View Full Version : Collective Karma
24 May 2010, 03:52 AM
Is there such as group, or collective karma? How would this work? Is collective karma supposed to be responsible for good and bad that societies face, and for example, is a major natural disaster a result of collective karma on a national scale? Can it be collective in families, cities, countries, planets, even universes?
24 May 2010, 07:24 AM
Most people would say that there is, but each individual within that collection would have his or her own karma impacting the overall effect. For example, on a team, an individual might have a great game yet the team loses.
24 May 2010, 08:45 AM
I think that just like fire is a collection of sparks of heat and light, and the Cosmic Consciousness is the sum total of the consciousness of individual beings, there is also group or collective karma on several scales--societal, religious, national.
Recently, on 22nd May, there was a tragic accident when an Air India flight landed and overshot the runway at Mangalore, India. Over 150 people died in the accident. I think such incidents indicate that the law of karma unites people into the events that shape their lives and death.
Here is another news of a miraculous escape:
HYDERABAD SEPT. 24. A major accident, involving a private aircraft on its inaugural flight carrying the BJP president, M.Venkaiah Naidu, the Union Minister of State for Civil Aviation, Rajiv Pratap Rudy, and the Telugu Desam Parliamentary Party leader, K.Yerrran Naidu, among others, was averted at the Hyderabad airport this morning.
The VIPs had a narrow escape when the ground staff doused the flames emanating from the left engine of the aircraft when it had just started taxiing before takeoff. The maiden flight of Deccan Airways from Hyderabad to Vijayawada, which was flagged off by the Union Minister of State for Urban Development, Bandaru Dattatreya, a few minutes earlier, was immediately aborted.
This again, IMO, is an example of collective karma overruling the chance of a tragedy. Such is also the case of a country winning a war, another losing it, and even the terror strikes all over the world (this is not justifying them of course). Other examples of possible collective karma is an entire family committing suicide, dying in a massacre, or being murdered by a family member in cold blood.
And I wonder whatever collective karma do the Hindus have accumulated, for their plight in their own land today?
31 May 2010, 10:22 PM
This is something I have been thinking about recently, with all the tragedies that have been happening. From the earthquakes in Haiti and Chile to the recent Indian plane crash and a multitude of other events, I suppose that there is a such thing as collective karma. Perhaps God chooses to put a lot of souls which have "karmic debt" to pay off in a concentrated area and then have a natural disaster, like an earthquake or a hurricane, occur there. This would seem like the only logical answer and explain why so many people would suffer on a grand scale. But of course, this in no way means that we should let those people suffer. It is still our duty to help them out to improve their karma as well as ours.
31 May 2010, 10:33 PM
While we are at it, here is a useful booklet about management of personal karma.
As explained in this booklet, the law of karma, which is cause and effect in nature, is completely automatic, with no interference from an external God, although he does give his grace in highly deserving situations.
In the absolute field of the play of spiritual energy and consciousness, it is amazing to think about how they are interconnected, combining and branching off to create the material and time of events that let us experience our karma.
In the ocean of samsAra--worldly life, while most waves bring forth just froth and scum, and play about on the surface, some dive down to deeper levels and become currents that spawn oysters, pearls and corals.
01 June 2010, 05:23 PM
01 June 2010, 05:25 PM
Thank you very much for posting that guide! I read through it last night before going to bed, and it was amazing. It is very useful, and clarifies and explains the entire concept of karma perfectly.
You say that God does not interfere with karma, except in highly deserving situations, but what exactly do you mean by that? The guide says that through bhakti yoga, intense devotion to the Lord, we can receive the grace of God to change the patterns of karma. We can mitigate past karma through bhakti yoga. Do you think that even through bhakti yoga it is extremely difficult to erase bad karma? Or were you saying that only in highly deserving situations will God interfere with karma, with our without bhakti yoga being performed by the person?
Many thanks once again! :)
01 June 2010, 06:04 PM
Much can be said about collectiveness of our society. The posts above in general looked to the re-action of things that occurred.
We as a society influence all of this earth... the more sattva we produce the more balance we will find in nature. The rains come on time, the harvests are fruitful, there is harmony between people.
The more we act against the laws of nature and improper behavior the more negative influences are distributed.
There is a general axiom that people think ' if it does not harm anyone else, then let me do as I please. If I wish to do these things ( perhaps unheathly actions and behaviors) in my home and I do not harm any one, then this is my choice, no one gets hurt.' This is in fact not the case. Everything is connected. One's backyard does not end at the fence line. We influnece this good earth by thoughts, deeds and actions. This can be direct or indirect.
01 June 2010, 08:48 PM
That useful guide on karma management was obtained from the Tamilbrahmins forum. It's also available in colorful booklet form, part of a larger volume at:
I said that God does not interfere with the karma process except in highly deserving situations from the POV of an advaitin, since here only the Self which is both the universal Brahman and individual Atman is the God.
So, what does God's grace and bhakti yoga mean for an Advaitin?
• Bhakti yoga gives chitta-shuddhi--purity of mind, and makes the jIva a better and broader vessel to receive God's grace, which in turn, is the quality of reflection of consciousness of the underlying Self through the jIva.
• Certainly, the chitta-shuddhi and the rigours of niyama of the bhakti yoga play a vital point in getting destroyed our prArabdha karma meant to be experienced in this birth, and effectively stops further creation of kukarma--bad karma, but what about the balance of sanchita karma to be yet experienced in other future births?
• Remember that bhakti yoga unless the sAdhaka at all times surrenders the phala--fruits, of his sukarma--good karma, to God/Self, would certainly result in longer times of enjoyment in the suvarga--heavens, with incumbent future births under better circumstances. And, sacrificing sukarma is really a very tough and courageous task, which is not everyone's cup of tea!
• Thus, so long as there is rebirth, there will always be karma to be experienced--prArabdha karma, and karma created--AgAmi/kriyAmana karma. This Gordian knot can only be cut by the sAdhaka getting into the nivRtti mArga--path of jnAna where he practices the rigours of shravana, manana, and nididhyAsana and progresses towards the ultimate, here-and-now mokSha of Self-Realization.
• Even the accomplishment in the nivRtti mArga of jnAna requires God's grace for the advaita mokSha. This is because the sAdhaka would attain the siddhic powers as he progresses from savikalpa to nirvikalpa samAdhi by doing dhyAna-vichAraNa--meditation and inquiry, and those powers could easily tempt him to use them and thereby go astray.
Thus, in the ultimate drama of Ishvara lIlA, it is the Self that decides which portion of its Atman that is manifest as jIva, pops the bubble and subsides into itself eternally.
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