--> Skip to main content

Karmasya – Storehouse Of Past And Present Karma

Asya means a reservoir or resting place. In Hindu tradition, the mind is considered to be the reservoir of which all the deeds (karma) of the past and present are stored in the form of traces (samskaras). The storehouse of the innumerable traces of past and present karma is called karmasya. Deeds are of three types – good, bad, and mixed. This distinction is preserved in their traces also. Each act of karma, good, bad, or mixed, leaves an impression of pleasurable, painful, or mixed feelings in the mind, according to the particular act of karma. There is no escape from experiencing the fruits of karma. This is called the binding effect of karma.

The source of karma is the five kleshas or afflictions of the mind – ignorance, ego-feeling, likes and dislikes, and fear of death (or desire for life). These afflictions are themselves without origin or beginning. They cause various karmas.

The fruits of the karmas are called karma vipaka. According to yoga sutra (II.12-14), the fruit or results of karma manifest in the form of taking a particular birth according to a particular species, and govern the length of life and the experiences of pleasure and pain within it.

Liberation from these effects is attained only by the removal of the kleshas and the karmasaya. Such attainment requires complete purification of the mind by following the eightfold discipline of Yoga. Dhyana and samadhi are the most useful practices for achieving this. Annihilation of karmasya, the reservoir of the impression of past and present actions, is thus the key to liberation. It involves stopping the accumulation of new traces, as well as washing away the already accumulated traces. The process continues birth after birth, until liberation is achieved.