By Punya Srivatsava
Can we heal by overcoming our karma? And how can we do that, asks Punya Srivastava
A participant at one of the many workshops run by the Oneness University in Andhra Pradesh, had severe asthma. During one of the processes, she was guided to experience the source of the asthma. She found that in one of her past lives she had been the son of a farmer, and she had had the habit of riding a bullock relentlessly until it became breathless. This had continued for many years. The guide explained to her that this was the reason she was undergoing breathlessness in this lifetime. However, awareness of the origin of the asthma did not cure it. Instead, it became worse. She contacted the guide in consternation, and was told that in order to heal she had to look into the eyes of a cow every day for six months, and ask for forgiveness. She did it, and sure enough, she healed after six months.
Dr Amii Asthana, a Mumbai-based doctor, was a victim of severe psoriasis, so much so that his maid would sweep up more than a kg of skin flakes from the floor every day. In search of a cure, he went to the UK with his family, and was treated with such severe anti-cancer medication that his bone density crumbled and he was unable to walk. He returned to India, hoping that the sunshine would cure him. But nothing worked.
Finally in desperation, he went to a past-life regression practitioner. And there he underwent an incredible experience. He found himself a Roman soldier, nailing Jesus Christ to the cross. After Christ left his body, he and his cohorts yanked him down so brutally that his hands and ankles remained on the cross. Getting ready to tip him over a cliff, he noticed that Christ’s eyes were on him. He says, “I looked at my hands that had recently held him and they were filled with psoriasis. I looked at my ankle near where I had nailed him and they had psoriasis. My forehead, the area on which the crown of thorns rested on his head, was covered with psoriasis.”
After this and other sessions, where he got an opportunity to ask for and be granted pardon from Christ, he slowly began to heal. His bone density returned to normal and his psoriasis came under control. Today, he considers himself to be a follower of Christ.
What is karma ?
The Law of Karma, much like Newton’s third law, stems from the law of cause and effect. ‘As you sow, so shall you reap’ is an oft-repeated cliché, but also one of the most significant truths of the universe. Since karma determines every aspect of our lives, it also has a part to play in the diseases we develop. Karma need not be sourced in a past life. For the greatest part it may have its origin in our present lives and may, in fact, be sourced in the way we have treated our bodies. If we have not cared for it, have eaten the wrong foods or picked up habits such as smoking or drinking, we will reap the adverse consequences of these actions. Even our mental and emotional actions can cause ailments. As Louise L Hay and other metaphysical healers have pointed out, most ailments are psychosomatic, based on anger, fear, hatred and resentment. These too are nothing but karmic consequences.
Anupama S Joshi, an alternative healing therapist from Mumbai, throws light on this: “Karma is determined by the motive or intention behind our action or kriya. I have known people who smoke and have no guilt about it whatsoever and are never ridden with cancer. Illnesses are connected to our mind which perceives the action to be good or bad. In that sense, yes, karma affects our health even to the extent of genetics, the reason for it being the family karma. You can rise above karma when you transcend judgements about good and bad, and do what the moment calls for while surrendering the outcome.”
“All that we are today and all the results we are getting today are due to our past karmas. The present body that we have got is the result of our prarabdha karma or collective past karma,” says Swami Nikhilananda Saraswati, Head, Chinmaya Mission, Delhi. Swamiji points out that there are three types of karma. Sanchita is the stored karma of infinite previous lifetimes. The prarabdha karma is the karma which has got fructified in this present lifetime and has determined the circumstances of our lives. And the karma that we earn through our action in this lifetime is called agami karma. The present body is taken care of and nourished by our prarabdha karma. By keeping a check on our actions in the present, and changing our thought pattern and understanding, we can slightly modify the forthcoming experiences of our present life.
Ways to overcome karma
The first step towards overriding your karma is becoming self-aware. Looking after your physical and mental health is a step towards self-awareness. Exercising, eating right, not giving in to desires, being mindful of your bodily needs are the most important duties towards yourself. “Instead of living to eat, if a person develops the attitude of eating to live, he/she gradually experiences a marked shift in his attitude towards life,” says Swamiji.
The next step is to drop all resistance towards your suffering – be it physical, emotional or mental. Once we wholeheartedly accept what we are going through and the emotion associated with it, it becomes much easier to find a solution. Acceptance gives us a sense of peace with ourselves. Swami Nikhilananda gives the example of one of the mission members. “She was diagnosed with cancer, and underwent the necessary tests and treatments quite bravely. She has taken cancer in her stride, and has kept a positive attitude in her heart. It is amazing to be in her company as there is so much of peace and acceptance in her heart. The disease has not made her cynical or sad. I am sure she will definitely be able to overcome her illness and regain good health. The doctors are already very happy that she is showing great signs of improvement.”
The third step is to learn your lessons. If a situation is repeating itself, it is indicative of the fact that we need to learn our lesson and evolve through it. Unless we acknowledge and understand the suffering, life will keep on throwing up the same situation. ‘History repeats itself until we learn the lessons that we need to change our path,’ says the law of change. I have been through this and can whole-heartedly vouch for this fact. Stomach infections and digestion-related problems have been a recurring pattern since the past five years with me. This repetitive cycle was indicative of my low self-confidence and suppressed anger during my formative years. However, the problem is gradually resolving as I have acknowledged the lesson to be learnt from this. I have been working upon expressing my anger constructively, and my self-confidence has definitely seen an upward surge.
“Our past karmas manifest situations in our present life thereby giving us the opportunity to break the cycle. I was diagnosed with the polycystic ovarian syndrome during my teenage years and also developed hypothyroidism later in life. During the process of healing, a lot of past-life issues and also present life issues were resolved, and I could rise above illnesses that medical science believes cannot be cured but only maintained during the entire lifetime,” shares Anupama.
The last step to overcome your karma is to develop an attitude of gratitude. This helps in bringing about attitudinal shift in a person. Looking at life as a God- given opportunity to achieve the goal of your life, and being grateful for what you have rather than to crib about all that you don’t have will generate gratitude.
According to Swamiji, negative karmas of the past can be nullified by prayaschit karma by chanting God’s name (naama japa), charity (daan) and fasting (upavasa). All these actions help elevate to the next level. Healing always takes place from a level above your present one. Becoming a better person helps you become more receptive to whichever healing process you are going through. “In this life, knowingly or unknowingly, we cause sufferings to others and by falling sick, we pay off our karmic debt,” says Vishal Saxena, a Hyderabad-based lawyer and a practising astrologer, adding, “The best way to keep yourself away from diseases is to engage yourself in service of those who are ill. It is important to continuously better yourself.”
Many sufferers of chronic ailments also reach out and help their fellow sufferers; all this enables them to heal at one point or other.
So no matter how adverse our karma, with patience and the right attitude, we can rise above it, and heal at every level – physical, mental, emotional and spiritual.