2002 Kauai Innersearch Day 2, Part 1 Bodhinatha adds a few more common misconceptions to his list of common false concepts about the law of karma, including attributing our karma to astrology. We created our karma, which determines our time of birth, and our time of birth determines our astrology, and our astrology governs the release of our karma.
Some of you may not have been here yesterday. So, we are going to review just a little bit as we go along. We are looking at karma and the understanding of karma as a three-fold process. The first step is to rid ourselves of any misconcepts, get rid of the false concepts, the popular stereotypes that are incorrect. The second is to understand the correct concepts and we are taking a few of those everyday. The third is to apply those correct concepts to our everyday life.
If we understand the concepts, that is good but that is not enough. We have to actually apply them to our everyday life, in order to receive the benefits of the whole process. To apply them, we have developed ten principals for 'Effective Karma Management'. We looked at two of those yesterday and we are going to look at two more of those today.
We are starting with a misconcept. So I will ask you after I read this, how many of you have ever heard this? "My life is in a state of chaos. Everything is going wrong and it all started three months ago when Saturn entered Taurus and my karma changed." Okay, some of you have heard this. "I have been advised that if I can successfully appease Saturn through having a priest do regular Sani puja, my problems will go away. Therefore, that has become the entire focus of my religious life at this time." How many of you have ever heard that statement? Okay, quite a few, quite a few.
This is based on a true story, as most of these items are. Sometimes I don't tell the true stories because there is not enough time. But we have enough time, we have five classes and it is fun to hear the real story, right? The real story happened in Kuala Lumpur probably five or six years ago. A very sincere, young Hindu man I think, about age thirty, came and visited. We had a great talk together. He had been reading Gurudeva's books a little bit, was very interested in the teachings and was very busy. You know how life is. You work long hours and then you go home and have your family duties and sometimes you have a commute too. Between all three, there is hardly any time to do anything else. He was in that situation but he was proud. He said, "Even though I am so busy, I still go to the temple every Saturday so I can do Sani puja. I can have the priest do Sani puja every Saturday. Isn't that wonderful?"
Here, the only religious practice he was doing was attending temple so a priest could do a Sani puja to fix his karma, because things were going poorly in his life because of his astrology.
Of course, that is off base. If our only practice to be that, we are missing the point. What is wrong with this approach? It attributes the problem to the planet Saturn. Saturn is the culprit. If we could only fix our relationship with Saturn everything is okay, which of course, is not the point. Our own karma is the culprit. We are looking in the wrong place entirely. We are looking outside up into the sky and saying, "You are to blame." We are not looking inside and saying, "I am to blame." We are missing the whole point here.
We have an analogy. Remember these analogies work better in the full text because they go in a certain order. This one is slightly out of order but it still works. It is like being in jail and what are you doing? You are pleading with the jailer to let you out. "Please let me out, this is a terrible place. I really don't like it here. Just please let me out." That is like talking to Sani, Saturn. "Please change my karma. Oh, this is terrible. I don't like this at all." What is the problem with that? It is missing the point of why you are in jail in the first place. I mean, simply to be in jail and say, "Let me out, it is unpleasant," you have forgotten an important point is something put you in jail in the first place, something caused you to go through this experience and you are forgetting all about it. You are looking in the wrong place. You are looking at the jailer, saying, "Let me out", rather than looking at yourself and saying, "Now, what did I do to put myself in here? Maybe I better recall. Maybe I better do something in that regard."
Sometimes it is looked at that, astrology is controlling our karma. Let me say that another way. Sometimes it is looked at that, astrology is creating our karma. There we have in the astrology a certain alignment and that is creating our karma. Whereas, the correct understanding is, our karma created our astrology. So that is what we always have to remember when we think about astrology. We look at it and we can learn quite a bit about astrology. Astrology can be quite helpful and we will look at that, I think it is tomorrow, it is a topic coming up. Astrology can be quite helpful. We are not saying that it cannot. But, you have to always remember that astrology does not create the karma. Our karma created the astrology. So, we have to remember that and focus on the karma, use the astrology to understand our karma.
There is an interesting practice going on quite a wide scale. Transcendental Meditation movement has an interesting program which relates to this idea. They have a 'Sponsor a homa' program to fix your astrology. How many of you have read their literature or heard of their program? I was looking for the literature on my desk, I could not find it. I was going to bring it and read something from it. It is quite expensive, it is a good fundraiser. But, it has the problem that it is having you focus on the wrong cause. If things are going poorly in your life, ""Of course, your astrology is to blame. All you have to do is fix your astrology by doing this sponsorship. You can do a homa, sponsor a homa. You will fix your astrology and everything in your life will go fine. It is just your astrology."
That is missing the cause. The cause is your karma. The approach we would say is, well homas are great. If you are going to sponsor a homa, fine. But don't do it to fix your astrology, do it to worship God. We encourage homas, sponsorship of homas too, but not to fix what is going wrong in your life, not to fix your astrology.
To fix what is going wrong in your life, you have to first of all attribute it to your karma and then work with your karma. You can change your karma, you don't have to experience it in its crudest form. You can change it and that is called mitigate, lessening the impact of your karma. You don't totally rewrite it but you make it work out in a more refined way.
That is a very important point we are looking at as part of these classes, the concept of lessening our karmas. If things are going wrong in our life and we know it happened because our astrology changed, don't focus on the astrology, focus on the karma.