Every object in the universe is endowed with four characteristics: dharma, karma, prema and gyana. Of these, karma is the most talked about; it is also the most misunderstood. The Gita says: “Gahna Karmanyo Gathi” — Unfathomable are the ways of karma. There are three types of karma: praarabdha, sanchita and agami. The first is latent karma, an impression or seed of action. The second is karma as action, and the third is karma as result. praarabdha means ‘begun’; the action that is already manifesting and that is yielding its effect right now.
You cannot avoid it or change it, as it is already happening. Sanchita is accumulated karma. It is latent or manifested in the form of a tendency or impression in the mind. Sanchita karma can be burned off by spiritual practices before it manifests. Agami karma is the future karma of action; that which has not yet come and which will take effect in the future. If you commit a crime, you may not get caught today, but will live with the possibility that one day you may get caught. Karma is also always bound by time, because every action has a limited reaction.
If you do something good to people they will come to thank you and be grateful to you as long as they are experiencing the effect of your action. So, karma has only a limited sphere of its effect, be it good or badIt is often asked, “Why are good people made to suffer while those who commit injustice go unpunished?” Such questions arise when we see an event in its limited framework. No good action will yield a bad result and no bad action will bring a good result. This is the law of karma As you sow, so shall you reap.
If you sow a mango tree, some thorny bushes may come up because of the seeds present in the manure brought from somewhere else. It is not the mango seed that brings up the thorny bush. Your mango seed will bring mango fruit, in due course. Karma is that which propels reincarnation. The stronger the impression, the greater the possibility of the next life being according to that. So, often you reincarnate like the person you hate or love. The mind which is full of different impressions leaves this body but the impressions await suitable situations to come back.
So the last thought is very important. Whatever you do throughout your life, in the last moment your mind should be free and happy. Our perception of suffering, of good and bad, is always relative. God is absolute reality; a witness of all. See God as movie director, rather than as a judge. He has no ill feeling for the villain and no special favour for the hero. Each one is playing her role. An awareness of dharma helps in comprehending the strange ways of karma. Whenever you see bad karma or someone suffering, you need to help.
~ Sri Sri Ravi Shankar