Choice and Karma

  • Title: Contemplations, Choice and Karma.
  • Author: Arvindus.
  • Publisher: Arvindus.
  • Copyright: Arvindus, 2016, all rights reserved.
  • Index: 201607111.
  • Edition: html, first edition.


In several earlier contemplations choice (or self-determination) was given the same place in relation with destiny (or fate) and accidence as consciousness in relation with spirit and matter.1, 2, 3 As consciousness relates spirit and matter to each other, so does choice relate fate and accidence to each other. Now as the threefold of spirit, consciousness and matter (or monad, soul and personality) is reflected in the soul as a threefold, namely as spiritual will (ātma), intuition (buddhi) and abstract mind (buddhi-manas),4 so regards choice also a threefold, namely that of purpose, beloving and direction.5 And in choice's function of the relator of fate and accidence, purpose is directly underlying fate and direction directly overlying accidence. As such choice can also be understood as a duality of purpose and direction with finding in beloving its balancing essence. This is not a strange thought since all principle triplicities consist of a principle duality which is related through a third given.6

Let us move forward through our understanding of choice as a duality. As such we understand choice as consisting of direction and purpose. Now of these purpose is positively charged in relation to direction, and direction negatively in relation to purpose, for in their relation purpose is the spiritual pole and direction the material pole.7 That purpose is positive towards direction and direction negative towards purpose means that purpose leads direction and that direction is led by purpose. It can also be said that in their dual relation purpose is the cause of direction and direction the effect of purpose.

So far choice has been considered only in its subjective part. However it also has an objective part. The processing of choice before a directed action is taken takes place in the subjective world inside, but a choice is not complete without effecting through action the objective world outside. Here we see the duality of spirit and matter and of purpose and direction again reflected in the cause of the subjective part of choice and the effect of the objective part of choice. Action here is the reflection of consciousness and of beloving. For it is action that relates the inner cause of choice to the outer effect of choice.

Now this threefold where an inner cause is related to an outer effect through action is in the East, and increasingly in the West, known as 'karma'.8 In our subjective world we process the direction of our choice, this directs our action, and our action bears fruit in the objective world in certain results. These results stay not objective in the outside world but relate back to our inner world through experience. The nature of this experience corresponds to the nature of our action. Good actions lead to pleasure and bad actions lead to pain.9 And now the result of the outside world has become the cause effecting the processing of pleasure or pain in the inside world. This is a process leading to more consciousness in choice making. The whole of this process from the inner processing of choice towards action, effecting results that lead to experiences that again are inwardly processed, has earlier been thematised in 'The Spiral of Realization'.10 There it was explained how inner realization leads through concretization to outer realization, which leads through abstraction again to an altered inner realization, and so forth. Let us tabulate all of the above for a clear overview.

← 1. Inner realization
↓ 2. Cause ↓ 2.1. Subjective ↓ 2.1.1. Purpose ↓ 2' Con-cretization ↑ 4' Ab-straction ↑ 4.3.3. Significance ↑ 4.3. Subjective ↑ 4. Effect
↓ 2.1.2. Beloving ↑ 4.3.2. Valuation
↓ 2.1.3. Direction ↑ 4.3.1. Directedness
↓ 2.2. Action ↑ 4.2. Experience
↓ 2.3. Objective ↓ 2.3.1. Impulse ↑ 4.1.3. Impact (Result) ↑ 4.1. Objective
↓ 2.3.2. Process ↑ 4.1.2. Process
↓ 2.3.3. Result (Expact) ↑ 4.1.1. Expulse
3. Outer realization →

Figure 1.

The above figure can be read by following the numbering. Our point of departure in the figure is the inner realization (1). This inner realization is followed by a cause (2) which consists of a subjective cause (2.1), an action (2.2) and an objective cause (2.3). The subjective cause consists of a purpose (2.1.1) leading to a beloving (2.1.2), leading to a direction (2.1.3), which then leads to the action that relates the subjective to the objective cause. This action leads in the objective world to an impulse (2.3.1), leading to a process (2.3.2), leading to a result or an expact (2.3.3), leading to an outer realization (3). The whole of the cause is the same as the concretization (2').

The outer realization is followed by an effect (4) consisting of an objective effect (4.1), an experience (4.2) and a subjective effect (4.3). The objective effect consists of an expulse (4.1.1), leading to a process (4.1.2), leading to an impact or a result (4.1.3), which then leads to the experience that relates the objective to the subjective result. This experience leads in the subjective world to a directedness (4.3.1), leading to a valuation (4.3.2), leading to a significance (4.3.3), leading to an inner realization. The whole of the effect is the same as the abstraction (4').

Now generally choice is defined as consisting of 1 to 2.1 (or 2.2), regarding the inner choice, or as consisting of 2.3 (or 2.2) to 3, regarding the outer choice.11, 12, 13 Thus choice is generally considered as the cause relating an inner realization to an outer realization. A choice is however not just made to realize something in the outer world, a choice is also made to experience the effect of what has been realized in the outer world. When we choose for instance an ice-cream with a strawberry flavour we do this because we want to experience strawberry flavour, not just because we want a strawberry ice-cream to be realized in the outer world. A choice in its wider conception then does not only consist of a cause relating an inner realization to an outer realization but also of an outer realization relating back to an inner realization. Choice in its wider conception encompasses 1 to 4.

This then brings choice under the same definition as karma, which is generally understood as the result following a cause in relation to an individual,14 thus encompassing also 1 to 4. This is definitely right, however it must be mentioned that in more general and superficial conceptions of karma somewhat erroneously only 2.2 (action) to 4.2 (experience) are considered.

Relations to other Contemplations

To some the question may rise why the whole ninefold of 'Accidence, Choice and Destiny as a Ninefold' is not depicted in the tabulation. This ninefold consists of being, belonging, destiny, purpose, beloving, direction, particularization, tendency and movement. The answer to that question is that we are considering in this contemplation only choice. The first three of the ninefold regard fate, the last three regard accidence, and only the middle three regard choice. So for this contemplation it was not needed to include the whole ninefold. At the same time it will add to our understanding of the larger picture when it is made clear that the whole ninefold comprises only the subjective world of 2.1.

Where thus the ninefold of 'Accidence, Choice and Destiny as a Ninefold' was left out of figure 1 there the fourfold spiral of realization of the contemplation 'The Spiral of Realization' was included. This was done to show that choice is not only subjective and causal in nature but that it also has an objective and effectual nature. For the concretization of the aforementioned spiral encompasses both the subjective and objective cause of choice, and its abstraction encompasses both the objective and subjective effect of choice. A secondary motive to include the spiral of realization was to show that although approaches may be different in the diverse contemplations they are nevertheless compatible.

Considering choice as above we came to bring it under the same definition as that of karma. Choice and karma, when both considered in their wider perspective, so we may conclude here, are one and the same.

  1. 'Contemplations, Accidence, Self-Determination and Destiny', Index: 201306221.
  2. 'Contemplations, Destiny, Choice and Accidence Contextualized in the Ageless Wisdom', Index: 201309091.
  3. 'Contemplations, Accidence, Choice and Destiny as a Ninefold', Index: 201510162.
  4. 'Ageless Wisdom, Triplicities in Man', Index: 201308292.
  5. Note 3.
  6. 'Contemplations, Politics, Law and Economics as Exoteric Reflections', Index: 201409011.
  7. Alice A. Bailey, A Treatise on White Magic, in: Twenty-Four Books of Esoteric Philosophy, (CD-ROM, Release 3), Lucis Trust, London / New York, 2001, p. 8. "This duality which is seen when objectivity is present and which disappears when the form aspect vanishes is covered by many terms, of which for the sake of clarity, the most usual might be here listed:
    Spirit Matter
    Life Form
    Father Mother
    Positive Negative
    Darkness Light"
  8. Alice A. Bailey, Letters on Occult Meditation, in: Twenty-Four Books of Esoteric Philosophy, (CD-ROM, Release 3), Lucis Trust, London / New York, 2001, p. 354. "Karma. Physical action. Metaphysically, the law of retribution; the law of cause and effect, or ethical causation.
  9. 'Contemplations, An Interpretation of the Bhagavadgītā, Chapter IV, Śloka 18', Index: 201407251.
  10. 'Contemplations, The Spiral of Realization', Index: 201109261.
  11. Oxford English Dictionary, Second Edition on CD-ROM (v. 4.0), Oxford University Press, 2009, choice, n., 1.a. "The act of choosing; preferential determination between things proposed; selection, election."
  12. Ibidem, 2.a. "The power, right, or faculty of choosing; option."
  13. Ibidem, 5.a. "The person or thing chosen or selected."
  14. Ibidem, karma. "[…]; hence, necessary fate or destiny, following as effect from cause."