By : Sri Narasimha Swamiji
It happened in 1935. While taking bath in Pushkar thirth in Ajmer, a crocodile caught my right ankle and my Rama Nam chanting made a Punjabi brother on the bank to fire his rifle at the crocodile and save my life. However, the injury was quite deep, and I was to be in the Government Hospital, Ajmer for over four weeks. Sai Baba kept on reminding me ‘Karma is something mysterious! So, it does not matter what it is: once you’ve gotten used to something, whether pleasant or unpleasant, you cannot drop it!
Karma literally means ‘action’, but from where does this action arise? From volition, which, in turn, is determined by identification with a narrow sense of individuality. This identification arises from memory. You believe you are an individual because your memory tells you so. It would not be amiss, therefore, to describe karma as memory.
Everything that you consider to be yourself is a product of your past. Your body is just a heap of food you have ingested over time. Your mind is a heap of impressions and ideas you have imbibed over time. Both are creations of the past. So, what you call your ‘personality’ is simply an accumulation of memory. The essence of everything you consider to be yourself is karmic.
You may not remember consciously what happened thirty years ago, but it is working on you. Experiments substantiate this: if someone who knows no Chinese, for instance, is exposed to the language when he is in deep sleep, years later, under conditions of hypnosis, he can actually utter the same ten Chinese sentences.
Similarly, what happened thirty million years ago is still encrypted in your body. Everything that ever happened on this planet is still remembered because your body is just a piece of this planet. Your mind has forgotten life as a unicellular being, but your body remembers. Your mind has forgotten your great grandmother, but her nose still sits on your face. Genetics is essentially memory. Although people think memory only means mind, the volume of memory that the body carries is many billion times greater.
The attraction to one’s karmic patterns is powerful because most people experience safety in the familiar. When you are eighteen, life seems full of possibility. But as you grow older, it often feels like choices are shrinking. As the karmic substance increases, the discerning mind takes a backseat, and you work increasingly by habits, patterns, and cycles.
The inherent power of human intelligence has been fragmented into atomized forms of thought and emotion. These have become a source of unspeakable suffering and destruction. Since people are so identified with their fragmented individuality, shaped by their memory, they see everyone else similarly. Eventually, however, it is the universal that prevails. Creation is like a video game: once it is over, nothing is left on the screen. Not even a flicker to suggest what once was.
The time has come for human beings to transcend the distorting lens of karma – the lens that makes them confuse the projection for the real, their fragmented memory-driven psychological creation for the incredible majesty of life itself. The time has come to wake up to the fact there is only one crime against life: to make-believe you are something other than life.