Sunday Service: Karma and How to Avoid Having Bad Things Happen to Good People


Week of December 28, 2014 – January 3, 2015

This week we bring you a spiritual talk from our archives. We’ve published or reprinted so many spiritual talks over the years, sometimes it is good to go back and reprint some of the earlier work; this site is too deep to fully explore, so many gems can get lost or overlooked.

It is worth noting that we also have pages devoted to faiths other than Vedanta that highlight spiritual talks we have delivered in the context of those faiths. These pages include Christianity, Buddhism and Islam right now. All of our talks are in the context of Vedantic truth, of course, but these pages help bridge the gap between religions and share truth that otherwise go unnoticed in the Vedanta tradition.

So here you go.

Enjoy, and happy Sunday! Peace be unto you. Peace be unto all.


Yours in service,



This Week’s Spiritual TalkImpression

Karma: How to Avoid Having Bad Things Happen to Good People

 By Bindu Anand

Karma is a word that has truly entered the mainstream today. Some old ideas may still exist, but new meanings have been added as well. So, it will be helpful to revisit the definition.

Karma comes from the root word, “kri,” which means “to do.” Therefore, all action is karma. The result of an action is actually karmaphala (fruit of an action), but today we tend to use the word karma for both the action and the result of the action—which of course causes a bit of confusion. People tend to say, “This is my karma,” meaning the fruit, not the action itself.

From our everyday experience we believe that actions have consequences—that each action has a reaction. We throw a ball on the ground and we expect it to bounce up; we call someone and expect an answer; we work and expect to be paid. We hope that the actions we do will lead us to happiness and that we will attain the things that we work for with our actions.

We also hope that there is justice in this world: that if we do good deeds, it will lead to pleasant results, and if bad deeds are done, there will be punishment or consequences for those acts. These are the very premises that the karma theory is built upon.

When we use the word karma as the result of an action, saying “this is my karma,” when a good or bad thing happens to us, we should be forewarned that karma determines our experience, not our action. Thus if we do something, that is not our karma, but it is done by our own free will. The joy or sorrow that comes our way is karma, which is a result of our previous actions.

To delve into it a little deeper, action can produce two results…


(read more)


videoVedanta Television

American Vedanta on YouTube

Finding lasting happiness. Applying the Bhagavad Gita to daily life. Learning about the history of Vedanta in the U.S. These are some of the topics covered at American Vedanta’s YouTube channel. We curate a list of spiritual videos that will help advance your spirituality and expand your mind. When wanting spiritual videos, give our YouTube channel a look.

We also recommend other resources such as Booksaudio lectures and web sites, among other resources.


Spiritual Fitness

Do You have a Spiritual Routine?

Vedanta, if not practical, has no other relevancy. The key to practical Vedanta is an individualized spiritual routine.

There are six components of a good spiritual routine.

Swan1. Find a Community. If you have an existing church, temple or mosque, attend regularly. If not, join our Facebook group and see our list of recommended spiritual organizations.

2. Seek Guidance. Find a mentor within your existing spiritual community or contact us for a referral.

3. Attend Spiritual Services Regularly. If you don’t live near an appropriate spiritual community, we offer a weekly spiritual talk delivered by email, Facebook and Twitter. We also host a regular Vedanta Dinner for those who live in the New York City area.

4. Incorporate Individual Study. We keep a list of books and resources for your individual study needs.

5. Take Responsibility for Your Spiritual Life. Read our talk about listening to your own inner compass and contact us when you have a question that your spiritual community isn’t answering adequately.

6. Leverage Rituals Thoughtfully. As an example, read our essay about the power of saying grace.

Our longer talk about spiritual routine can be found here.

Happy Sunday! Peace be unto you. Peace be unto all.

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