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Eight Degrees of Karma


What most people imagine as karma is best called primary karma, which results from a directed action of one being upon another, usually in a negative context. While karmic influences are extremely complex, and the types of karma practically innumerable, it is possible to distinguish various levels or degrees of karma.

Let’s say that individual X was responsible for the violent death of some individual Y, such as by throwing the latter to be devoured by lions in a Roman arena.  In such case individual X must meet the primary karma resulting from those actions in some future experience. This could be accomplished by terminating an earth experience through violent means, such as in an automobile or plane crash, in the battle field, or some similar device. Murder karma may also be offset by giving birth (i.e. life) to an infant, possibly the individual Y in this case. There are many routine means by which primary or first degree karmic energy can be met and discharged.

Secondary karma results from the effects of the primary action (or of meeting primary karma). Let’s say that the shock of being attacked by a lion made such fearful impact on consciousness that it left an imprint on the higher self. When forming a future personality, assume this resulted in the body developing a serious allergy to the cat family, or the personality developing abnormal fears or being haunted by recurring nightmares. Individual X is therefore obliged to meet this karma and suffer similar consequences, which may be called secondary karma.

However, it is not sufficient for individual X to meet this secondary karma, but he or she must also rectify the situation for personality Y, such as by being in a position to help, console, device treatments for, or in other ways alleviate or cure those secondary effects. The two individuals must thus come together again at some point, so that the negative effects caused by one on the other can now be reversed and the energies rebalanced. This is such a common pattern that its manifestations can be easily discerned – such as in an ailing individual being cared for long term by a family member, a distant relative, or even a total stranger. This then is tertiary or 3rd degree karma.

Quaternary or 4th degree karma arises from the fact that no individual is an island, and actions of any one individual carries repercussions on the group, and indeed all of the human lifestream. This is also true of one group’s actions on another group within the human unit. All the three types of inter-soul exchange of karmic energy discussed above apply within the life stream. An example to cite would be the caste system of India which horrendously oppressed its lower castes for a long period of history, in the name of religious truth. Not only did karma descend by being oppressed by the British in turn, riches plundered, and spiritual life of the nation laid to waste, India also have had to meet third order karma partly by instituting laws of restitution to those oppressed, such as through a caste reservation system. Much of the once powerful priestly class of brahmins are reduced to poverty and thus forced to do menial tasks. Quaternary karma however is not just at the level of groups and nations, but applies to all humanity. It is exemplified in the Islamic dictum that if you kill one innocent man, you have killed all of humanity. When any human being falls the whole race carries its responsibility, and must face its consequence, and at some point make amends for it. Quaternary karma also affects those advanced souls of the race that have gone beyond the need of further earth experience. They find obstructions in their own progress into higher realms, and seek continually to lift up the human race in all ways possible – not from selfish motives but purely from compassion.

Fifth degree karma arises from the interaction of the human life stream with other life streams on the planet. In this case each life stream can be considered as an individual unit, and the karmic energy that is exchanged between two units is similar to the primary karma between individual souls. The time scales that apply at this level are vast and involve many eons, as each life stream progresses through various phases of interactions and experience. It is rarely discernible as cause and effect from an individual human perspective. However some examples can be given. The human race is meant to be the gardener on the earth (Eden), to be the care taker of the lower order life streams that inhabit the planet. In return for this positive nurturing, each of the animal, vegetable or mineral lifestreams have their own gifts to offer human beings in return. An example is the herbal medicine system that has been handed down from ancient times, which represents not just medicines for the body, but also for the mind and even the soul! Ever since man started the wanton destruction of animal and plant life on the earth, this knowledge has been progressively lost (a karmic requirement), and some of it replaced by its negative side – such as hallucinogenic uses or purely chemical synthesis of modern drugs from plants, which result in serious side effects.

Sixth and seventh degree karma are similar to the second and third, except that this occurs between life streams. An example of seventh degree karma of making restitution is found in the bovine lifestream (cattle, sheep, and so on), which has offered itself as meat for human beings. Humans with their great appetite for flesh would have slaughtered most of the beautiful animal forms on the earth, if not for this life stream intervening. This is done in part as restitution for its own actions in the eons past, where it caused the destruction of physical forms of the same animal life streams that it protects today. But this does not excuse the human race from the slaughter of this beautiful animal form, and that primary karma is met through debilitating diseases and an earlier death than otherwise required.

The final degree of karmic interaction we can talk about is similar to the quaternary, but where all life streams share karmic responsibility for one another, and thus can be seen as a single unit. What is this single unit that composes all life streams? If the reader steps back and considers the above picture, it may be seen that this is just another definition for God – i.e. God Manifest or Immanent in Creation.

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