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JOURNEY FROM LIFE TO LIFE - Sakam Karma PDF Print E-mail
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Article Index
Sakam Karma
Murti Pooja
Cosmos, Consciousness and the science of souls
Samskaras - The Sacraments
Namkaran Samskar
Graduation Samskara
Vivaaha samskar
Ganesh Pujan
Antyesthi Samskara
All Pages

Sakam Karma
Before we get in to the details of individual samskaaras, let us explore some basic facts about karma, the karma that we do in our daily lives, the sakam karma. In the earlier part of the book we explored among other things the subject of Nishkam karma. Here we will try to take up the sakam karma that we did not bring up earlier. Sakam karma simply means that you do a karma with the result in mind.

In fact the whole concept of Samskara is based on the debits and credits of sakam karma. Nishkam Karma is what we all ought to be doing, but most of us live in the world of Sakam Karma. If all of us were to do Nishkam Karma there is always a zero balance and there would be no need to open the virtual account of Samskara. Normally, at the time of death the body dies and all the desires, chain of bodily experiences and impressions of mind take the form of a seed which carries on as samskara. This is the driving force for finding another body and once the body is found in form of a new birth, the seed start sprouting. The past Samskaras start acting out. You also start accumulating new Samskaras. You start from where you left off in your past life. This is your journey from life to life.

But, in the real world most of us do care about the result. By default we can not decide not to do karma. Every one who is living has to do karma. Also, every Karma produces a result. But, the result is not in our control. In this case it is easy to comprehend the Nishkam Karma in theory. If the results are not in your control, leave the results in the hand of the Parmatma. But, the Hindus went into the basics of how Sakam Karma influences the Samskara, how the results can be influenced by Sakam Puja and so on.

Before we look at the basics of Sakam Karma, let us examine the incidents of Mahabharata. Kaurav and Pandav are fighting. Duryodhana has a stronger army. Bhisma Pitamah, Dronacharya, Karna and many such well trained warriors are on his side. It is impossible to defeat one of them. How can any one defeat all of them. Arjuna and all were trained by Dronacharya and Bhisma Pitamaha who were on the Kaurava side. They were fighting for an outcome of winning the war.

On the other side, Arjuna was well trained. He spent years practising and sharpening his skills. He spent one year doing tapasya to please Shiva to gain more powers. Krishna himself was his sarathi (charroteer). Hanuman was on his pataka (flag pole of the charriot). Arjuna with all his excellent training goes numb in the beginning of the Mahabharata. He with does not want to fight. He is ready but not quite ready. He starts talking the language of Karma Sanyas. Krishna interjects. Arjuna has achieved every thing possible by his sakam karma. He has gone through rigorous training. He has done his Tapasya for power, he has got the support of devtas . Now what is left. Krishna now gives him the ultimate sutra of Nishkam karma. To excel he not only needs the readiness by training and the divine hand but also a full one hundred percent and more of his fighting skills. This is only possible if Arjuna can take his mind off the possible results. There was no calculable possibility of Pandavas winning to start with. If he just went by equations, he would not have been able to fight fully because there was no predictable victory for the Pandavas. Krishna has been Arjuna’s sakha (friend) long before Gita happened. He could have told Arjuna about nishkam karma before, while Arjuna was in training. No, that was not the time. Arjuna had to have the training. He had to go through the rigors of life. Once he was ready to take off, the ultimate formula was given.

In the real world and in real life, life does not start with Nishkam karma. That is a possibility. That is the best. It is important to understand this issue. When one is full of desires inside and always is looking for results, it is not appropriate of talking about Nishkam Karma. It is appropriate to know and understand the Sakam Karma as it is and then work towards Nishkam Karma.

So how does sakam karma work. What are the basics of Sakam Karma and how can you possibly influence or affect the results. For this undrstanding let’s look at the shloka that is the cornerstone of Nishkam karma again:

Karmanyewadhikaraste ma faleshu kadachana (2..47)
You have the right to the karma but not to the result.

This shloka does not say that you do not get a result when you do a karma. You do karma and you get result. That is why this shloka is not only the key to Nishkam karma but also fundamental to the Sakam karma. There is an unknown factor between the karma and the result. The same karma does not produce the same result a second time even for the same person. For a different person the result of the same karma can be totally different. If you change the time and space for the same karma results can be dramatically different. This means that the results of any karma is unpredictable and there is no reproducibility.

And this is where, Hindus made the breakthrough. Not every one can surrender to parmatma and do the Nishkam karma. That is ideal but not in everyone’s grasp. So, there are techniques developed which may influence the results. The danger of these techniques is two fold. The techniques (may have been lupta today) can be misused for a bad outcome by a mischievous mind. The technique is a technique. Ravana can use mantra and tapasya to get the same powers that anyone else can. When he gets those powers to influence results and outcome, he uses it the way he wants to. It is like the atomic weapon falling in to the wrong hands.

The other risk is that if mantras, and tapasya can get the desired result, it can give a false sense of security. Why bother making an effort to do the karma? It can lead a whole generation to become lazy. A complacency can arise. People can become dependent on these techniques. This can lead to many fake Swamis and Sadhus claiming to produce magical results for an individual. The important point to realize is that these techniques do not replace the need to do your Swadharma. A karma has to be done. If you have to pass an examination, you have to prepare. A mantra or a puja can help but can not replace the books.

Many technologies were developed on these lines. We seem to have lost the keys and in some instances the locks themselves. The significance of astrology, mantras, murti, mandir (temple), tirtha (places of pilgrimages) have all been debased or lost over hundreds of years. There are many keys in life which can open doors of treasures, even today, but unfortunately we neither know anything about these treasures nor about the locks which may be opened. And, if we do not know either about the treasures or the locks, then what is left in our hands cannot even be called a key. It can only be a key if it opens a lock.

The key has left a sort of lingering fragrance in the unconscious mind of man. The impressions are hiding in our unconscious (part of samskara that we carry along) and therefore there is a possibility of bringing it to the surface. Effort is required in this direction. A renewed interest in these techniques is essential. That is the only way we can reinvent the hidden mysteries of these techniques. The knowledge we obtain by reinventing will be the building blocks of future developments.

These techniques form important steps during the performing of different essential Sacraments. In most sacraments, astrology is used to find out the most auspicious time for the event. Devtas are invoked to participate and bless during the event. Some of the Sacraments are performed in temples or in certain teerthas. Therefore, some understanding of these techniques is essential before we get into the vidhis (how to) of the Samskaras.


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