A Primer on Karmic Darkening

By George A. Boyd © 2020

Q: What is the mechanism by which people have a spiritual fall? To what levels could they ultimately fall?

A: The Fire of the Divine Spirit purifies the karma behind the ensouling entity to the next nodal point, and this moves the Soul forward to that nodal point. However, if an individual engages in adharmic action, this can negate forward progress; indeed, if there is sufficient karmic accretion, it can move the ensouling entity down to lower nodal points.

Most people have some adharmic activity in which they engage, which accrues new karma. These can arise from reactive behavior of the ego not in alignment with the Self’s integrity and the Soul’s purpose. They can also come from enacting aspects of the issues in the unconscious mind that make up the psychological aspect of Pralabdha or Destiny Karma.

This new karmic accrual layers within the mind to various degrees, which leads to a progressively greater intensity of darkening. These can be described as follows:

  1. Between 1 and 108 forms of karmic darkening – In this scenario, your Soul remains in its current nodal point, but a thin layer of darkening is drawn over the presence of the Soul. This can be readily effaced through extra practice of transformational mantra.
  2. Descending one nodal point – Here, the amount of karmic accretion is sufficient to move your Soul back one step to the next lower nodal point. This can also be overcome through extra practice of transformational mantra.
  3. Descending two to thirteen nodal points – In this type, the karma accrued is sufficient to move your ensouling entity back to the lower edge of the current Subplane on which it dwells. This amount of karmic darkening requires significant extra practice of transformational mantra, together with repentance and voluntary behavior change.
  4. Descending one or more Subplanes – While your ensouling entity remains on the current Plane on which it dwells, moving down one or more Subplanes results in the loss of intuitive knowledge, ability, and virtue. There is noticeable coarsening of expression. You may forget what you have learned. You may revert to previous behavior, habits, and beliefs. This may require weeks of extra transformational mantra to overcome, plus the most poignant repentance and strict discipline is required to redeem the territory lost in your spiritual evolution.
  5. Descending to the next lower Plane – At his level of karmic accretion, the forgetting of knowledge, vitiation of virtue, and loss of abilities is marked. Repeated commission of sinful acts can progressively lead to this outcome. Usually by the time you have generated this much karma, you may turn away from pursuing further progress on the spiritual Path, and embrace the passions that are destroying you. At this stage, you typically see obsession with the object of your passion, and in some case, addiction to it. Lust, greed, intemperate use of alcohol and drugs, rage and hatred, or narcissistic self-glorification takes over your behavior at this point, and this adds more layers of new karmic accretion.
  6. Descending through two or more Planes – This level of karmic darkening can lead you down to the edge of the current Division of the Continuum on which you dwell. This might look like, for example, falling from the Wisdom Plane to the lower portion of the Biophysical Universe. Here forgetting, vitiation of virtue, and loss of abilities are profound. Negative character changes commonly appear at this stage—this can take the form of personality disorders, delusional or paranoid thinking, and increased anxiety and depression. When you fall to this extent, you may blame others for your problems, and project your own failures and weaknesses on others.
  7. Descending to the next lower Division – This immense degree of karmic obscuration causes you to reawaken the ensouling entity of the next lower Division, and become re-identified with it. For example, you might fall from the Planetary Realm into the Subtle Realm through repeated, egregious patterns of adharmic speech and behavior. Usually, this takes the form of a fall into the Lower Astral Plane. Depending on the nature of your adharmic karmic patterns, you could fall into the Lower Astral levels—of the chemical snare (alcohol and drug addiction), the sexual snare (sexual addiction), the criminal snare (engaging in criminal behavior), the power and corruption snare (engaging in the misuse of corporate or government power), or the spiritual enslavement snare (creating a religious cult or terrorist cell and entrapping others)—and become completely immersed in these evil patterns.
  8. Descending into the Lower Realms – For those who carry out the most horrific acts, you could create so much negative karma that you move beyond the first nodal point of the Subtle Realm, and fall into the Lower Realms that lie outside of the evolution of the Soul Spark. Among these hell-like worlds are
    • The world of living demons
    • The world of terrible fear
    • The world of madness
    • The world of terrible pain

If you were to fall into these profound depths and you were not repentant, and denied the Redeeming Light, upon death, you would lose the human birth and be reborn in the Animal or Plant Kingdom—and you would have to climb back up to the plateau to human incarnation again through the long and weary journey of transmigration.

Working with Adharmic Tendencies of Mind

These tendencies of mind that operate independently of the integrated structures of ego, Self, and soul, Mishra [1] calls vitarkas. Those on the spiritual Path actively attempt to overcome these patterns, and may engage in activities or spiritual practices designed to counter these negative impressions arising from the unconscious mind. Some of these practices include:

  • Repetition of mantras or prayers
  • Baptism or rites of ritual cleansing
  • Formal confession and repentance
  • Austerity, including fasting, and voluntary suppression of speech, or carnal appetites
  • Thought substitution, replacing evil thoughts with good thoughts
  • Invocation of the Divine for succor through prayer
  • Remaining in an altered state of consciousness to avoid triggering latent karmic impressions

In those who experience a major spiritual fall, their highest state of spiritual attainment remains a distant memory. However, certain of the abilities and knowledge gained at this pinnacle of their development may persist in them, despite their spiritual fall. So a person who has developed persuasion and negotiation skills may retain them, although these abilities may appear in a distorted or corrupted form at the lower level.

Religious moral training is designed to enable people to recognize these negative karmic patterns, and to turn away from them. Religious groups may also offer some ameliorative practices, such as prayer, confession, ritual cleansing and absolution, or austerity.

Those who utilize a transform the ensouling entity at the cutting edge of spirituality have the quintessential method to overcome the darkening effect of adharmic speech and action, but ultimately, they must eradicate these patterns altogether, so they cease performing this sinful speech and behavior.

We teach a transformational mantra in our intermediate meditation classes, the in-person Mudrashram® Master Course in Meditation and the by-mail and online Accelerated Meditation Program. We underscore that this transformational mantra is not designed to enable people to actively carry out sin and then try to clean it up afterwards. Rather, once you recognize these patterns arising in you, you will utilize all available means to root them out and to stop engaging in them.

We encourage you to learn this transformational mantra and practice it regularly. We also suggest that you employ the other methods included in these intermediate courses to work to rectify and overcome these wayward patterns of mind.


1. Mishra, Rammurti S. (1959) Fundamentals of Yoga • New York: The Julian Press • pages 147-150


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