Swami Rama's lectures on Freedom from the Bondage of Karma were delivered in a seminar sponsored by The Meditation Center, University Avenue, Minneapolis. In the eight lectures included in this volume, Swami Rama offers a series of perspectives on man's most significant responsibility - that of Self understanding. Karma, the activity of doing and being, is symbolized as a rope of many strands, holding the individual in the bondage of suffering and necessitating many reincarnations. The strands of the rope of karma are actions, thoughts, desires, and the latent tendencies of personality which lie hidden in the depths of the subconscious mind. The effect of these varied constituent aspects of karma is to keep the mind in a state of constant agitation and outward-directedness in search of appeasement (satisfaction, pacification). The result is enslavement to the many objects, ideas, fantasies, and pleasures which vie for the mind's attention.
As long as the mind remains in this scattered and dissipated condition there can be no hope of freedom from karma. But in the pages of this book, Swamiji analyzes the mechanisms of karma and the functioning of mind in order to demonstrate the kind of self-study each student must undertake to free themselves from this slavery of an untrained mind.
In this process of self-liberation three stages are shown to be essential. First, it is clearly shown that the desire for the results or "fruits" of our actions is the root of our slavery. Thus, we must learn to cultivate the practice of non-attachment and of giving the fruits of our actions to the welfare of others. Good or bad actions alike are enslaving; we must learn to live selflessly.
The second essential state of self-enlightenment is shown to be the purification of the conscious and subconscious mind of those desires, thought and tendencies which are like a dark veil that keeps us from perceiving the Real. Mind is shadowed by illusion, and freedom is not possible as long as we mistake the non-real for the Real, the non-eternal for the Eternal. Yogic techniques are introduced which enable the aspirant to begin the task of self-purification and discrimination.
Finally, it is shown that freedom from karma is to be attained only when one passes beyond the limitations of mind to the highest state of superconsciousness known as tranquility or samadhi. From this state alone, achieved through the practice of meditation, the seeker of Truth receives the intuitive awareness of the Supreme Self (God) and passes into freedom. It is the freedom of performing action selflessly, the freedom of genuinie love.
Karma is of our own making. What we experience today is the result of what we have created in our past. So, too, is our future of our own making. It is to assist us in the creation of a future that will bring liberation to all who aspire to freedom and Truth that this book is written.
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