The Meaning of Karma and How You Can Break Its Grip

What is the meaning of karma? Karma is not existence’s reward or punishment system as people seem to think. Sadhguru dispels this notion and explains that whatever kind of karma you have, it restricts and binds you - unless, you know how to loosen its grip!

What is the meaning of karma? Karma is not existence’s reward or punishment system as people seem to think. Sadhguru dispels this notion and explains that whatever kind of karma you have, it restricts and binds you - unless, you know how to loosen its grip!

Sadhguru:Karma literally means action. We are referring to past action. From the moment you were born till this moment, the kind of family, the kind of home, the kind of friends, the things that you did and did not do, all these things are influencing you. Every thought, emotion and action comes only from past impressions that you have had within you. They decide who you are right now. The very way you think, feel and understand life is just the way you have assimilated inputs. We call this karma.

The Karmic Software

In modern terms, I would say it is the current software on which you are working. Your whole system – your body, mind, energy and emotions – is programmed because of the impressions that you have taken in. A complex amalgamation of all these impressions is your karma. Whichever way your software is, that is the way your mind, emotion and body function. Even your energy moves that way.

Whatever kind of karma you have, it is a limited possibility and that is what makes you into a limited person. Depending on what kind of impressions you took in, whether it was hatred and anger, or love and joy, you accordingly have a certain kind of personality – usually every human being is a complex mixture of these things. Once you allow this karmic structure to build beyond a certain point, there is really no such thing as freedom. Everything that you do is conditioned by the past. So if you want to move in the direction of liberation, one of the first things that you need to do is to loosen the grip and shackle of karma. Otherwise, no movement will happen.

Break free!

How do you do that? One simple way is to break the karma physically. In the morning if your karma is to wake up at 8 o’clock, you set your alarm for 5 o’clock. Your body’s karma is that it will not want to get up. But you say “No, I am going to get up.” Even if it gets up, your body will want to sip coffee. But you give it a cold shower. Now, you are just breaking the old karmic process by consciously doing something. This is not the only way, there are other subtler and more effective ways, I am just telling you the crudest possible way. What you dislike, you have to do it consciously. What you like you can do it unconsciously, isn't it?”

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5 years 11 months ago

loosing Karma = loosing habits = doing opposite things = less human tendancies = free from attractions

7 years 7 months ago

but while dissolving our karmas,we tend to create more karmas..........that's where the role of surrender and grace comes.............

5 years 11 months ago

in short influence from out side means karma?

7 years 7 months ago

Wonderful..Now i understand the conditions or rules which we follow for silence program..thanks a lot sadhguru :)

5 years 11 months ago

What are those other subtler and more effective ways?

7 years 7 months ago

Where does the karma come from for the first human birth a being takes?
Also sadhguru said that a lot of realization happens at death. How does it wrap up the last impression of karma left at the time of death?
When a person dies in road accident is it because of karma as well?
When a baby is aborted or terminated due to medical complications how does that karma work?
In Ramayan the karmic explanation was given for the reason why Rama had to suffer the separation of Sita after he became king but no explanation was given on why Sita had to suffer for most part of life. What karma did Sita came with?
The one thing that completely perplexes me is the pain on animals in slaughter houses both for meat and in the leather industry. How can an animal have such a karma to undergo that pain. I come up with more questions when I try to understand the nature of Karma.

5 years 11 months ago

It is hard to change and give up certain things being creatures of habit.But when I came close to death once, it really changed my life. I found it easy to forgive and forget wrongs and give away materialistic possessions. They mattered little in the grand scheme of things. I wanted to do something meaningful with my life.

7 years 7 months ago

Without Karma there is no life here...if the karmic software is missing or empty, there is nothing to carry the physical.

The effort is to reduce the 'bad' karma (not really bad but certain actions that spawns or set us up for more such actions at mind, emotion, body and energy levels) consciously so we can dissolve somewhat easily when the time comes. It would be wonderful if the conscious action is effortless.

5 years 6 months ago

okay. Let me try first. I will now wake up at 4.00 am everyday. It's high time to rejig our karma, by doing the right kind of things at the right time. So that such karma doesn't bind us, to a large extend.

7 years 7 months ago

I love this explanation, thank you. I was earlier intuitively reaching to similar conclusions, since I've realised that once you change your thinking and elevate your spirit/consciousness, you can literally avoid karma because you are far above some bad karmas already. This proved to me it's not a reward/punishment system. It actually works accordingly to your consciousness. Higher consciousness means lower-vibration karma will not manifest. Easy.

5 years ago

This is explanation is so limited, so wrong, naïve and totally out of reality. It is so far away from the real meaning and purpose of Karma.

I did have, and still do have, a thousands of astrology readings, and I have literally checked a thousand of natal charts. Trust me, KARMA is so real, so embodied in our today’s lives and so related to our past lives actions. It is a HABBIT, a memory, an urge to continue in many cases, sometimes it can be positive, or negative depends on our personal conducts, done previously and done in this particular life time.
The code, the memory, the urge, the pattern that is what Karma is, and is hidden in the position and degree of your South Node in every and each astrological chart, in the aspects, home of the Node and relationship of it ruler as well. The 12th house of your chart will tell you the story as well, and the 8th in many cases as well. What is left behind we must fix in this presence we exist, KARMA is always something we must learn, mature and move forward, or pay back and it is a always A MUST.
However, we can change and influence the karmic liability by positivity, forgiveness, by helping deprived, by not judging, by being modest and compassionate and by GIVING, but not giving when we can not use, by giving when we can use and enjoy… that is what counts. If our life axiom is to follow the statement of not doing to anyone what we do not like to be done to us, we will change KARMA…by prayers and devotion to the LIGHT, LOVE, GOD, Gods, call by whatever name is good for you, but respect all…
The human arrogance and hypocrisy, the human EGO and negativity can not be changed, unless we do it universally and individually, and unless we do it in a positive non-judgmental and non arrogant way. If you can not help, step aside, it is better-do not judge, do not turn your back and dismiss without compassion, do not call bad names, do not laugh…if you do, you will again join the circle of KARMA here on this spectacular and very complex realm and Planet.


7 years 7 months ago

What I've heard is that since Lord Ram and Sita are avatars, they have no bad karma; rather, they came on Earth to DO something, to help. And at that time, the reason was Ravana; He needed to be given a reason to be destroyed, since He was a demon and was becoming too powerful. By kidnapping Sita, he incurred a sin punishable directly by Lord himself.

4 years 7 months ago

Actually, for getting the liberation one needs to get free from his physical activities i.e. karma. Now question is what exactly binds you with your karma, in simple words say even liking or disliking towrads an activity binds you with your karma.. e.g. a smoker likes to smoke and he goes for smoking whenever he likes, in this activity smoker is not independent or free of his wish, he is actually binding himself and his activity/karma with his liking towards smoking.. imagine if he is free from his liking / disliking towards smoking, then he would have more choice option whether to go or not to go for smoking.. his action in that case would not have been compulsive due to liking..

7 years 7 months ago

But Sadhguru.. does this mean we have to do just the opposite of what body says in comfort level? to make the karma loosen up? I'm confused but, I'll make it to wake up at 5 am...

4 years 7 months ago

please guys its not about waking it up at 5:00 am or doing things opposite.. in simplistic way it means to get away from your liking and disliking and doing karma without any expectation and thinking and devoting it to God/ source of creation. Doing any physical activity out of Liking/disliking or even having expectation for the result, will take you back in loop of karma and you will never get loosen up ur self from the grip of karma..

7 years 6 months ago

i find this post very intuitive because it has made me understand what karma really is. you are right sadhguru often times people refer to karma as either punishment or good reward but after reading it i have understood it more.

4 years 2 months ago

In shrimad bhagwat geeta shri krishna,while advising arjuna said "u cant escape karma in any way,. Ur senses are so much powerful dat it will not take ur permission before doing dere part ... lyk if birds are chirping closeby;ur ears ll not ask ur permission to hear it.. even hearing dem is a karma.. nd ur ears just done d
According to geeta,Karma is just wat v r doing.. wats happening around.. dere s no way to escape frm it or its effects...
so sadguruji please explain it a bit detail ..may be I m too immature to get it... ur explaintns always appears to me if it belongs to some other dimension.. :(

6 years 9 months ago

This like a math formula. Different problems, same formula. As Sadhguru said, this is a basic formula. Once you practice this on many fronts more subtle avenues will begin to open up.

4 years 2 months ago

Pls enlighten me too...wat u get out of it

6 years 6 months ago

Wow. Fantastic. I have never heard this much of clear explanation of karma. Sadhguru is a blessing for us.