What Is Karma?
If we accept the principle of cause and effect in Nature,
and of action and reaction in physics, how can we not believe
that this natural law extends also to human beings? Once
consciousness is understood as basic to everything the
question begs to be asked: Do not humans, too, belong to the natural order?
Such is the law of karma: As you sow, so shall you reap.*
If you sow evil, you will reap evil in the form of suffering.
And if you sow goodness, you will reap goodness in the form
of inner joy.
To understand karma, you must realize that thoughts are
things. The very universe, in the final analysis, is composed
not of matter but of consciousness. Matter responds, far
more than most people realize, to the power of thought. For
will power directs energy, and energy in turn acts upon
matter. Matter, indeed, is energy.
Every action, every thought, reaps its own corresponding
Human suffering is not a sign of God’s, or Nature’s,
anger with mankind. It is a sign, rather, of man’s ignorance
of the divine law.
The law is forever infallible in its workings.
The Soul Is Free
Souls are "made" in the image of God. Even the greatest
of all sinners cannot be damned forever. A finite cause
cannot have an infinite effect. Due to the misuse of his free
will, a person might imagine himself to be evil, but within
he is a son of God. A king’s son might, under the influence
of liquor or of a bad dream, think himself poor, but as soon
as he recovers from his state of intoxication, or as soon as he
awakens, he forgets that delusion. The perfect soul, ever
sinless, eventually wakes up in God when it remembers its
real, eternally good, nature.
Man, being made in the image of God, is deluded only
temporarily. This temporary delusion leads him to think of
himself as mortal. So long as he identifies with mortality he
A soul’s delusion of mortality may extend to many incarnations.
Through self-effort, however, always influenced
by the law of God, the Prodigal Son develops discrimination,
remembers his home in God, and attains wisdom. With
illumination the prodigal soul remembers its eternal image of
God, and is reunited with cosmic consciousness. His Father
then serves him "the fatted calf" of eternal bliss and wisdom,
liberating him forever.
Delusion is Temporary
Man may misuse his free will for a time, considering
himself mortal, but that temporary delusion can never erase
from within him the mark of immortality and God’s image
of perfection. A baby’s premature death cannot possibly have
permitted him the use of free will to be either virtuous or
vicious. Nature must bring that soul back to earth to give it
a chance to use its free will to work out also the past karma
which caused it to die so young, and to perform the good
actions that lead to liberation.
If an immortal soul has not worked out in one lifetime
of school those delusions which bind him, he needs more
lifetimes of schooling to bring him the understanding of his
innate immortality. Only then can he return to the state of
cosmic consciousness. Ordinary souls therefore reincarnate,
compelled by their earth-bound desires. Great souls, on the
other hand, come on earth only partly to work out their
karma, but principally to act as noble sons of God to show
lost children the way to their heavenly Father’s home.
Attracting a Bodily Home
When good parents unite in physical union, they produce
a pure astral light as the positive and negative currents at the
base of their spines and in their sex organs, unite. This light
is a signal to good souls with compatible vibrations in the
astral world to be physically conceived in the union of the
sperm and ovum cells. When the soul enters, the embryo is
formed, and the body is gradually made ready to be born.
Souls with bad karma have to enter into the body of evil
mothers. When evil parents come into physical union, they
form a dim, impure light at the base of the spine, signaling an
invitation to souls with evil karma.
Like attracts like. Souls with evil karma are born into evil
families; souls with good karma are born into good families.
Evil families and good families attract souls according to the
magnetism of their inner likings. That is, evil families attract
souls with bad karma. Good families attract good souls. The
attraction is based on mutual likes and dislikes. Evil entities
have an affinity for evil families, whereas the affinity of good
souls is for good families.
People with more opportunity in life, owing to their
good karma, should help those with lesser opportunity, otherwise
they’ll develop bad karma. Selfishness is spiritually
degrading and ultimately makes one unfortunate.
God is not a divine autocrat passing judgment on people
for their actions. The judgments of cosmic law are based on
karmic cause and effect, and are just.
The divine law of harmony creates a natural equilibrium.
When any soul acts against this equilibrium, he hurts himself.
For example, if you dip your hand in cool water you enjoy
a soothing sensation, but if you approach fire, the very heat
of it warns you that your hand may get burnt. The fire has no
will to give you pain, nor does cool water produce a pleasant
sensation out of choice. The responsibility for getting burnt
by fire is his who puts his hand into it. And the responsibility
for feeling pleasure from cool water is, again, his who inserts
his hand into the water. Fire and water, heat and coolness, are
part of the overall state of the universe with which our duty is
to live in harmony.
We Punish Ourselves
By wrong living one can create a physical and mental hell
even worse than the fiery hell that vengeful people imagine
for others after death. By good living one can create within
himself a place even sweeter than the heaven people imagine
for themselves in the after-death state.
Man, influenced by delusion, ascribes to the all-loving
God a vindictive spirit that creates hells and purgatories.
God, in his infinite love, is calling the soul continuously to
come back to His eternal kingdom of Bliss. But souls, when
they misuse their God-given independence, wander away
from God and wallow in the mire of suffering, punishing
themselves by the effects of their own errors.
The idea of an eternal heaven is true, though most people’s
ideas of heaven are very limited. We are made in the image of
God and, at the end of the long trail of incarnations, our
wandering actuated by material desires, we will find the
blissful heavenly Father waiting to receive us, His prodigal
children, and to entertain us with everlasting, ever-new joy.
But the idea of eternal damnation for souls made in the image
of God is untenable and should be exploded and banished as
a superstition from the minds of men.
This life is like a movie, and just like in an exciting movie,
there has to be a villain so we will learn to love the hero. If
you imitate the villain’s behavior, however, you will receive
his punishment. It’s all a dream, but ask yourselves, Why live
a bad dream by creating bad karma? With good karma, you
get to enjoy the dream. Good karma also makes you want, in
time, to wake up from the dream. Bad karma, on the other
hand, darkens the mind and keeps it bound to the dreaming
From a mountaintop, one sees clearly the whole countryside,
and also the open sky above. From the heights it is
natural to want to soar even higher, far above the earth. In the
fog-bound valley below, however, the most that one aspires
to may be only to climb a little bit higher.
Evil Karma and "Hell-fire"
The Heavenly Father could not possibly send his human
children to hell forever for making mistakes during their
brief sojourn on earth. When they misuse their God-given
independence, they must suffer the material consequences of
their own evil actions, and reward themselves through their
own good karma or virtuous deeds.
Those humans who act wrongly create evil tendencies,
which remain hidden in the brain ready to pour out fiery
suffering at a suitable time. These hidden, misery-making
tendencies"or hell-fires"are carried into the astral world at
death by a soul with bad karma. Souls in the after-death state
have no physical sensations and could not be burned by
physical fire. But souls with bad karma can suffer mental
agonies worse than fiery burns.
The word "hell" is from the Anglo-Saxon root "helan, to
conceal." The Greek root is "helios, sun or fire." Therefore,
the word "hell-fire" is very appropriate to depict the concealed
fire of agony that stored-up tendencies can produce in one’s
earthly life or in the astral world. Just as a murderer burns with
evil conscience during wakefulness and with subconscious
terror during sleep, so he suffers from fiery evils in the sleep
state of death.
A benign father could never eternally burn a soul made
in His own image for its temporary mistakes on earth. The
idea of eternal punishment is illogical. A soul is forever made
in the image of God. Even a million years of sin could not
change its essential, divine character. Man’s unforgiving
wrath against the evil actions of his brethren has created this
misconception of eternal hell-fire.
My Experience with an Orthodox Believer in Hell-fire
Once I met an old man who lived near Seattle. I had been
sitting near the sea, much inspired by the vastness of divinity.
After that inspiration subsided I felt hungry, and went to
the farmhouse of this man, seeking to buy some cherries. The
rosy-cheeked man looked very happy, and showed me kind
hospitality. A divine impulse then came over me, and I said to
him, "Friend, you look happy, but there is a hidden suffering
in your life." He asked, "Are you a fortune-teller?" I answered,
"No, but I tell people how to improve their fortunes."
He then said, "We are all sinners, and the Lord will burn
our souls in hell-fire and brimstone."
I replied, "How could a man, losing his body at death
and becoming an invisible soul, be burned by fire created by
material brimstones?" He surprised me by repeating angrily,
"We will certainly burn in hell-fire." I said, "Did you get a
telegram about this from God, that He will burn us in hellfire?"
At this the old man became even more agitated.
To mollify him, I changed the subject and said, "What
about your unhappiness over your wicked son?" He was
surprised at my words and acknowledged that he was helpless
to correct his son, whom he deemed incorrigible. This
sorrow remained as a burning fire at the back of his mind.
I said, "I have a remedy that will absolutely cure this
situation." The old man’s eyes gleamed with joy as he smiled.
I, then, with a mysterious attitude as if about to reveal the
grand solution, whispered to him, "Have you got a very big
oven with a broiler?"
"Why, yes," he said. Then, suspiciously he asked, "Just
what are you getting at?"
"Don’t worry," I said reassuringly. "What I’m proposing
will end all your sorrows."
Somewhat mollified, he said, "Go on."
"Now then," I continued, "Heat that oven, with the
broiler, to red-hot temperature. Do you have some strong
rope and two trusted friends who would not repeat anything
against you?" Again he said, "Why, yes." Then I said, "Call
your son here. With the help of your friends, bind him hand
and foot, and slip him into the red-hot oven."
The old man was furious! Shaking his fist at me, he
shouted, "You blackguard! Who ever heard of a father burning
his son, no matter how wicked?"
I then spoke soothingly, "That is exactly what I wanted
to tell you. Where did you, who are human, get this instinct
of love except from the Divine Father? Even a human father
cannot stand the cruel thought of roasting his own son alive
to put him, or himself, out of misery. How could you think
the Divine Father, who has infinitely greater love than you,
and who created parental love, would burn His own children
with hell-fire and brimstone?"
The old man’s eyes filled with tears of repentance as he
said, "I understand now that the Heavenly Father is a God
We punish ourselves by our own evil actions, and reward
ourselves by our own good deeds.
Sin cannot change the soul. We, who are made in the
image of God, can be lost in the jungles of an evil environment
for a while, but no amount of sin can change our
eternal, divine nature. Sin is a crust which hides the perfect
soul, made eternally in the image of God. When that crust is
dissolved by meditation, the perfection of the soul is revealed
God Wants to Help Us
When God sees that a soul, by the misuse of free will and
bad company, has lost itself in the forest of egotism,
He becomes very concerned for him, and sends him spiritual
aid to bring him back into His fold of divine, virtuous living.
He helps souls to reincarnate in places where they can work
out their karmas and liberate their souls by meditation and
wisdom. All souls on earth belong to the fold of God; the
Invisible Shepherd ever looks after them.
* "Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap." (Galatians 6:7)