Pre-order Sadhguru's new book - Karma: A Yogi's Guide to Crafting Your Destiny

In the first of two parts, Sadhguru looks at how the very process of life dissolves karma, provided we don’t build it up through our thoughts and intentions.

Sadhguru: Every moment of your life, whatever you do or don’t do, your karma is dissolving. The very life process is dissolution of karma. You have a certain amount of allotted karma, which we refer to as prarabdha. The prarabdha is working itself out. But the problem is the production factory is working overtime – new karma is being piled up so rapidly. Dissolution can only happen at a certain pace, but people can be very efficient with production! For example, during a standard day in your life, from the moment of waking till you go to sleep, if you compare how much activity you actually do by simply working, and how much you think up things, what you are thinking up could be fifty times more than what you do. I am being very conservative when I say fifty. You are producing fifty times more karma than you can work out. It is just like calories. You are burning 600 calories but eating 6000 calories – it has to pile up somewhere.

Shut Down Your Karma Factory

Let’s say you don’t do any karmanishkarma – you simply sat. This means karma is still working out now at the same pace but you are not producing anything. This is the reason why spiritual atmospheres are made in such a way that you don’t decide when to eat. There is a bell, and you go and eat. You don’t decide what to eat. You joyfully eat what is served. You don’t choose. We are not against enjoying food, it is just that for the simple act of eating you produce so much karma by desiring, thinking and multiplying all this. After all, you can only eat so much. If the food is good and you like it very much maybe you eat 5% extra. If you go beyond 10% you are in trouble. For this simple act of eating, how much is going on in people’s head! I enjoy food as much as anyone, but you must do the food on your tongue or your stomach. Or if you like to cook you must do it in the pan. I like to cook so I do it in the pan. If I like the food I do it on the tongue or in the stomach. You are doing it in the head – that’s not the place for food. Head and food don’t go together – you are creating karma.

Please look at every aspect like this in your life. You are creating fifty or hundred times more karma than you are working out on a daily basis. When you cook food, or when you joyfully eat, digest it and make it a part of yourself, you are working out karma. The simple process of life itself will work out karma.


Get weekly updates on the latest blogs via newsletters right in your mailbox.


A spiritual path means we want to set your karmic process on fast-forward. We want to take a bigger load of karma than the allotted load because we don’t want to come back and do the same thing again and again. We want to finish it off right now. This is a conscious choice one has to make – do you want to slowly work it out or do you want all the nonsense to be over as quick as possible.

If you enter an active spiritual process, suddenly you may find everything is moving at a bewildering pace. You will see, you are in more trouble than ever before. Earlier, troubles used to come to you once in six months. Now, every six hours you are in deep trouble because your karmic process is on fast-forward. Only fools who have sanitized themselves from life believe that spirituality means being peaceful. No. To be spiritual means to be on fire – inside, outside, everywhere. Peace will happen when you rest in peace. This is the time for exuberant life! If you were ecstatic or very blissful and joyful, would you even think of being peaceful? Such a thought wouldn’t even occur to you.

The Karmic Spring

Unfortunately, nowadays, humanity is not looking at how to intensify life, we are always looking to elongate life. Because of this, a number of people lose their memory and mental faculties beyond a certain point, and a karmic factor is very much there in these ailments.

Today, without taking care of the karmic fiber we are just trying to elongate the physical life of a human being because we have a certain amount of mastery over biochemistry.

Karma means a certain kind of software that you unconsciously created. Before you were born, somewhere between 40 to 48 days after conception, this karmic fiber was tightening itself like a spring coil. Depending upon past information, the strength of your body, the nature of your parent, the type of conception and various factors, it chooses a certain amount of information to be tightened into a spring. It is like a coiled spring. If you simply sit, it will slowly unwind itself. The more still you sit, the faster it will unwind itself but because you are in activity and you are also piling up new things, it unwinds itself at a certain pace. If I look at the tension in the karmic fiber when someone is born, I can easily tell you how many years approximately that child will live – if some drunken driver doesn’t smash the child down, or if he doesn’t come in touch with any spiritual master! If he just lives a standard life, we can say how long he will live. We know the coil will work itself out at a certain pace.

This was a common thing when a child was born in India: the first thing the family would do is invite a yogi or sage to the house, or they would take the child to him because they want him to feel the child. It is still there today but generally birthday parties have replaced these things. Otherwise, this was the most significant thing. You want to take your child to a certain person who can see if there is any over-tightening of the spring, and do something to fix that to ensure the child’s wellbeing. But still, a drunken driver can knock him down. Or some master can come and either unwind him fast or load up many lifetimes of karma onto his present load. So, karma works itself out in a certain way unless something happens and it gets all wound up once again or gets released too fast. These things may happen because of certain issues.


Today, without taking care of the karmic fiber we are just trying to elongate the physical life of a human being because we have a certain amount of mastery over biochemistry. We are trying to stretch life using medicine and surgery. This could be one of the major reasons for the number of people losing their memory and mental faculties beyond a certain point because it is a “dumb computer” – do what you want, it just stares at you because though the software is over, the hardware is still kept going with a replaced heart or kidney.

If they had also strived to enhance the other dimension of their life and done a little bit of spiritual work – something beyond the physicality – then even if you live for a thousand years you can generate the necessary software because there is a lot of stuff elsewhere. There is a warehouse of karma which has not been opened up right now which is called sanchita. Or, you could have programmed yourself such that when your software is going away you also have the freedom to shed your hardware.


Editor's Note: Find more of Sadhguru’s insights in the book “Of Mystics and Mistakes.” Download the preview chapter or purchase the ebook at Isha Downloads.