Karma means not only action, but also the result of an action. Whatever we are going through at the moment is the result of previous actions, not just of this life, but many lives. In short, Karma, is the sum total of our actions both in this life and in the preceding ones. Nothing happens by accident or chance actions. Everything happens in regular order, the past, present and the future being interconnected and inter-dependent. Cause is Effect concealed, and Effect is Cause revealed!
Let us examine the theory of Karma and rebirth. You will not cease to exist after death. It is the physical body that dies. The astral body (sukshma or linga sarira) and causal body (Karma sarira) continue forth. The causal body has all your Karmas stored in it as seeds, seeds that result in rebirth. As long as man has not exhausted all his Karmas, he has to be born again. All our actions and thoughts become the seeds for our future lives. Karma is at the root of this cycle of births and deaths. Again and again, Karma makes us take birth. Countless times have we been born and countless times have we died. Very many wombs have we passes through.
Runanubandhana In each life, we have mother, father, brothers, sisters, spouse, children and so on. We are born in a family as a result of undischarged debts of past lives. Constantly we are creating accounts, debiting and crediting. We are creating Karmic debts with all those, with whom we interact. The Karmic debts (rina) lead to bondage or attachment (bandhana). These Karmic attachments pull us into the wheel of existence again and again. Runanubandhana (the bond that results from Karmic debts) is at the root of repeated lives.
Karma leads to rina and rina leads to Karma. It works both ways. If you have given something to somebody in some life, the memory is stored in your causal body. That person will be your debtor in this birth. If you have taken in the past, it will be taken from you in some birth. The causal body stores the memory of all of one's runanubandhanas of countless births. Till all the karmas stored in the causal body is burnt away or exhausted, there is no liberation from rebirth. Human life is nothing but a memory of runanubandhana, the story of the countless karmas that we make, and live through. Every relationship reflects some runanubandhana. The people with whom we have very strong Runanubhandhana become our parents, spouse, children and coborns in this life. In most relationships it is our rina that ensures a complementary fit, just like a lock and key.
The memory of Karmic debts may be sweet or bitter. Sweet memories of karmic debts lead to a 'happy' relationship and bitter memories to an 'unhappy' relationship. In reality, most of the karmic debts are mixed, a mixture of sweet and bitter memories. That is why; most relationships are of a mixed nature. I will try to explain briefly two kinds of relationships that are most significant: parent/ child and love/marriage relationships.
Parent/child relationship This relationship is the most important. This is the easiest way to discharge our karmic debts towards one another. Some possible ways in which it works:
- A person whom you have helped in some life is born as a child, takes good care of you in the present life and discharges his/her debt.
- A person to whom you own a lot in some life may be born as your son or daughter and take back what you own. Such a child makes you spend heavily on her/him.
- A person whom you cheated ruthlessly in a previous life is born as your child and gives you a lot of suffering, takes your money and goes away.
- An enemy of some life is born as a son/daughter in this life, in which case, he/she behaves like an enemy, hates you and causes a lot of suffering to you. The spouse, the parents, siblings, friends, and servants- all are born in a set up together, as a result of Runanubhandhana.