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desire = karma

I was listening to a lecture series by Bhakti Caitanya Swami (Ten Subjects of Srimad-Bhagavatam). He makes one very interesting point: desire = karma.

If I??(TM)m asked what determines our next body via reincarnation, the usual answer I give is: a mixture of karma and desire. You get what you want according to the amount of ??oebuying power?? you have due to karma. However, as I now realized, the karma is really just another side of the same ??oedesire?? coin. Desire is the root cause of everything.

Any pious activity, which results in good karma and a high quality body, is due to us desiring to perform those activities. By utilizing this stock of good karma, the living entity can then choose its next body from a shelf of high quality bodies, as well as having a sufficiently elevated consciousness to actually desire to inhabitate such a body. Most people (sudras) don??(TM)t actually want to be a CEO (Indra), nor are they qualified to.

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  • Pandu das 19/05/2005 9:05pm (12 years ago)

    Hare Krishna.

    I don't quite see it, so I'll offer a few thoughts. As I understand it, karma is action motivated by desire, so desire is a component of karma, but they don't appear to me to be the same thing. One can have a desire and not act upon it, even mentally, by vigilently observing the thinking-feeling-willing process and using one's determination to curb the mundane desires for the sake of advancing in devotional service. By that process, there is a desire which is not promoted to karma. Ordinarily, desire is the seed of karma, but the seed, tree, and fruit are all distinctly different.

    It seems to me that you're using the word karma to denote the result of action rather than the action itself. In mundane life, the action and the reaction are tightly bound together, though the relationship is often imperceptible. In devotional service, that relationship is changed. Krishna does the activity by engaging the surrendered soul in actions, but Krishna is not bound by any reaction. Although there may be a result to the action, it is determined by Krishna rather than according to ordinary rules. Whether that constitutes karma depends on subtleties in the definition of the word. Because of Srila Prabhupada's emphasis that karma is not eternal, the it seems that the word would not apply to actions carried out by Krishna's internal potency.

    Sometimes karma is defined as 'action,' sometimes as a 'action with a desire to enjoy a result,' and sometimes the result itself is also called 'karma.' It seems to me that when talking about karma, it's a good idea to be clear what is meant by the word.

    Hare Krishna.

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