Karma, Epigenetics, and Darshan

Mother and Daughter
July 15, 2020

Shambhavi riffs on the nature of karma, how karma is related to epigenetics, and the difference between embodying View (darshan) and having intellectual understanding. A podcast from Satsang with Shambhavi

Podcast First Words

So the word karma means action, or activity. But it specifically means bound activity. So that means activity that repeats itself in time. We experience that as compulsion, habit, or just the repeating patterns of our body, energy, and mind such as our emotions and our thoughts. Sometimes we think of these as troublesome, other times we don’t. It depends on what culture we grow up in, what we’re being told is okay, and what we’re being told is not okay.

So karma specifically means bound activity. Basically we can think of it as patterns made up of awareness and energy that have momentum in time. They’re an aspect of our experience of linear time. Things repeat and have duration, and they literally have momentum. That’s why it’s hard to stop patterns. If they had no forward moving force, no momentum, then we’d just go, “Okay I’ll stop doing that. No problem.”

But it turns out it’s a lot harder than that. That’s one of the reasons why we do sadhana or spiritual practice every day. It’s because we’re creating a new pattern or samskara that creates new momentum. Eventually the other patterns peter out. They loose energy because we don’t put energy into them anymore.

The other word that’s important is kriya. Kriya means unbound, spontaneous, or improvised activity. So we’re trying through the force of our sadhana to move from karma to kriya. We’re trying to move from bound, patterned, compulsive activity to spontaneous, unconditioned activity. Activity that’s just freely responsive to whatever is happening and isn’t conditioned by patterns of body, energy, and mind.


Satsang with Shambhavi is a weekly podcast about spirituality, love, death, devotion and waking up while living in a messy world.