Karma | Sadhguru

Summary of: Karma: A Yogi’s Guide to Crafting Your Destiny
By: Sadhguru

The Power of Volition in Karma

The consequences of our actions, thoughts, and volition are interconnected, and our volition can significantly affect our destiny and overall load of negative karma.

Karma isn’t merely about the actions we take, but also about the volition behind those actions. Even if we don’t commit physical violence, harboring negative thoughts and desires can earn us negative karma. Unlike animals, humans have the freedom to choose their thoughts and behaviors, adding to their karmic load each day.

Many of us think of karma beyond our control, leading to either suffering or happiness, but we can create our own destiny through our volition. By becoming conscious of our thoughts, we can adjust our volition and reduce our karmic load. Suffering is a self-manufactured choice, and we can opt not to do so.

For instance, someone with a painful disease may consider their suffering a fate, but they have the power to opt-out of suffering. Therefore, our thoughts and volition significantly affect our destiny and overall burden of negative karma.


In ‘Karma: A Yogi’s Guide to Crafting Your Destiny,’ Sadhguru helps demystify the concept of karma and explains how it lies within our control. Through this book summary, readers will learn the true meaning of karma, how to understand its role in our lives and how to take control of it on the physical, mental, and energetic planes. Sadhguru shows us that by becoming conscious of our thoughts and actions, we can not only influence our present, but also transmute our future experiences. Detailed insights into the facets of karmic memory, the interplay of action and volition, and various techniques to manage our karmic load will be explored in this enlightening summary.

Take Control of Your Life with Your Karma

Many people often associate good or bad karma with external factors, but the truth is that it comes from within. Karma is not a punishment or reward system for past actions, but rather an internal cycle that individuals generate themselves. The way people react to stimuli results in a physical sensation, which reinforces the chemical and mental fluctuations forming one’s personality. This personality then affects the way one sees the world, and the karmic memory operates at multiple levels, including the cellular and genetic. Think of karma as software that runs repetitively, creating a vasana that can attract or repel people and situations. While karma is not in control, individuals can take control of it by recognizing and understanding it, rewriting the software, and reclaiming the driver’s seat of their lives to live with confidence and joy.

The Memory of Karma

In a study, Emory University researchers discovered that a scent, combined with an electric shock, could create a fear passed down through generations of mice. This memory is likened to karma in yogic tradition as karma is also seen as a collection of memories that shapes a person’s being. The eight dimensions of memory recognized in yogic tradition include collective karma and personal volition. These memories are stored in a “warehouse” called sanchita, but each person only has access to a portion called allotted karma. The goal is to unload and erase this karma.

Unloading Your Karma

The yogic belief on karma suggests that unloading ourselves of our karma should be our goal. We have five types of bodies and karma operates primarily on the first three levels. The notion that we are individuals and our efforts to maintain that myth adds to our karmic load. The goal is to unload ourselves of our karma and to empty it. Creating memories should not be avoided, but distancing ourselves from karma is important. It is best to be involved with people and the world around us, but not entangled.

Choosing Karma

Sadhguru shares a story of a yogi who discovers the key to exiting the cycle of rebirth. We can’t choose the karma we’re born with, but we can choose what to do with it. By distancing ourselves from our karma and acting with either total awareness or complete abandon, any action can become an offering and life becomes an expression of happiness.

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