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Soul - A soul has to take on a body made up of five tatwas to come to this earth. It is said that soul has to take birth to learn and to experience each and every aspect of human emotion without forgetting its original state i.e, purity, love and bliss. It is through this human life that a soul can finally merge with the holy divine Paramatma from which it was separated millions of years ago. In every birth, the soul strives to reach perfection so that it can get enlightened and become aware of the truth about oneness of the universe i.e., ALL IS ONE. All souls are a tiny part of that Supreme Divine Power thereby implying that all souls have that tiny spark of Supreme Spirit within. However, after taking human birth, in ignorance, the soul cannot recall its original state, gets entangled in earthly enjoyments and forgets its mission of self realization and subsequently the God realization.

Karma - In its human form the soul cannot sit idle. It creates various karmas in the process of living, becomes attached to materialism over and above spiritualism. Whether the karma is 'good' or 'bad', it is immaterial. The universal law takes note of all the actions a soul performs to carry out its earthly existence. It is said that all such karmas accumulate and become Sanchit Karma. It is said that all our karmas are recorded and stored in our Akashic records. A soul cannot merge with the spirit unless it has worked out the cause and effect of its Karma because universal law functions flawlessly and impartially. When the soul is reborn again, it brings with it some portion out of this Sanchit karma to work out in the present birth. This portion of karma is called Prarabdh. It is said that seventy five percent life of a soul is preordained and a soul has no say in it. Soul has to bear it whether it brings worldly happiness or worldly sadness. For the balance twenty five percent of life the soul can use its God given freewill which creates Kriyaman Karma. These kriyaman karma also result in accumulating more Sanchit karma.

Prarabdh - Outcome of Prarabdh are those happenings in the souls earthly life, which happen without any or little effort. Soul feels happy when it gains materialistic comforts, pleasures and position in life but it gets totally baffled when it loses the very same possessions unexpectedly, without any explainable reason. Soul does not realize that this is the fruit or effect of the cause of its Prarabdh in this lifetime. For example, we find a good human being doing all the best for the world but yet suffering from a deadly disease, a selfish person getting success in almost any activity it undertakes. All this is happening due to Prarabdh of these souls

Imagine how it could be when different souls come together in a lifetime and form a family. Each soul has its own Prarabdh and its own individual journey. But universal law is perfect. It arranges the soul groups so effectively that one soul's Prarabdh matches with the Prarabdh of other souls. Thus souls living in a family life not only perform their respective earthly duties but also work out their Prarabdh together. This way they keep coming back on earth again and again, learn their lessons and help each other to work out their balance karmas till their last earthly desires has been fulfilled. The soul discards its human body once its Prarabdh of current lifetime is worked out completely. However, Maya plays such a strong role that it takes ages for an ignorant soul to work out all its karma and realize that the Supreme Divine Power is nowhere else but within.

How to work out Karma - The biggest question is how can the effect of Karmas be effaced? Man's actions or karmas are the manifestations of his thoughts. Karma is any action, thought, feeling, emotion generated by mind of a Man. The mind, by projecting thoughts to sense-organs, enjoys pleasures. It, more or less, identifies itself with these thoughts and pleasures. At that time, it does not think of anything else. Actually, the earthly thoughts and impulses should be converted into the zeal for securing internal bliss and happiness after attaining a perfect balance between materialism and spiritualism. In simple terms, soul must perform duties as required to be performed in its earthly lifetime with a sense of detachment i.e, without feeling sad about losses and without feeling elated about gains. But then it is easier said than done.

Meditation - Meditation is one way for the soul to connect to the higher self. In Sai Satcharita, readers have been advised to look inwards. The soul should find a quiet place, close eyes and meditate. The purpose is to withdraw all the five senses inwards, make them inactive because these senses have been given to the soul to see, hear, taste, touch and enjoy the external world only. The practice of meditation in solitude consists in reverting and raising the internal spark of the soul, to try to reach the higher self. It is said that the seat of that spark is at midpoint behind the eyes called Third Eye or Krishna Consciousness. When such a condition begins to supervene to some extent, as a result of performing the meditation practices, the working of Karmas, both internally and externally, is automatically enfeebled. On getting some bliss and joy internally, and on witnessing the love, grace and mercy of the Supreme Being, the meditator's mind, is of itself, detached from the world and its pleasures. The pleasures of the world become insipid. The situation is the same. However its effect on the meditator's mind changes. The soul finds peace in all the situations it finds itself in - whether good or bad - it does not matter any more.

After this, the longing for progress in meditation, and higher and higher bliss, goes on increasing. Worldly desires are curtailed. The soul always gives priority to the will, grace and mercy of the Supreme Being in whatever he does. It subordinates its desires to the will of the Supreme Being. Thus the soul is entangled in Kriyaman Karmas very little or not at all. This cuts short the chain of its Karmas.

Prarabdh Karmas, which are unfolding in this very life will be very much mitigated by the grace and mercy of the Divine Spirit. This way the soul is able to withdraw from the eyes, it goes on getting detached from the body and the world. In the wakeful state, the seat of the spirit is behind the eyes. It is here that pains and pleasures are felt and Karmas are performed. Therefore, as the spark of soul is withdrawn from here with the help of spiritual exercises, pains and pleasures cease to be felt. In this way, the effect of Prarabdh Karmas is lightened.

As to the Sanchit Karmas, that are stored in Akashic records (mind-sky) in the form of seed-impressions. They will fructify in a future life. As the soul penetrates these records in its ascent to higher regions, the Sanchit Karmas appear in the form of thoughts and impulses. They come into play for a short while only and are obliterated and finally the Sanchit karma are also cleared.

If one has the grace of Sadguru, it will not take long for a soul to achieve the desired results. In Sai Satcharita, where Sai Baba has translated the Sanskrit shloka for Nanasaheb, this thing has been brought out very beautifully. At another place it has been beautifully explained how with Guru's grace, the soul realizes that the meditator and the object of meditation all are ONE.

Bhakti - As per Sai Satcharita, progressing on Bhakti marg is the easiest way to get free from the Karmas. The mind cannot sit idle but if we give it some wise thought, say, chanting 'Sai Sai' always, get rid of feeling of doership and surrender all our actions, thoughts and ourselves to our Sadguru Sainath, we have taken our first step towards working out our karma fast. Sai Baba will work internally and remind the soul of its purpose of taking human birth. This does not mean that the soul will not have to work out the Prarabdh. Sai Baba will not come in the functioning of the universal law but Baba will make the soul strong enough that it will not feel the effect of Prarabdh, i.e, soul will not be ecstatic when it gains and will not feel depressed when it suffers. Sadguru Sainath will grace us with strength necessary to work out our Prarabdh easily. This is what we mean when we say that Sadguru works out the karma of devotees. But then are we willing to work for ourselves and absolve ourselves of our Prarabdh the way Baba has advised us.

Vandana Ritik
New Delhi

From Heritage of Shirdi Sai