Collected words from talks of Swami Tirtha


Question of Dragi: Is it possible to change one’s karma and if it is possible, in what cases Krishna is ready to do this?

Tirtha Maharaj: Very good question. What is your opinion?

Rukmini: Karma is the law of action and consequences and Krishna may change the situation. I am sure if it was only karma, we could not escape. So, yes.

Yadunath: He does change it.

Somebody else: My simple logic is that Krishna is merciful and there is mercy for everyone. Taking one’s karma is mercy, so naturally He can do it.

Paramananda: He does change this condition when He wants to. This is, I think, very important.

Neli: He can, but He respects the laws of the material nature and doesn’t interfere.

Tirtha Maharaj: Not too much. Any other opinion? Damodar?

Damodar: Krishna principally can do everything.

Manjari: I agree with everything said.

Tirtha Maharaj: I think this is a unison. Yes, karma can be changed. Why? What are the five main topics of the Bhagavad Gita? The five main topics of the Gita are: ishvara, jiva, prakriti, kala and karma. These are the five topics – God; human being; nature, material world; time, as an activating factor; and karma, as the law of action-reaction.

The first three are the triangle of existence. Here you are, here is the nature, and here is God. That is very simple. You should start from yourself because this is the first mystic experience. You understand your existence like an internal experience. Then you look around – you will see the world around you. And then you understand – somebody is guiding this whole structure. So, this is the triangle of existence. And then you see that there is that activity principle – kala, the time factor. Here in the second angle, this is the space, like nature, like the world, but space doesn’t exist without the time factor. So, in the ancient yoga scriptures they had a vision about this time and space continuum. And the Supreme Lord guides the whole system. From this we can also understand this whole universe is based on three principles, the world is determined by three principles: space, time and action-reaction, and this is the law of karma. In this way we have a complete picture, the Gita describes all these five factors.

The first four: ishvara, jiva, prakriti and kala are eternal factors, while the fifth one is not eternal, it has an end. So, that means karma can be changed, karma can be stopped. You cannot stop kala. You cannot stop nature. From time to time it will return, hopefully there will be springtime again. So, from time to time it returns, you cannot stop it. You cannot stop even yourself from existence. Sometimes people suffer so much that they are ready to jump out of the window due to some reasons that: “She was not talking to me”, or “He left me”. That are very strange reasons, but they feel like suffering and they think: “Oh, if I die, I will not suffer anymore”. Yet, sorry, you cannot renounce existence. Your position as an eternally existing living being is there, you cannot change that. Karma is the limited factor and can be changed.

How to change the karma? I think we have discussed that sometime – the palimpsest effect. In the ancient times when they were using the parchment for writing, you know what is that? It’s a skin of a sheep. That’s quite precious and quite rare, it’s a limited stock. So when they wanted to recycle it, to reuse it, first they were scratching off the old writing and then putting the new writing on it. This is called the palimpsest effect – to erase the old and rewrite with new. So, this was a CD-RW or parchment-RW. But with certain chemical methods they can bring back the original writing also.

What is the parchment? The parchment is our fate, our karmic loop. You can overwrite your parchment first by erasing and then writing a new story. So it is possible, but we have to apply the proper method. And what is the proper method? Somebody said that we by ourselves, by our own force we cannot overwrite it and that is true. But by inviting a higher force, it is possible to change it. That higher force for us is the power of dedication, surrender. Therefore Bhaktivinod Thakur says: koro he uttama – “Make me the best of living entities”. And it doesn’t mean that he wants to be like a star or something, no. He wants to be purified – this is the best living entity.

So, to change karma by divine mercy it is possible. But every living entity has double karma. One is like the material karma, and the other is like the spiritual karma. Because in the spiritual sphere action-reaction is also there. If you do something spiritual, you will have spiritual results.

And the second part of your question was in which circumstances Krishna is ready to do this? Well, you can read the 22nd verse from the Ninth Chapter of the Gita. There you will find the answer.

So, karma is not eternal, fortunately. Do you remember the timescale of karma? Karma is called anadi – no beginning. It comes from eternity, beyond this period of creation, from before. But it’s got an end. Therefore it is called anadi no beginning. And for example, if you reach perfection from now, this is called ananta, no end. It’s got a beginning, because today I achieved full perfection, but has no end – ananta, no end.

Leave a Reply