Dear Yoga Mentor, My Question Is…

Sometimes students have written to or asked Swami Veda Bharati, Swami Ritavan Bharati, and other senior teachers in our tradition questions about practice.  This is one such “Question and Answer,” or Q&A.


How do we break the bonds of karma, what is the method? And is there a method to break or erase the bonds of Prarabdha karma [Ed: Wikipedia article], or "destiny" as it understood?


Two have answered this question: Stephen Parker (Stoma) and Michael Smith.

From Stephen Parker (Stoma)

Here is one response:

Mindful awareness, starting from simple awareness of breath, grounds your attention in buddhi which is causally prior to ahamkara, the source of self-identification with samskaras and the “glue” that sticks them to our mindfield. When you remain aware without reacting, the self-identification is broken. A second important way is through modification of the samskara by intending through samkalpa shake to make a more sattvik response than the emotional reaction that the samsara is usually pushing us to make. Awareness gives you a bit of time and space to decide how to respond rather than simply reacting and creating a similar samskara that you will have to deal with in the future.

From Michael Smith

Swami Rama’s books: Freedom from the Bondage of Karma and Perennial Psychology of the Bhagavad Gita answer that question in detail.

Nishkama karma (“desireless action”), not having expectations of reward, is one of the main teachings in the Bhagavad Gita. Renouncing the notion of doer-ship, and performing actions skillfully and selflessly for the benefit of others.  There is an attitude shift.

The prarabdha karma may still occur, but there is not an egoic self who is keeping score. It would not stick. There is no longer a preoccupation with “self.”

For an avaricious person, watching his house burn down would be agony; for a renunciate it could be a blessing.

Editor’s Notes:

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