HOW BAD KARMA CAN BE CHANGED TO GOOD KARMA? We are born as human beings after passing thru 8.

4 millions of different forms. At times we were born as animals, fish, worms and trees etc. Of all the forms the soul can wear, the human form is the most highly praised in Gurbani and we are most fortunate to get human form, which even gods would dearly love to gain. In human form, a man not only enjoys or suffers due to good or bad karma in previous lives, but he is also free to choose his present line of actions by which he can direct his future life. Only in human life the individual soul can realize its true self. Only in human life it can lose its seemingly separate identity and become completely immersed in the Creator. Therefore, obtaining a human birth is the greatest fortune of the soul because here alone is self-realization, or God realization, possible. At times, especially during those of pain and hardships, we question the reason behind our suffering. It is during these times that doubt enters our minds. However, we should not blame our wrongdoings in this life. Instead, we should consider previous mishaps done in lifetimes before our current ones. Guru Sahib mentions in Gurbani that we can wash away our past bad karma in this human life through doing good deeds. To use an analogy, imagine we are served with food and the plate is right before us. The food will not automatically enter our mouth and instead, we have to take the initiative to get hold of the food and put it into our mouth. In this same way, we will have to chew the food to ensure we reap the benefits of the nutrients within it. Similarly, we are given this human life form after going through 8.4 million species. If we go on blaming our past karma and do nothing to eradicate bad deeds, then we lose our chance to change bad karma into good karma. God helps those who help themselves. So we should not sit around expecting good karma to happen; but we must take measures to think about the guidelines provided to us by our Guru Sahibaan. God will not guide our footsteps if we do not move our feet. When we are in need of a job, we ask the Lord to help us find a job. Then we become active and actually begin looking for a job. While it is in His power to do so, it is highly unlikely that God will cause employers to come looking for us. Sri Guru Arjan Dev Ji (Ang 815) Try to meditate, and contemplate the source of peace, and bliss will come to you. Sri Guru Amardaas Ji says: (Ang 28) O mind, become Gurmukh, and meditate on the Naam. Sri Guru Arjan Dev Ji says: (Ang 270) O mind, why are you so lazy? Why don't you remember Him in meditation?

If a person commits a murder or any other serious crime and is sentenced to death by the lower courts, then he is given the option to appeal to the president of the country to reexamine his case. The president has the authority to reduce his sentence or pardon him altogether. Similarly, Guru Sahib can pardon all our sins, if we sincerely and with a pure heart surrender before him and promise not to repeat the same sins again. Guru Sahib has the power to wash away our sins from millions of incarnations. So, we should never think pessimistically that we must be forever punished for our past karma. There is a way to repent for previous wrongdoings and begin once more, with a clean slate. Sri Guru Arjan Dev Ji says: (Ang 274) The Name of the Lord washes off millions of sins. We have transmigrated through 8.4 millions of species, but we were unable to do Naam Simran in any of them. We now find ourselves in the body of a human being. It is in this life form that we have been given the chance to break out of the circle of life and death. If we do not do Naam Simran, then we throw away our precious life like a pebble. With heartfelt divine love and devotion, coupled with sincere ardas (prayer); any sin and its consequences can be forgiven. We should feel the remorse for our actions and Guru Sahib can forgive us for the karma that we accumulated and we start a new journey to reach our final destination (heaven). But if we do not do Naam Simran and continue partaking in bad deeds, then we can be sure that our 8.4 million incarnations will begin once more. As mentioned above, we are all given the wisdom to pray before Guru Sahib, as he is the ultimate authority and forgives at once without a second thought and zero delay. The only pause is from our side, as we do not surrender before him with a pure heart. Sri Guru Arjan Dev Ji says: (Ang 622) The sins of millions of incarnations are washed away, by focusing your consciousness on the Lord's feet. Due to negative karma performed by us in previous lives, we suffer in our present life. To get rid of the strong clutches of negative karma, we have to indulge in positive actions all the time in this life. By doing good karma all the time, we can negate the bad effects of negative karma and finally accumulate good karma. We should apologize for what we did and perform the necessary reactions to counter the stigma of our misdeeds. In this way our bad karma is neutralized, or even influenced in a positive direction. We should be determined not to commit the same mistakes to avoid bad karma. In order to adjust this imbalance of Karma and to find happiness, the individual must participate in positive behavior throughout his lifetime. We could call it a form of repentance for distanced actions.

The human body is not something that you can buy for cash. It is a rare possession, and you should use it well. Those who have human bodies should meditate on God. The scriptures say that this whole creation was made so that we might know God. Man only becomes tangled in the universe, and suffers, when he does not use his brain. Beyond the activities humans and animals have in common (eating, sleeping, mating, and defending), human beings have a fifth faculty: the intelligence. We should inquire into the truth of our existence and ask: a. b. c. d. e. Who am I? Why am I here? What is the purpose of my existence? Why am I suffering? How can I liberate myself from this suffering condition?

It is this extraordinarily valuable ability to be introspective—to question the meaning and purpose of our existence and endeavor to find a solution to human suffering—that sets humans apart from animals. If we don’t use the human form of life to seek answers to these all-important questions— if we simply remain preoccupied with eating, sleeping, mating, and defending—then we waste the opportunity inherent in the human form to realize our true identity and purpose and achieve genuine spiritual happiness. The distinction between human life and animal life is that a man can search after God but an animal cannot. That is the difference. Therefore a man without that urge for searching after God is no better than an animal; and Guru Sahib says that animals are better than such a person. Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji says: (Ang 489) Even beasts have value, as they eat grass and give milk. Without the Naam, the mortal's life is cursed, as are the actions he performs. Again, Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji states once more that a person who cannot find the difference between sin and virtue is useless: One who does not know the difference between vice and virtue wanders around uselessly. (Ang 1329) Sri Guru Arjan Dev Ji warns us (Ang 43) O mortal, you came here to earn a profit. What useless activities are you attached to? Your life-night is coming to its end. Guru Sahib says that only escape from the cycle of death and rebirth is through good deeds and being an absolute good human being; one that always remembers and meditates on the name of God. Our soul after being separated from God has become impure. Thus, we have to make it pure enough through meditation so that God allows us to merge us back with him when our time comes.

We should try to surround ourselves with positive messages, quotes, and sayings while avoiding negative people. These are individuals who are pessimistic, speak critically of others, do not offer encouragement to others, bully or hurt people intentionally, participate in illegal or harmful activities, or who blame other people for their own failures. They will only make us feel bad and attract negative energy to surround us. We should always try to surround ourselves with positive encouraging people. These individuals will help us to feel, and to act more positively (Chardi Kala) and thus to attract good Karma into our lives. The nature of a man is changed from a heron's nature to a swan's nature by attending satsang. The world is made up of matter and spirit, virtues and vices. But saints, similar to the swan, retain the essence, the milk, and reject the useless objects which lead to deterioration. There is happiness and miseries, virtues and sins, high and low in this world, but saints take virtues only. Even if one listens to satsang by mistake, he will get a great benefit thereby. Bhagat Kabeer Ji says: (Ang 1377) Kabeer, whether is for an hour, half an hour, or half of that, whatever it is, it is worthwhile to speak with the Holy. Sri Guru Arjan dev Ji says: (Ang 264) I take my daily cleansing bath in the dust of the feet of the Holy, and I am rid of all my sins. Sri Guru Ram Daas Ji says: (Ang 1114) In the Company of the sant , the filth of sin is washed away. Man is in reality divine, free, and one with the supreme, but he forgets his true nature and identifies himself with matter, which is only an illusory appearance. And this is the real cause of man's bondage and suffering. All this wealth which people are collecting will not be of any avail to them during their last moments. People may consider it to be real, but wise consider the Name of God to be the only real wealth, the most unique treasure. One who desires to have happiness without Bhakti (devotion) is a great fool. To reach real happiness by other means is like trying to cross the ocean without a boat. Bhakti is a most precious diamond. One who has this diamond in his heart knows not even the slightest misery. Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji warns us that this human frame is lent us, so we may remember the Holy Name. If we forget now, our last breath will tie us again to the wheel of Death.

We should apologize for what we did in this life and the previous lives and perform the necessary reactions to counter the stigma of our misdeeds. In this way our bad karma will be neutralized, or even influenced in a positive direction. We should make a pledge not to commit the same mistakes to avoid bad karma. Destiny is what you make it. Karma is how you initiate the change. Positive behavior nets positive rewards, and negative behavior initiated with negative intentions, nets negative rewards. Think positive. Be positive. Surround yourself with good Karma. In Sikhism, the Five Virtues are fundamental qualities which one should develop in order to reach Mukti (salvation), or to reunite or merge with God. The Sikh Gurus taught that these positive human qualities were Sat (truth), Daya (compassion), Santokh (contentment), Nimrata (humility), and Pyar (love). According to the Sikh lifestyle instructed by Sikh Gurus, one should control and get rid of five vices. The Vices are Kaam (Lust), Krodth (Anger), Lobh (Greed), Moh (Emotional Attachment), and Ahankaar (Ego). According to Sikhism, our soul is a part of God, it has been separated from God and the purpose of our life is to become one with God just like a drop of water mingles with the ocean. However, we are polluted and in order to become one with God, we have to purify ourselves to become like God. Getting rid of five vices helps one to purify one’s self and meditate on God. When one meditates on God with pure love and pure soul, only then he or she attains salvation by becoming one with God. Guru Sahib signals with his hand that this is the right way we should take and that is the wrong way we can go. One side shows us how to erase bad karma and the other side shows us how to accumulate more bad karma. Now it is up to us to listen to Guru Sahib. The right way is, if you meditate on God and purify your soul by getting rid of lust, anger, greed, attachment, and ego, you merge back with God and your cycle of life and death is gone forever. The wrong way is, if you do not worship God and realize Him, you will be reincarnated. If you were on the right path to God but did not purify your soul within the lifetime you had on the Earth, you will be given more chances in human form to become closer and closer to God. If you have not made any effort to love God and purify your soul, you will end up wandering through the 8.4 million species again. When a hurricane comes, we go to a safe building and shut the doors and windows. Similarly if bad thoughts come to our mind, we should not go after these, but grab the holy feet of Guru Sahib so that only good thoughts enter. The prayer should come from our heart, leaving all distractions aside. Guru Sahib can hear the call of our soul because it belongs to him. We should pray like this:

“Please pardon me for all the mistakes that I have committed till now. From today, please hold my hand, help me and guide me so that I do not commit any more mistakes. Give me also the capacity to recognize a mistake, so that I can avoid it. Please remove my pride and vanity with which I am operating and teach me to be humble.” Get rid of the ego and thus, we will be able to see and talk to Guru Sahib directly through surrender and communion with the almighty. This will allow us to approach our Guru Sahib and help us to unload our karmic bags, freeing us of the cycle of suffering. The happiness and prosperity that will come to us thereafter is permanent. Grace and blessings will be showered upon us. Sri Guru Arjan Dev Ji says After so very long, this human body was fashioned for you. Meet the Lord of the Universe - now is the time to meet Him. (Ang 176) Bhagat Kabeer Ji says Vibrate, and meditate on the Lord of the Universe, and never forget Him. This is the blessed opportunity of this human incarnation. (Ang 1159) Man is aware of himself. Animals do not have a keen sense of self-consciousness. Only humans have been given minds that are capable of complex, verbal language communication. Humans have the mental ability to make plans and decisions and to choose a course of action. They are in complete control of their actions that can reach out and make an attempt of worshiping God. Humans possess the ability to become enlightened about the existential truth and to liberate the self, whereas animals cannot achieve enlightenment. But again even after being born a human, if a person does not utilize this potential, he/she will be doomed and will again be in the same cycle. Our goal is to break away from the cycle of birth and death and attain salvation by being one with God. Our soul has been separated from God and filled of many impurities such as lust, anger, greed, attachment to materialistic things, and ego. We are to purify our soul so that we can become one with God. We can do so by living an honest and humble lifestyle and meditating on God. The people, whose only aim is to enjoy sensual pleasures like a swine, consider salvation insignificant, and even risk their lives for the sake of attaining worldly pleasures. The religion of man is to see the Divine Light. Up to this time only human beings have seen it and in future also only human beings will see it. There is no difference between a man, who does not care to see the Divine Light and an animal.

Sri Guru Amar Daas Ji Says Those who do not serve the True Guru, the Primal Being, and do not reflect upon the Word of the Shabad. Do not call them human beings; they are just animals and beasts (Ang 1418) It is wrong to blame our past karma for our suffering, because the consequence of past karma can be reduced or erased by our Guru Sahib who is always forgiving. So, instead of blaming our past karma for bad things happening around us, we can change our bad karma into good karma by being optimistic always. Winston Churchill says: “A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.” Human mind is the most unstable entity created by God. It is very easy to manipulate and gets easily molded by situations and environments. Though it is fair to say that a man is known by his deeds, it is important to realize that a man can be easily influenced by the company he keeps. Therefore, if a person is good but his company is bad, then a time comes when the bad company starts influencing the good deeds. Sri Guru Arjan Dev Ji says: (Ang 979) “Close to the ink, you will be blackened; near the lamp, you will be lit up”. Sri Guru Amar Das Ji says: (Ang 1283) All their sin and blame is washed away. They worship and adore the One Lord with their conscious minds. Countless sins are erased, by even a tiny particle of the Lord's Name. In conclusion we know it is a fact that we carry good or bad karma from our previous lives with us. But it is also a fact that as directed by our Guru Sahibaan if we shed our ego, remain humble, avoid negative thoughts, always think positive, attend satsang, make a pledge not to repeat the same mistakes, adopt five virtues, avoid five vices, try to meditate on God, avoid bad company, help the needy, indulge in positive karma all the time, we can erase bad karma and merge with the Lord. Thank you for your time and understanding in reading this article. Please excuse me for any mistakes. (Inserted by Balbir Singh M.A. humble servant of Dhan Dhan Baba Isher Singh Ji of Nanaksar)