How Can One Clean One’s Bad Karmas Accumulated Over A Period Of Time?
Param Pujya Dada Bhagwan, an enlightened being says, “You should not speak harshly. If someone is hurt by your words, you should tell him, ‘Dear friend, I am very sorry. I made a mistake.’ If it is not possible to tell him directly, then internally you must repent for having said such things.”
So, we shall repeatedly remind ourselves not to utter hurtful speech. And if someone is hurt by our harsh language, we shall repent, and also tell him, ‘I am sorry. I will not say such things again.’
Param Pujya Dada Bhagwan further suggests, “To avoid speaking unpleasant and hurtful words, ask for strength from the God within: “Dearest Dada Bhagwan! Give me infinite inner strength not to speak, cause someone to speak, nor encourage anyone to speak any harsh or hurtful language towards any living being, even to the slightest extent. If someone speaks in a harsh and hurtful language, please give me the strength to speak softly and kindly in response.”
We want to utter words that are pure, accepted by all and are not hurting the ego of anyone; and we want to say it with utmost humility and in a simple and straightforward manner. For that, in our spare time, we must keep asking Dada Bhagwan (the Lord or the Pure Soul within us) for strength to speak so. Doing so, we certainly get the strength. The energy will arise by itself, and it will come in exactness. This is the way we can improve our speech.
Now, coming to your question about how do we cleanse the bad karma we’ve accumulated so far.
Harsh words or actions are never pleasant. It is egotistical, and therefore generally unacceptable to others. The bad karma we’ve accumulated in this life can be cleansed through Pratikraman. Also, the force of past karma that makes us utter such harsh words diminish through Pratikraman, they get concluded faster.
Pratikraman means repentance for our wrong thoughts, words or actions. As long as we have in our mind, ‘I am at fault’, it does not allow us to be at peace. But if we do Pratikraman, everything gets erased. Pratikraman is done in the following manner: First of all, we remember the pure Soul (God) of the person to whom we’ve caused hurt through our harsh thoughts, words and actions, intentionally or unintentionally. We then confess all our mistakes before God, we ask for forgiveness for each mistake and resolve not to repeat that mistake ever again.
Pratikraman, when done after attaining Self-Realization, yields the most accurate and best results. It is because really, we all are a pure Soul. But we do not know this real Self. And we wrongly believe ourselves to be really John (you may insert your own name here), which is only our relative or the worldly self. This wrong belief leads to deep attachment and partiality towards John, and hence we are not able to see all our faults clearly; we tend to justify them on one pretext or another.
After attaining Self-Realization, we come into the awareness of ‘I am a Pure Soul.’ The function of the Pure Soul is to see and know, devoid of any attachment. So, in the awareness of the real Self, we being separate from John, are able to know and see all the faults of John with precision. We are also able to see how many pratikraman John does, how sincerely he does them, and how many times he does them.
More the mistakes we destroy through such precise Pratikraman, the closer we come towards liberation. Therefore, in our free moments, we will try and keep doing Pratikraman for all our faults; not restricting them to harsh words and actions only. Let’s dwell a bit deeper into this area beyond.
The Faults Beyond Harsh Words And Actions
If someone gives us respect, we feel happy and if someone insults us, we become angry. This may even spill out in reactionary harsh words or actions, as discussed above.
Now, when someone insults us, it is an effect. He has said this within the laws governing the science of karma – it is due to ‘our’ past karmas that the person has insulted us. But during this occurrence of insult, if negative reaction occurs within us, it is the cause for the next life. Our adverse internal meditation causes bad karma, which will give us bad effect in our next life. So, we must do Pratikraman for every such adverse internal meditation.
The causes are created in this life, and the effects of these causes will have to be endured in the next life. But if we do Pratikraman for the causes created in this life, we can cleanse all the bad karma accumulated so far. So, we’ll tell ‘John’ (your relative self) to do pratikraman for everyone in the family, for every hurt that he has caused to them in this life or even in previous lives. We shall also tell him to ask for forgiveness for all the faults related to his attachments, hatred, anger, pride, deceit and greed that are done in this life and numerous other lives. Everyday, we can take one member of the family and do Pratikraman towards them. Then we do Pratikraman towards other people around us. Then, we do the same for the neighbours, with the same awareness. Even if people we’ve hurt when young are no more (dead), we can still remember their Pure Soul today, use their name, and do pratikraman; it will surely reach them. As we keep doing all of this, the burden of our load of accumulated karma will become lighter and lighter; but not otherwise.
When we are faced to endure the effects of our past karma (eg. someone insults us), if we’ve not met Gnani, we continue to bind new causes (karma) simultaneously. The causes we create in this life will result as effects in his next life. And thus the cycle of cause and effect, effect and cause will continue. The Gnani Purush puts a stop to the creation of causes when he graces us with the knowledge of our real Self. After this Self-Realization, new causes stop, and thus no new effects will occur. Then, all that remains will be the effects, which one will have to endure.
Hence, first and foremost, we should look forward to meeting Gnani at our earliest convenience and attain from him Self-Realization. And after Self-Realization, remaining in the awareness of the Self (the Pure Soul within), we shall do Pratikraman, as taught by Gnani, and cleanse all the karma accumulated so far. This way, we can get liberated from the bondage of karma by cleansing every karma sitting over our Pure Soul.
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