By George A. Boyd © 2019
Q: I have heard that if you have pure intentions and are not attached to your actions, you could even murder someone and not accrue evil karma. Is this viewpoint correct?
A: Intention is the conative force of the attentional principle—and while this aspect of your nature can (1) make Light attunements or activate a transformational mantra, (2) can project in full consciousness onto the inner Planes, and (3) can give suggestions to direct your inner vehicles of consciousness—it really isn’t the force that drives your behavior. The force that drives behavior is volition or will.
One of the problems that people have about intention is that they often conflate it with will. So you will hear people saying:
- “I intend to lose weight this year through eating well and going to the gym.” [Commitment plus planning, executed via the personal octave of the will]
- “The Soul will create what I visualize using intention.” [Transpersonal octave of the will operating through the wave of the present time on the Akashic Aether]
- “It is my intention to honor my promise to you.” [Commitment plus conscience, executed via the personal octave of the will]
- “The Yogis use intention to activate supernatural powers (siddhis)” [Cosmic octave of will, operating through the cosmic consciousness nucleus of identity]
Will causes action: action does have karmic consequences. The circle of action expands from self to your family, to your circle of friends and acquaintances, to your neighborhood, to your community, to your nation, to the world, to the universe, and ultimately, influences the collective consciousness in which we all dwell. In the article, “The Three Modes of Karma,” we discuss this sphere of karmic reactions.
Regardless whether you have pure intentions—e.g., I don’t mean to harm you in any way, I regard you with love and respect, or I experience you as a spiritual being and honor you—if you injure someone, the law of karma does not cease to operate. In this same article, we discuss the levels from which you can initiate action using the will—this spans from the aspect of will that emerges from the unconscious mind up to the Divine Will.
Only in this last instance, where you are acting under the aegis of the Divine Will, do you not create karma. Since most aspirants and disciples do not have continuous access to the Divine Will, they invariably continue to create new karma.
Certain aspects of this new karma you create can be transmuted through the Light when you use your transformational mantra, but other aspects do bring about consequences that impact your life. So the contention that pure intentions prevent the creation of karma is spurious; the law of cause and effect continues to operate regardless of whether or not you are detached from what you are experiencing and hold only loving thoughts for others.
Q: I have heard that it is desire that generates karma, so if you are desireless, you do not create karma. Is this true?
A: It is correct that karma is based upon desire. Desireless action (nishkam karma) presumes that you are acting without desire—and assuming you are able to genuinely do this—you are in effect, acting as an agent of the Divine Will.
To do this requires that:
- You know the Divine Will
- The Divine Will directs your action
- You act without any desire or resistance in your mind to what the Divine Will is directing you
In theory, this seems straightforward enough; we suggest, however, that this may be more difficult to do in practice. This is because:
- It is difficult for most aspirants and disciples to discern what is the Divine Will apart from the many potential suggestions for action that arise in different strata of their mind.
- Below the Third Planetary Initiation, the connection with the Monad is tenuous at best, so it would be unlikely that the conative influences that inspire your action would actually arise from the Divine Will.
- Most people have desire or rebellious tendencies in their unconscious mind that resist being obedient to the Divine Will, even were it possible to clearly discern this. So for example, if God gave you a direction, many times you would not wish to follow it, because you believe it infringes upon your freedom or interferes with something else you desire.
So while desireless action does help you avoid creating new karma, practicing nishkam karma is not so easy.
Q: What about the idea that detachment from action prevents any karmic repercussions?
A: There are a number of perspectives that have been advanced that suggest you can circumvent karmic reactions through detachment. Here are some of them:
- Actionless action (wu wei) – This perspective looks at action from the standpoint of the state of being at the highest level of the Metaconscious mind. This viewpoint holds that there is no doer and that action arises spontaneously in a ceaseless flow of events. If there is no doer, then, no karma is produced.
- God in action – This view, which certain New Age and New Thought thinkers propose, is that because the Soul is Divine—e.g., there is a Divine atom within the Soul—if you initiate action from the Soul, you create no karma… because, they explain, God is beyond the law of cause and effect.
- Creation is Maya – In Yogi Preceptor traditions, they have discovered that if you move cosmic consciousness along its track using a transformational method, your life and personality—and ultimately, the entire universe—come to take on a dream-like quality. Yogis reason, “if the world is unreal, and there is no real self, there is no one to take action. Therefore, you do not create karma when you obtain this detached perspective.” [We note that psychologists do not regard this state of unreality quite as sanguinely as do the Yogis: they refer to these states as derealization and depersonalization.]
- Only God is real – In Vedanta and Advaita schools of Jnana Yoga—Yogi Preceptor traditions of the First Cosmic Initiation—they hold that Brahman is the One Reality. In this philosophy, the idea of separation from the Divine is a delusion: once the Jnana Yogi realizes Brahman, the idea of creating karma is absurd, for God—and you are God—does not create karma.
- The Great Void beyond the field of karma – In several Supracosmic Paths, when the Supracosmic seed atom purifies its track up to its origin, it encounters a great Void. This Voidness appears to be actionless. It seems to the liberated one on this Path that this Divine Ocean of consciousness is the only Reality and only doer—from this standpoint there is only the Divine Will that pervades all Creation. So, they reason, the liberated one cannot do other than the Divine Will—because there is no state of identity other than the Divine.
- The great detachment (Vairagya) – On several Transcendental Paths— particularly T2, T3, and T5—uniting attention with the spirit is supposed to generate the state of complete detachment, transcending the mind entirely. Because, they reason, it is the mind and its embedded ego that is purported to be the source of karma, acting from this state of complete detachment is supposed to negate the karma that ego-based action creates.
- Existence beyond Creation (Avayakta) – On the 7th Transcendental Path, merging into Satchitananda, which is “beyond Creation,” is supposed to establish the devotee in a karma-less state. Therefore, any action they contend, taken while attention is united with Satchitananda is by definition, desireless action or nishkam karma.
The main issue with each of these perspectives is that even if your attention is absorbed in one of these altered states of consciousness, the octaves of your will continue to operate. So even if it seems, for example, that action arises spontaneously in the state of being, the octaves of will are still functioning—the ego and the Self are still using their volition to produce the action that seems to arise of itself from the perspective of the voidness of consciousness.
Those who reach one of these other states of detachment or godlikeness, provided they do not suspend the activity of the octaves of volition entirely in a catatonic state, still produce action—and through action, they create karma.