• Arun Kumar Subramanian

Karma and its types

"Our ancestors through Vedic texts explained us what karma is and how it works but overtime through various misinterpretations people got carried away with different meanings. Only through an unbiased view one can understand what karma truly is."

Everything in this universe is meant to perform its duties aka karma. Karma not only means the duties but also the activities you do in your day to day life. Yes karma means duty, activity, work, action etc. Karma works on the basis of action reaction principle (Newton’s third law). Whatever you did will come back to you with the same energy (either good or bad) so that you’ll self reflect and move towards enlightenment. Every birth you take is to perform your pending karmas but while finishing it you accumulate more by doing new activities through your freewill. People have a misconception that karma means only the things they’re meant to do but it's wrong. Karma means activities in general regardless of past, present or future. Even reading this thread is a karma aka an activity. Thoughts, words and actions are three different modes through which you perform your karmas, it can also be said as mental, verbal and physical.


The principles of karma are explained in many vedic texts. It is said that the soul (atma/consciousness) is attached to the bondage (material attachment) and gets stuck in it (state of oblivion). All this happens before time aka the origin of the universe. Soul once stuck in bondage goes deeper until it becomes impossible to get out of it which causes nothing but destruction to the soul itself. It is at this stage the soul despises its state and wants to get out of it at any cost but nothing can be done on its own. So, God creates this Maya (illusionary universe aka simulation) to make the soul get detached from this bondage gradually and attach to the God (Param atma). It's hard to pin down the reason for the souls to get attached to the bondage in the first place. The words of the enlightened gurus (siddhas) are that the souls are attached to the bondage out of the time cycle, it means it has no beginning. The concept of time is hard to understand. Their words are that we in this material realm won’t understand the entirety of the concept of time because we’re inside its cycle. We can understand it by getting out of its grasp, as in becoming enlightened. The underlying factor of karma is that "bondage makes you do something which creates repercussions that creates the cycle of birth and death".

Three things are immortal according to the enlightened gurus of Shaiva Siddhanta. One is Paramatma aka God, other is the soul (atma) and the third is the bondage. Param in sanskrit means king, supreme. Paramatma means the king of souls or the supreme soul.

Types of Karma

Sanchita Karma: Sanchita means collection, hence Sanchita karma refers to the collection of all the accumulated karmas by your soul through all the lives you lived so far.

Prarabdha Karma: Prarabdha means fate. Since Sanchita karma is huge collection it can't be finished in one lifetime so a part of it will be bestowed to the soul in this life which we call fate (good and bad karmas). Different karmas get matured at different stages of time, only those matured karmas will be given to the soul and that's called Prarabdha.

Agámi Karma: You’re born, doing your duties everyday but how you do it (action/reaction) and what expectations/desires come out of it becomes Agámi.

Some use the term “Kriyamana karma” for action/reaction and Agámi for desire but according to Siddhanta actions include desires too so Agámi is enough to explain both.

For ex. Sanchita is the collection of money in your bank account, Prarabdha is the part of money from that account given to you to spend and Agami is what you do with it. Matured souls will simply spend the money but young souls like us will make more money through various investments.

In astrology, your fate can be seen through D1 (natal) and D9 (Navamsha) itself. In D1, the 12th house shows the Sanchita, 6th and 11th shows the Prarabdha and 10th shows the Agámi while all the varga charts (divisional) show everything in detail.

Maturity of Karmas and multiple births

Quite often you hear someone saying why we need to take next birth, if karma is true then it should hit you back right after you hit it. Although this question seems logical in the beginning you'll understand why it isn't after you read this.

In the previous section you’ve learned the basics of karma i.e., you’re creator, preserver and destroyer of your karma while God helps your soul by giving a platform (3D world) and a biomechanical suit (body) from pancha bhutas. You’ve also learned that your fate and freewill are decided based on the matured karmas. What is matured karma, let's get right into it. Matured karmas are those that come back at the right time with the right condition. The coming back can take a few seconds to few years, sometimes a few lifetimes.

Note: You’re about to read imaginary scenarios and its karmic patterns. I’m not trying to say this is the exact way how karma works but this is what my understanding is based on the principles.

Scenario 1 (reason for next birth)

Person A kills person B, leaving B’s parents in extreme mental agony. B was their only son and just 20 years old but he was brutally murdered by A. Now you know what comes next, A made a new entry in his book of karmas with a lot of blood and gore as he gave a sudden, violent and painful death to B and caused his parents a life long pain. According to the principles of karma, A is now meant to go through the same but he’s 70 years old and he doesn't have a family so what do you think will happen.

Scenario 2 (reason for multiple births)

Person X is the owner of a pesticides company which is used to kill innumerable insects, birds and animals, sometimes even humans. X creates a tool that’s giving painful death to multiple lives. According to the principles of karma, X is now meant to go through the same pain over and over to compensate for what he started but it isn’t possible in one lifetime so what do you think will happen.

Scenario 3 (multiple births vs one birth)

Person Q is a prison executioner, he executed multiple punishments in his career. It means he gave painful death to multiple lives even though the individuals were criminals. According to the principles of karma, Q has to take multiple lives but the reason for what he did was to maintain justice so instead of taking multiple births Q may get one life with lesser pain but a prolonged one.

Time is the driver of everything including you and your karmas. But time needs probability to keep things steady. Probability as in, karma needs proper conditions for someone to give you what you deserve (The Prakriti).

Scenario 4 (maturity through probability)

Suppose let's say you’re a con artist, you stole many people’s money and you’ve also cheated on your girlfriend which she comes to know and dies the next day but you live for the next 20 years. In order to give you what you deserve your girlfriend’s soul has to wait for another 20 years to take next birth or she may take one soon to finish her other pending karma which requires a short lifespan (since she killed a 14 year old boy in a car accident in her past life) and will join you in her next to next birth.

The short lifespan was a matured karma because she got the right time and condition to finish that one.

In your new life you may be born as someone who will get cheated easily but what if you don't feel anything. So to make sure that you feel the pain deeply you’ll be born as an emotional person with a lot of money at the time of birth. Time will find the right parents who are emotional with a lot of money and has the karma to beget a child like you so you’ll inherit everything but if it doesn't find one after your death it’ll find another set of parents who are eligible for a whole different karma of yours, which becomes the matured karma.

image source: behance.net

This is how you execute your past karmas when you meet the right time and condition for it. See now it gets a little complex and tricky right, but this is how the more you add karmas everyday the complexity rate increases.

Note: Good karma is textbook, its the bad karma that gets complex.

Also read about dreams

How specific houses are assigned to specific Karmas?

Sanchita: Twelfth house in your birth chart is the house of sanchita karma. Twelfth is usually called the house of loss. Loss can come through material, physical (isolated places) and mental (mind altering chemicals). Twelfth house is also the storage platform where all eleven houses get combined. To understand this phenomena look at the natural 12th sign of Pisces. Pisces is the sign of oceanic waters. Ocean is the final place on earth for water where it gets ready to begin its new cycle again. Secondly the ocean has every single animal and every single landscape we see on land, in fact the earth’s ocean still has more undiscovered territories. The 12th house is also called your subconscious mind (hindbrain). You may know that the subconscious mind is where all your memories are stored from childhood. Subconscious mind provides access to memories that are long forgotten from your conscious mind. Since 12th is the natural place for accumulation of everything it is the only suitable house for sanchita.

Prarabdha: Sixth house is the house of prarabdha. Sixth is usually called the house of enemies & obstacles. They usually come from the outside world and it can be through material, physical and mental levels. Sixth is also the critical thinking and problem solving skills where difficult tasks are executed on a daily basis. To understand this phenomena look at the natural 6th house of Virgo. Virgo is the sign of purity and meticulousness. Both these qualities require hard work (mental & physical) and intense focus and they are in fact your enemies as it wont allow you to be at peace. But once you master these skills you can easily face the future thus prarabdha karma is assigned to this house so that you’ll hone your critical thinking and problem solving skills to lead a better future.

Agámi: Tenth house is the house of agámi karma. Tenth is usually called the house of karma aka work. Work comes from everywhere like family, friends, social circle, professional circle etc. Everytime you face a problem or obstacle through sixth you learn something new. This new skill is put to use when you perform the next karma that is the tenth house.

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