How to clear your Karmic Debt and set your soul free

Clearing of Karmic Debt is the freeing of the soul from all its earthly bondages, so that it may soar and merge with the infinite Divine. So long as there is a karmic debt owed by you or owed to you, you are subject to the law of Karma – the law of action and consequence. Every action carries within it the seed of consequence(s).  Where you are in life now is the cumulative effect of all your Karmas. While it may appear that one cannot escape the laws of Karma, it is still possible to transcend this seemingly never-ending cycle.

What is Karmic Debt

Karmic Debt is the unrealized Karma, both “good” and “bad,” that you owe to others or that others owe to you.

Runanubandha means relation based on Karmic Debt. Runa means (karmic) debt and Anubandha means relation. Sometimes life presents you with situations and relationships with others which can only be explained as a quirk of fate, or the unfolding of Runanubandha.

Present relationships in your life may be a continuation of relationships between souls in other lifetimes. If you owe someone something, the law of karma ensures that the debt is paid off. It also ensures that others pay what they owe to you. This deficit is called Karmic Debt.  Its repayment may happen in this lifetime or other lifetimes.

Karmic debt occurs in various forms. Sometimes it is financial; sometimes it is based on love, other times on anger or revenge, on helping someone, on deceiving someone. In other words, karmic debt encompasses the whole spectrum of human interactions.

Karmic Debt, Reincarnation and Moksha

Just as an accountant opens his books every new year, and carries forward the assets and liabilities of the past year, similarly a soul upon taking birth in this earth plane carries with them the karmas of the past. Karma is recorded as impressions or vasanas on the soul.

So long as there is outstanding Karma, a soul continues to return to the earth plane to reincarnate in a suitable body. One’s soul is not merely subjected to the external forces or laws of karma, it is an active participant, often choosing their life, family, and circumstances with the intention of resolving their karmas and learning profound lessons on a soul-level. It is the intent of the Universe and the soul, in tandem, to experience and exhaust its karmas during its lifetime in the body. But most often, once in the material and physical world, our earth-plane consciousness forgets our soul’s intent. Consequently, the choices made in our physical bodies create more karmas – persisting the never-ending cycle of birth, death, and rebirth.

Why should one clear Karmic Debt

An essential condition for attaining Moksha or Liberation is that the Karmic Debt be neutralized. There should not be any karmic debt that you owe to others, or that others owe to you.

We may think that “good” karma helps us get closer our ultimate purpose in life. However, from the perspective of attaining Moksha, both good karma and bad karma continue the cycles of life, death, and rebirth.

This concept may sound counter-intuitive. To understand it, we need to appreciate the concept of Moksha. Amongst other things, Moksha or liberation of the soul is a state where one’s Karma is zero. When the Karma comes to an entirely neutral state, with neither good karma nor bad karma outstanding, then the person is said to have obtained Moksha.

Think of Karma as chaining a soul to an earthly body and preventing it from merging with the supreme consciousness to the fullest possible extent. Where bad Karma is akin to iron chains, good Karma is like a golden chain. Regardless of the nature of the binding, your soul is still bound. Good karma may bring happiness and comforts, and bad karma may bring about suffering. But you are in chains either way.

How to clear Karmic Debt

There are three types of Karmas — Sanchita Karma, Prarabdha Karma, and Agami Karma.

Prarabdha Karma is that karma that has already been set in motion, it is ripe and ready to be experienced. Experiencing this karma is inevitable, whether it is good or bad. One cannot choose whether to experience it or not and one does not have the power to defer experiencing it. There is no way around it. Prarabdha Karma is a subset of Sanchita Karma.

If we do not have any control over Prarabdha Karma, does that mean that we should resign to it, and are powerless and that we have no control over it? No! While it is true that we have no control over whether we experience Prarabdha Karma or not, what we do have control over is how we handle and respond to it. It is possible to stand apart from the karma, while still experiencing it. In creating this distance between the experience and identification with the experience, you reach a state of equanimity. In such a state, you can handle both success and failure with the same steady state of mind and not be affected by the outcome. Accepting both positive and negative karma with the same attitude leads to closure of that particular debt. Deal with both with equanimity and take full responsibility for what is happening in your life.

Sanchita Karma is the sum total of all the past karmas. Most likely, it will not be fully experienced in this lifetime of the soul, because of the time, space and physical constraints of human birth. This karma is to be experienced in another incarnation of the soul. However, it is possible for you to gain complete control over Sanchita Karma, and to exhaust it fully, right here, in this lifetime. One can achieve this by doing deep Sadhana, such as various Yogic practices, with devotion in the heart and through the Grace of the Divine Masters. Meditation and Sadhanas erase the karmic impressions on the soul and can nullify the effects of Sanchita Karma.

Agami karma is the karma which we create in this current lifetime. As new karma is created, some of it becomes Sanchita Karma, and some of it becomes Prarabdha Karma. The subset of the newly created karma may be experienced in this lifetime as Prarabdha karma or, alternatively, karma which cannot be experienced in the present may be added to the Sanchita Karma account to be experienced in another lifetime.

The question is, how can we control and prevent Agami karma.

While we are alive, it is essential to perform actions; there is no way around it. And actions do have consequences. Generally, the person doing the action, the doer, accrues the karma of his or her action. But if you perform every action with the intention and disciplined mindset that you are not the doer, and instead the Supreme Universal Consciousness (or God) is the doer, and if you offer the action and the consequence to the Divine or your Higher Self, you do not acquire that Karma. This is the way to be in God-consciousness at all times, despite being in the midst of worldly action.

The Bhagavadgita explains this very clearly. It says that if you detach yourself from the results of your actions, when you do not consider yourself as the doer and instead treat yourself as the instrument of the Supreme Divine which is acting through you, when you have that consciousness in everything that you do, then you are untouched by the karma that is created.

Is our fate pre-determined, if everything is by the law of karma?

Everything in your life is following the law of karma. Every action of the past has already created a result in the form of karma, and it is unfolding in your life right now.

If the result or consequence has already been pre-determined by the causes, does that mean that your life is pre-determined? Is there a role for self-effort or personal will? If it is pre-determined, and if experiencing karma is inevitable, then why do anything? If it is karma that shapes our lives, why even bother with self-effort?

While it is true that Prarabdha Karma has already been set in motion, and there is no escape from experiencing it, self-effort and individual will play a crucial role in shaping our lives.

Cause and effect are two sides of the same coin. If we look linearly, it is easy to understand that the past has resulted in the present and that the present will shape the future.

But when we pierce through the dimensions of space and time, in a paradigm where there is no past, present, and future, where all there is in the now, we can, with equal comfort say this:

The present has shaped the past. The future will shape the present. Envisioning the future and acting in accordance will shape the present.

It is only through awareness, self-effort, and surrendering our actions to the Divine with personal detachment from the results that we can deal with all the three kinds of karma in the most appropriate manner. We can be better prepared to deal with the inevitable karma we are experiencing and are yet to experience. By self-effort, we can create a distance between the experience and the one experiencing, which will reduce its impact. With self-effort and discipline, we can stop creating further karmas. And it is with self-effort of deep Yogic Sadhana practices that we can erase Sanchita Karma.

22 thoughts on “How to clear your Karmic Debt and set your soul free”

  1. These explanations are so goo: very clear and useful. One question though:

    In worldly life, there are so many instances when we face decisions or even dilemmas with uncertainty on how to proceed. I understand that will and effort are important, but they only get applied by a person after she has determined how to direct her will (made a choice on which course of action to take). It is here, the decision-making, where I am wondering how to proceed. I understand some teachers to say to surrender to and pursue what life (karma) presents you, and others say to make a firm resolution on what you seek and then pursue that with fierce resoluteness.

    • Hi Steve, thanks for your comments. Karma and taking willful action to change things in our lives go hand-in-hand. What we experience at any time is a result of karma (or consequences of our past thoughts and actions). How we *respond* to that is very much in our hands, and determines our future. So yes, we need to surrender to what life or karma presents us, but can respond to it in a thoughtful and mindful manner. We certainly are not victims of fate and do not have to resign to karma. Hope this is helpful.

  2. hi

    My name is Jacques and I found it very interesting and helpful what you have said about Karma (s).
    I am fairly new to all this , spirits guides, karma, last life , spiritual life compared to earth life etc…

    I just recently went to see a spiritual healer , twice now actually, and I have learned so much about many things . Very emotional sessions i most say for me . But it seems I was called to do this at 57 years old and I keep thinking or maybe its my spirit guide telling me this… i believe its my last life …
    My healer says that she never heard someone tell her that in a session and she said that i am on my last life, also she said i need to prepare my karma debts. This is where i am , searching online what this means and i found your webpage …. i surrender to this totally but I have no knowledge yet on what to do …

    reading your document helped me a little ,,, thank you gracefully

    • Hi Jacques, Our lives are a continuous process of searching and discovering and evolving. Often, we are unaware of the emotional wounds we carry or do not pay enough attention to them. When we come into awareness about the role that karma is playing in our lives, we are already on a journey to lighten it. Thank you for your comments and best wishes on your life journey.

      • I have a question about karma and debt I have these psychics that did that free reading and a few said I have this grand karma but it was taken from me at birth and exchanged for karmic debt is that even possible
        Thanks kristin

        • Hi Kristin, one’s karma is their own. There is no alternative to experiencing the Prarabdha Karma. One does not have a choice or control of whether or not they want to experience it. What one has control and choice over is how they can deal with the karma as mentioned in the article. Some people claim that they can change or reduce one’s karmic debt, but it just an avenue for them to make some money. Best wishes.

  3. to me it feels like im closing in for the end i dont know how long it still will take ofcourse but because in this life im at a very young age (it feels like im aware seeking my inner self) and it feels like the universe make me feel like im getting everytime i reincarnate ill be a bit younger to discover this way of life cause i was raised as a christian but dident feel anything then i tried lucifer and out of the sudden i found videos that opend my eyes like this is it you know. this just feel right it for me it got my full attention.

    my guestion is it possible the universe will come to you if your were busy with it in your past life’s it knows what jou really want? and that the universe will Guide you and lead you to it?

    greets from Robin Kuitert

    • Hi Robert, thanks for your comment. Happy to note that you are in touch with your inner self. The universe always creates circumstances and brings people into your life to realize your life and soul purposes. In awareness, one can accelerate their soul evolution by becoming one with their higher Self. Best wishes on your spiritual journey.

  4. Hello Thankyou for this blog. Came at a perfect time for me.
    I have read that doing Jal Neti for 21 days clear your past karma. Is it true?
    Thankyou

    • Hi Ana, thanks for your comment. Jal Neti is an important kriya in Hatha Yoga and helps in cleaning the nasal canals. I have a difficult time believing that it clears past karmas. All Yogic practices including meditation and Pranayama help people take an inward journey and resolve their karmas.

  5. Dear Amalananda,

    Thank you for the well-written, informative article. I have a question I can’t seem to find the answer to on the internet, and that is: Is it true that when one begins his journey towards Moksha, that a higher frequency of “bad” things will begin to happen to him? Does it accelerate the repayment of karma?

    David

    • Thank you, David, for your comment. You have asked a very good question. Perhaps I should do a separate post on this topic. But briefly, yes, as one walks on the path for realizing the Self, a lot of events and changes happen at a higher frequency. And many of those things may be experienced as “bad” or unsavory. These events would not have occurred if one led a “normal” life. The reason all these events come into being is because there are past karmic debts that need to be addressed. And the reason some of the experiences are perceived to be “bad” can be explained by an analogy. When there is a tumor deep inside and a surgery is required to remove it, the process is messy, blood and cutting and all. Similarly, the negative impressions and karmas in one’s subconscious mind on their way out of the system create a bad taste. When we accept this and prepare ourselves for it, the path to realizing the Self is a bit smoother. Best wishes on your spiritual journey!

  6. Very fascinating blog. I would like to ask ( in the same line as the previous question): isn’t it possible, when a person is progressing and acting, well, not like a saint but in a very selfless and generous way towards the others (for example giving a lot of money to help others etc.), and at the same time raising their spiritual level, isn’t it possible that their (bad) karma “dissolves” or that their acts diminish the strength of their bad karma and make it much lighter? Thank you very much!

    • Hi Christine, Karma by itself is indifferent. It does not distinguish between good and bad. It is indifferent toward the doer, whether the doer is good or evil, whether what they are doing is right or wrong. Just as we cannot escape the consequences of bad actions, we cannot escape the rewards of good actions. The law of karma is an impersonal thing.

      While the experiences, good or bad, are inevitable from past karmas, the actions that we engage in are not, and it is our actions that determine our future experience. Doing generous selfless acts by itself would generate good future experiences. Karma which has already been set in motion, whether good or bad, has to be experienced. But as one learns to react with equanimity, the impact of (bad)karma can be reduced. Deep spiritual Sadhana (practices) take one closer to their higher Self, and at that stage, all karmas get dissolved. In that realm, the law of karma no longer holds good, just as the law of gravity does not hold good in space.

  7. Hi I came off a site which said I could pay £69.00 so my karmic debt could be paid off. The general terms and conditions of the service say it is for entertainment purposes but the e-mails I have been receiving are quite close to home. I don’t want to pay the 69 pounds I just need to know if this Padre website is a scam and that no one up there in heaven especially my guardian angel would ask for payment from my own account as I’ve read my payment would go to Hong Kong which is where the company who supply this service are located. Any help in clearing this up would be appreciated thank you.

    • Hi Scott, anyone who claims that they can get rid of your karma and especially for an amount of money is there for making a quick buck. You, and only you, can experience and deal with your karma. Others may give guidance to help you deal with it more effectively but no one can take it away from you.

  8. Hello Amalananda,
    I read your blog and found it really informative – thank you for sharing your knowledge.
    I’d really appreciate some guidance on the below please …
    I am currently going through a really tough time health wise and decided to consult a spirit guide. She provided a lot of comforting advice, but one bit of her statement stood out and has really confused me. She mentioned that my suffering is part of my role of clearing the karmic debt of my ancestors and that this was a very sacred and honoured position to fulfil.
    Is that possible? Can one person carry the debt of others? I’d really appreciate any guidance you could provide. Thank you

    • Hi Suzanne,

      Fate and external circumstances seem to play a significant role in a person’s life. For example, a person may be born into a wealthy family with plenty of opportunities while another may be born into poverty. One may be born healthy, and another may be born with ill health. One may be born in a region that offers freedom and opportunities while another may be born in a place where individual liberty is not allowed and there is little scope for personal growth. All these situations have a significant bearing on the course of a person’s life. You may be wondering how an individual can be solely responsible for their karma when so many factors are at play. But everything external to an individual, whether people or events or circumstances, is there because the soul has chosen it, believing it to be most conducive for getting the needed experiences to progress on the path of soul evolution.

      Just as there is individual karma, there is collective karma. We each are part of a family, a community, a region, and so on. A person experiences the karma that befalls the groups they are part of, and that is part of the soul’s evolution.

      So, while you are affected by your family/ancestor’s karma, you do not carry the debt of others. That said, it is possible that one’s ancestors souls may not be at peace and that could affect the person. One way to address this is to remember the tree of ancestors every day and offer prayers for them.

  9. The aim of balancing:

    (1) “I must take responsibility for optimally choosing the decisions and actions that I will now take”

    with:

    (2) “I am not the chooser/doer of my actions”

    seems a tricky one to negotiate.

    • Hi Steven, I understand the possible source of confusion. The first statement is entirely true. The second statement is better put as “I am not the doer of my actions”. This way the two statements are not contradictory. By saying “I am not the doer” and by dedicating your actions to your higher Self or Divine, you are detaching yourself from the results of your actions. Plus, you do not accrue the karma for your actions.

      If you think about it, only action is in your hands, results are not. The results are usually in kind with the actions, but not always. You perform action with an intent and outcome in mind, but the shape of the results is not under your control. It is the universe which determines the results, based on its equilibrium of things.

      And as one surrenders more to their higher Self or Divine, they come to realize that even what they need to do is chosen for them, if we are in tune with it completely.

  10. Hello Amananda,

    I have been reading the blog and felt good to read the answers given by you with utmost clarity.

    I got to realise about self realisation and spiritual journey 2 years back and have been on this since then. I have been practicing some kriya, yoga offered by Sadhguru and reqding books on practicing to be in awareness by Eckart Tolle. I feel some time very good and in touch with the divine source within me to some extent and many times it happens that I get into depression due to overwhelming external situations and confusion how to proceed on my spiritual path and progress towards self realisation.

    My question is can you guide on the way out from this confusion and a clear path that needs to be followed towards spiritual progress which can go in tune with daily living and work.

    Regards,
    Jigar

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