The following is an excerpt from a samvaad (dialogue) session with Acharya Prashant.
Question (Q): Acharya Ji, on being asked, can Karma ever come to an end? Ramana Maharshi says, “Karmas carry the seed of their own destruction in themselves.” Dear Acharya Ji, please help me understand, how Karmas carry the seed of their own destruction?
Acharya Prashant (AP): Karma is action. We do not just act. We act with the intention of obtaining the fruit of the action. So, the actor is there, the actor acts as per his own personal intellect, desires, calculations, projections. And he speculates, calculates that his action will get him a particular result. The result is in his estimation, in his imagination pretty lucrative.
In fact, it is for the sake of that result, that he acts. So far so good but then comes the disappointing part and the disappointing part is — the results are never as anticipated. And never means never. Here, you would probably object, you would say, “but sometimes we do succeed in getting results of our choice.” No, I would still insist. What is it that the actor is actually seeking in the result? The actor is seeking contentment, completion, a finality, a solution in the result.
The actor doesn’t merely act. The actor is a very frustrated entity. The actor acts for the sake of bringing an end to his frustration. So, you must realize that whatsoever is the target result, the actual target is contentment. The action is for the sake of the result and the result is for the sake of contentment. Now, the whole equation can go wrong in two places.
First is — you acted anticipating a particular result and the result in itself didn’t arrive. Since the result didn’t arrive, so you are not contended.
The second probability is — you acted for the sake of a certain result and the result was as per your wish. Yet this fulfillment of the wish couldn’t fulfill you. The wish was fulfilled but you were not. There was no contentment. The actor is left ‘high and dry’. High, because he has obtained the desired result. Dry, because the desired result does not suffice.
So, if the first scenario in which the action failed to fetch the desired result was bad then the second…