Saturday, June 9, 2007


The word "karma" has special fascination for Swami Vivekananda. There are three commonly used senses for karma by Indians:


Karma1 meaning: doing one's duty without expecting results and fruits. More completely we can call it: Nishkama karma.

This is a virtue, for anybody.


Karma2 meaning: performing rituals like penance, charity and sacrifice as stipulated by scriptures. These actions yield good results (people's belief).

A person who stops performing one's karma, becomes a "sanyasi (monk)".


Karma3 meaning: Often used in a derogatory fatalistic sense: "It is all my fate i.e. fruits of karma carried forward from previous births". Swami Vivekananda used the word Karma in its Karma3 meaning at:

a)My KARMA He wrote to E.T. Sturdy (renowned Sanskrit scholar) on 14th September 1899 from Ridgely Manor, U.S.A. :

"Of course, it is my karma ..." .

In this letter, he lamentED that by being made to wear loin cloth in India, he got diabetes. -- After Mrs. Johnson expessed that "No spiritual person ought to be ill." -- After Mrs. Johnson expressed that his smoking was sinful etc. -- When Ms. Mueller left him after his illness.

b)My KARMA He wrote to Ishwar Chandra Ghosh from Belur Math, on 6th March 1899, after getting diabetes:

"... This winter I had made it a point of visiting your part of the country. But my Karma will have otherwise. ..."

c) My KARMAHe wrote to Christina Greenstidel from Paris on Oct. 14, 1900.

"...As to myself, I see the cloud lifting, vanishing, the cloud of my bad Karma. And the sun of my good Karma rises — shining, beautiful, and powerful. This will also be the case for you, my friend. My knowledge of this language has not the power to express my emotion. But which language can really do so? ..."

d) My KARMAHe wrote to Swami Brahmananda (Rakhal) from Murree, India, on Oct. 11, 1897:

" ... Whatever has happened is now past — it is all the result of past Karma. What is the good of my repentance? I do not believe in it. It is all Karma ..."

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