Question: How can we succeed in breaking loose from the bonds of karma?

Sri Chinmoy: Man can free himself from the bonds of karma by divine Grace and by his own aspiration. Who is the cause of karma? Man!

But if you go deep within, you see that it is not the man but some other force, an inner force or law which initiates the karma. Now if you carry this inner force to the original source where karma and its results stay together, there karma cannot be separated from its results. I shall explain. We have done something today; the next moment we will get the result; or it may be years later or perhaps a few months later. But if one can stay where karma and its result are conceived or formulated, then that is one way of freeing oneself from the law of karma. Needless to say, this method is not widely applicable.

The easiest and most effective way of freeing yourself from the bonds of karma is to feel that you are not the doer. You are just an instrument. An instrument is not responsible, but the Doer, who is God, is responsible. If one can feel all the time that there is Somebody else who is the Doer and he is merely the instrument, then who will be responsible? The doer. If He does something wrong, He is responsible; if He does something good, He will be appreciated. Unfortunately in ordinary life, it is impossible for the average human being to think or feel that he is not the doer. If he does something wrong, immediately he curses himself and says, "I made a mistake." If, on the other hand, he does something right, he is bloated with pride and feels that he alone did it. Our human action compels us to feel that we deserve the fruit. But if we feel that we are not the Doer, that the Doer is God, immediately the fruit, the result, goes to the One who has actually acted. And who is that person? It is God, the Supreme.

So any human being, any man on earth, can free himself from the bonds of karma just by changing his attitude towards karma. "He is the Doer, I am the instrument." This may be very difficult, but at the same time, it is the only way for an aspirant to free himself from the bonds of karma. And if the aspirant is sincere and aspiring, sooner or later, he will be granted liberation, self-realisation and all that. When one has realised God, one has liberated himself from the fetters of ignorance. Then one is not bound by the law of karma. He does another kind of karma which in Sanskrit is called Agami Karma. Agami karma is done by the liberated soul, the realised person. When he works, he is not bound by the results of his work, either good or bad, because he knows perfectly well that he is the instrument and he is not the doer. Another kind of karma is Sanchita karma, accumulated karma which brings together the results and the consequences of a great deal of past karma all, more or less, at the same time. There is also Prarabdha karma, the actions that you have done in the distant past and for which you are now reaping the results.

So after realisation, after being liberated, one feels that he can never be bound by any karma. At the same time, he will have to work here in the world to manifest the divine, the Supreme here on earth. Liberation does mean abstention from work. Liberation means the acceptance of the work and the manifestation of Divinity within us. This manifestation can be achieved here on earth when the seeker feels that he is only the channel, the instrument and that God is the Doer.