"If the splendor of a thousand suns were to blaze out at once in the sky, that would be the splendor of that mighty Being." -- The Yoga of the Vision of the Cosmic Form, Eleventh Discourse, Twelfth Verse of the Bhagavad Gita

Outweigh Bad Karma with Powerful
Positive Action

Q&A with Swami Swaroopananda

Swami Swaroopananda is the Acharya (spiritual director) of Sivananda Yoga Centers and Ashrams on the West Coast of the United States, in the Middle East, and in the Bahamas, and is one of the foremost disciples of Swami Vishnudevananda. He is renowned for his spontaneous yet clear, concise, and complete answers to every question. This Q&A is from a Satsang at the Los Angeles Center in June 2011.


Can the practice of yoga eliminate bad karma?

Action is of three types: there is mental action like thought; there is verbal action like speech; there is physical action like things that we do with our physical body. So we may think something, we may say something or we may do something.

Behind any action there is an intention. If the intention is carried out through speech or through physical action and we are satisfied that we carried this intention out successfully, we have created a complete karma which means this is a complete action that produces an impression in the subconscious mind, the subtle mind. In Sanskrit that impression is called a samskara. If the impression is deep it is called a vasana. This impression in the subconscious mind or subtle mind is called a karmic seed. This karmic seed will ripen when the conditions are right and will produce a result and that result is going to be experienced by us. We created that karma.

The result usually is experienced in another life. Most of the results of our karmas -- karmas meaning actions we have done that will produce results sometime in the future -- will be experienced in a future life. In extraordinary circumstances, however, the results of karmas, the results of actions, may be immediate. For karmas to be immediate, for the results of karmas to be experienced in the same life, the karmas need to be extremely powerful. An action as karma must be very powerful, either positively or negatively powerful.

According to yogic teachings, a karma, an action, can produce three types of fruit, or results. In fact, every karma will produce these three types of fruit. The first type of fruit is called birth; in other words, the type of body we are born into. The second type of fruit is the lifespan; how long we are going to live. The third type of fruit creates our life's experiences; it determines what type of life experiences we are going to have. We can have either painful life experiences or pleasurable life experiences or neutral life experiences. . . .Continue

Ashram News


Krishna Jayanti 2011 The ashram gathered late last month for Krishna Jayanti, the birthday of Sri Krishna, celebrated in India and around the world. The ceremonies culminated at midnight on this day when the divine principle of Lord Krishna is most active.

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