Hindu scriptures talk about three kinds of karma, Past Perfect, Past and Future, called sanchita, prarabda and agamya.

When we enter this world, our inner energy downloads a part of our Past Perfect or sanchita karma from an earlier birth as part of our prarabda karma in the new life time. This is the last desire mind set with which the inner energy left its previous mind body.

This newly downloaded Past, or Prarabda, karma defines our new life. It becomes our purpose in that life time. If all that we do in the new life time is in line with the prarabda one entered this life with, we accumulate no more karma.

So simple.

But wait, that’s not what we do. We get distracted. Others lead us astray. We commit ourselves to other pursuits. In this process, we acquire more karma, called agamya or future karma. Instead of reducing our Past karma load, we increase it. We leave this world with a larger karmic load.

This is the sad story of human life.

Hindu scriptures say that when our karmic load is zero, we take no more births. This  no future birth state is the state of nirvana or moksha, as defined by Hindu and Buddhist traditions. This is the goal of all spiritual seekers.

All you have to do is keep following the path of your Past karma, the prarabda, to keep reducing your karmic load. Eventually it will become zero. It is much like paying back a bank loan. Past perfect karma is the loan your father and grandfather took, Past karma is your life time  repayment installment and Future karma is the increasing interest burden when you do not pay back in time.

People with credit card debt will appreciate this example.

Why can’t we just follow our prarabda, the Past karma which we came into this life with?  It’s a no brainer, after all.We can pay back all our debt and become part of the cosmic energy field.

Not so simple.

The problem is that no one tells us what our prarabda karma load is. We don’t remember what we came into this life for.  What a dirty trick nature has played on us?

This is not a problem with non-human species. They respect and follow nature. Their prarabda always gets worked out. We, the supreme humans, think and therefore, we are free to add to Past karma.

How do we get to know what our Past or Prarabda karma is? This is probably, in spiritual terms, the most important question in one’s life.