Karma is the law of cause and effect applied to mental, moral, and physical actions. Ego attaches to and identifies us with objects, feelings, and thoughts. These attachments create a bias toward certain lines of action. Instead of acting, we react.
Dharma is the path of life above the wheel of karma, aligned with our soul and destiny, where all our actions are towards the Infinite. It is action without reaction or karma.
When our actions no longer create karma, when we live in dharma rather than karma, we are said to be liberated.
Fate or Destiny — Karma or Dharma
Fate and destiny — karma and dharma — exist together. At every moment we can choose to act in our fate or in our destiny.
In fate, we create karma — actions we must complete or resolve. Acting in destiny we are in flow with the Universe, with our spirit, and with our basic nature. These actions are beyond karma. They are in dharma, or living within our destiny cycle.
Rather than seeing karma as a punishment, one can view it as the gateway into the human experience through which we can shift into dharma. It is said that even the angels envy this opportunity for incarnation.
Words from Guru Arjan Dev Ji referring to Karma and Dharma
Sorat’h, Fifth Mehl (Page 1641/1642 of Dr. Sant Singh’s translation and Page 625 of the Siri Guru Granth Sahib)
The Restorer of what was taken away, the Liberator from captivity; the Formless Lord, the Destroyer of pain.
I do not know about karma and good deeds; I do not know about Dharma and righteous living. I am so greedy, chasing after Maya.
I go by the name of God’s devotee; please, save this honor of Yours. ||1||
O Dear Lord, You are the honor of the dishonored.
You make the unworthy ones worthy, O my Lord of the Universe; I am a sacrifice to Your almighty creative power. ||Pause||
Like the child, innocently making thousands of mistakes his father teaches him, and scolds him so many times, but still, he hugs him close in his embrace.
Please forgive my past actions, God, and place me on Your path for the future. ||2||
The Lord, the Inner-knower, the Searcher of hearts, knows all about my state of mind; so who else should I go to and speak to?
The Lord, the Lord of the Universe, is not pleased by mere recitation of words; if it is pleasing to His Will, He preserves our honor.
I have seen all other shelters, but Yours alone remains for me. ||3||
Becoming kind and compassionate, God the Lord and Master Himself listens to my prayer.
He unites me in Union with the Perfect True Guru, and all the cares and anxieties of my mind are dispelled.
The Lord, Har, Har, has placed the medicine of the Naam into my mouth; servant Nanak abides in peace. ||4||12||62||
“When karmas remain, so do you. Karma has to become dharma. Dharma is where the account is cleared. It is where your discipline and commitments make you positive and graceful. Then you break out of your cocoon and become a leader, elevate all, and leave a legacy. That ability to turn negative into positive, to support all your actions with your facets and manners, is the result of meditation. It comes with the refined mind. It is what develops through Sadhana, aradhana; through Jappa and discipline.” – Siri Singh Sahib Ji
“In the morning it is called the Amrit Vela—the ambrosial hours, and in the evening it is called ‘prayer time.’ Any meditation done in the state of unisonness at that time gives us a clear tomorrow and erases the cause of sorrow which we seed through our thoughts. Through meditation we stand redeemed. It is called Moksha, Nirvanaa, redemption, or liberation.” – Siri Singh Sahib Ji, June 17, 1994
This content is excerpted from the The Aquarian Teacher: KRI Level One Instructor Textbook. Copyright: Kundalini Research Institute.