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Question: Acharya Ji, what is karma (action)? What is karmafal (fruits of action)? How to be free of fruits of actions?
Acharya Prashant Ji: What is this thing called ‘Karma’?
Doing the wrong things knowingly or unknowingly.
Acharya Prashant Ji: Don’t be the same person who did all those things.
If you remain the same person who did all those things, then your efforts towards erasing those things would just be a reinforcement, a reiteration of the very same things in another form.
I was someone who was very violent in the past, and caused a lot of hurt to people through my violent behaviour. And now I remain the same. Who am I? The violent one. But now I want to erase my ‘bad karma’ as our friend says. But who do I still remain? The violent one. And what would any act of this violent one comprise of? Violence. So even when I am trying to erase my so-called sins of the past, I would be indulging in further violence.
Freedom from karma (deeds) is not obtained through more karma. It is obtained through a dissolution of the karta, the doer.
The one who did all those things has to be given a farewell.
And then all that you will now do will be a new story – a story complete in itself, and therefore not dependent on future for fruits.
So no karmafal (fruit of the deeds) is being created then.
See that you were mistaken.
Let there be a clear, deep, life-shaking, life-changing realisation that you were totally, totally mistaken.
That alone is repentance.
Repentance does not mean doing something to repent.
Repentance is to clearly see that the doer was false.
False, mistaken and therefore violent and loveless.
Questioner: But if the doer wants to do something? There is very impulsive energy.
Acharya Prashant Ji: Doer doesn’t want to do ‘something’. Doer wants to do only one thing – preserve himself. By doing all the miscellaneous things that he does, he is centrally doing just one thing – self-preservation.
“I must remain.”
And if you must remain, what is the point in doing this or that? Fundamentally you are doing the same thing.
Even if the monkey fasts, it will be for the sake of the mango.
Question 2: Acharya Ji, how to control my unjustified anger?
Acharya Prashant Ji: If it were really unjustified according to you, it couldn’t have had any life, it couldn’t have been able to gather any momentum. It is only after a while, it is only as an after-thought, and it is only intellectually, that we call our anger as ‘unjustified’.
Deep within we authorise ourselves to be fully angry and destructive. Superficially, to keep up with social norms and moral pretence, we tell ourselves that anger is unjustified and uncivilised and needless. But in spite of such admissions, anger keeps recurring. It is because the source of anger not only remains in tact within, but is also continuously fed and supported by us.
It’s like feeding the root, and trimming the shoot.
The tree may at best appear pruned and limited, but would nevertheless would have all the energy and vitality and power of it’s powerful roots, roots that are being fed continuously.
How do we justify our anger?
We justify our anger by feeling short-changed, by feeling cheated or victimised. By continuing to assert that we are incomplete, while simultaneously bemoaning the incompleteness.
If you have grudges within, if you feel a victim of situations, or past, or persons, and if you lend credence to all these stories of victimisation, it is not impossible to not to be angry.
How can you be a victim, and still not be angry?
How can you be a loser, and still not be angry?
How can you feel cheated, and still have no anger?
But want to maintain all the hurt, all the wounds, all the bruised identities, because they give us a moral upper-hand, because they make us feel so superior.
You say, “O! I am the one who has suffered so much in the past because of others.”
“O! I am the one who has been duped and deceived by the world continuously.”
“See how much I have sacrificed.”
“See how morally superior am I.”
Saying so, we want to maintain and nurture all the grudges, and hurts, and ill-experiences. But then we also want to not to be angry.
How is that going to ever happen?
We feed our own anger, and then we try to put a lid on it. It would obviously explode. And it does. And when it does, we have another grudge to nurse. We say, “In spite of being so very opposed to anger I still got angry. It’s a mistake, a gross mistake. It shouldn’t have happened. I am such a neat, clean, and peaceful fellow. How did I get into anger?”
And now you have created another grudge against life. What is the latest grudge?
“Anger comes in spite of me.”
“I am a peace-worshipper. And yet due to some fault in the existential algorithm, due to some mistake in the universal software, I somehow get angry. It’s not my fault. You see, even when I go a spiritual gathering, my first question is: How not to get angry? And that proves that I totally abhor anger. And yet I get angry. It is injustice.”
And if you feel that you being delivered injustice, then you get another reason to be angry.
As long as you maintain the various stories that show you as suffering, dependent, lonely, bored, frustrated, defeated, you will have to be angry.
Now what do you want to drop – anger, or those stories?
Those stories are very dear to us. We don’t want to drop them. We live by them. Those stories are our life-stuff. But anger, it appears so ugly. So anger we want to drop, because anger is often a public revelation. Somebody may even make a video of you in anger. It doesn’t appear quite pretty.
So anger which is an open display, an ugly exposure, is what we want to avoid and limit. But the inner filth, because it is not publicly and socially visible, we want to keep it.
Further, anger can be materially dangerous as well. It can land you in lock-up. Or you can end up with a black and blue eye. Anger has it’s social costs. So anger we want to avoid.
Public image suffers, the car collides against something, the neighbour dials-up the police, the wife runs away. There are direct and material costs to bear. So expression of anger is what we want to cut-down on. But the very root cause of anger, we seldom address it.
Unless we address it, how would there be any peace?
In fact, you know, expressed anger is less dangerous than unexpressed anger. At least when you shout, and throw things and break stuff, and stamp your feet, and break the window panes, it becomes obvious to you that there is something wrong.
But when anger just keeps simmering within, then we get a nice alibi to maintain to ourselves that all is well, life is peaceful.
And there are so many people who are experts at this kind of thing. You would always find them smiling, but inside they are simmering. In fact, unfortunately, a lot of spiritual practice has also come to be about such things. They say, “Practice smile.”
So outwardly you are smiling, and inwardly there is a lot of vapour and ash.
Even more dangerous.
Watch the session video: How to manage Karma? How to control anger? || Acharya Prashant (2019) The transcription has been edited for clarity.
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