand me.’ It is by identity that you experience. Although each individual has a unique role, and therefore each one is different from the other, yet there is a law of identity. The difference of myself from you is only marginal. Uniqueness is marginal, but basic experience is that of identity.

Now each one of us, although identical, is complex. Each one of us is actually the soul. This soul puts forth itself, and what it puts forth becomes what are called instruments. There are three basic instruments which soul puts forth. One instrument is what we see in the form of physical, the body – is one instrument. My dynamic will is second instrument, and my mental capacity to conceive, to think, is my third instrument. In our state of forgetfulness, we don't make a distinction between soul and body and life and mind. We don't make this distinction, because we have forgotten. Pell-mell we think, ‘All that we are now is myself.’ When I ask, ‘What is yourself?’ everybody says, ‘I am myself. But when you examine you have to ask, ‘Is this body myself, is my emotion myself, is my thought myself, what am I?" There's a big confusion on this. It is by experience, you go on experiencing yourself with the body, experience yourself with the life, experience yourself with the mind, – after lots of experiences, this is entire process of karma. You go on doing so many efforts, each effort is a karma, it gives a consequence.

Ultimately, these consequences are in the form of experiencing yourself and your instruments, yourself and the world, yourself and the Divine. These are three major experiences in the world: you experiencing your instruments, you experiencing the world, you experiencing the Divine. Experiencing is not only to know that you are a soul having instruments that is one experience; secondly you know that you are the observer of the world, you are an actor in the world, you are a witness in the world, you are a participant in the world, and to become aware of the whole universe, – this is another experience. The third is that you know that your origin is not in yourself, but in the Divine; and then you can meet the Divine, converse with him, you can embrace him, you can have all kinds of relationships with him.

The ultimate aim of all movement of karma is to give you experiences of these kinds, and not to allow you to escape from any one of these experiences, because you have agreed to come here with a contract. So you do not escape, that is why law of karma is called inescapable. It's not entirely true, but it is true that until you come to these experiences, it is inevitable.

The basic experience that we have to gain in this world is the difference between body and life, life and mind, mind and soul, and more importantly, how the soul can dominate body, life and mind. This is a very important point. The true experience, when you come to maturity of experience is when you know how your soul can dominate body, life and mind. At present body, life and mind dominate you, your soul. A time must come because of these various kinds of movements, lots of karmas, the ultimate gain will be that you grow in the awareness that your soul is the sovereign master of body, life and mind. When you know that your soul is sovereign master, it can now break the karma. It is now superior to body, life and mind. When you find that now you are superior, you become superior to karma. Karma is nothing but what proceeds from you. What should proceed from you, you will determine, once you are aware. It will not be imposed on you. What you must manifest is no more imposed on you. You will now decide freely what should come out of you. You will decide what should manifest from you. Therefore Sri Aurobindo says that law of karma does not explain the whole world and what we are. It is only a process, a mechanism, but of an inferior kind: More than law is freedom. More than law is the soul, which is not an instrument, which is not a machinery. So law of karma is something that takes you in the field of ignorance. As long as you are oblivious of what you are, the law of karma becomes very powerful. It is inescapable. But the more and more you become aware of the soul from which all these movements have started, you become free. And then you can play with karma. If there is one karma which is hurting you, the consequences are still coming; you can put out an arrow from yourself, and cut it. That is how the law of karma can become weakened, and the karma of the past can be destroyed, can be burned, as it were. That is why it is said that Yogis can burn their karma. Yogi is nothing but one who has known that his soul is superior to the instruments, so one who knows he can throw a new arrow of action, and can destroy the past one.

Now I come to the question of destiny, which she has said. What is karma and what is destiny? Usually the word "destiny" is the goal which is inescapable that is destiny, each one of us has a goal. As I said, when we made a contract, each one of us decided, ‘I will play this role in this world.’ Therefore, you might say that each one of us has a destiny, and surely this is what you will do, ultimately. You cannot escape it because you have already agreed with the Divine, ‘This is the role I am going to play in this world.’