The soul can be defined as our 'karmic being' as opposed to our merely human personality, which is its mask. It carries our karmic propensities called samskaras from one body to another. Our karma, we could say, is the DNA of our soul. Just as the body has its particular genetic code, the soul has its particular 'karmic code'.
The soul's karmic code is based upon the life patterns it has created — the habits, tendencies, influences and desires it has set in motion over its many births. These karmic tendencies or samskaras ripen like seeds in the soil of our lives, taking root and sprouting according to favorable circumstances. Our soul's energy is filtered through our karmic potentials, which create the pattern of our lives down to subconscious and instinctual levels.
For the evolution of our species as well as for our own spiritual growth, we must consider both the genetic and karmic codes. We cannot under stand ourselves through genetics alone, which is only the code of the body; we must also consider the karmic code, the code of the mind and heart. Note how two children in the same family can share the same genetic pattern, education and environment and yet have very different lives, characters and spiritual interests. This is because of their differing karmic codes.13
Fortunately, there is a way that we can discover our karmic code as clearly as our genetic code — which is through Vedic astrology. The Vedic astrological birth chart is probably the best indicator we can have of the karmic code of the soul. The pattern of the birth chart is like the 'DNA of the soul' behind the current physical incarnation. The positions of the planets in the birth chart provide a wealth of knowledge through which we can read our karmic code in great detail.
In this regard, the Vedic astrological chart is probably the most important document that we have in life and is much more important than our genetic code. Yet like our DNA it is a code written in the language of nature that needs to be deciphered by a trained researcher in order to make sense of its indications.
In addition to showing our karmic code at birth, Vedic astrology can plot its unfoldment through the changing course of our lives. Vedic astrology has elaborate methods of timing through its system of planetary periods (dashas), annual charts (bhuktis) and transits (gochara). That is why Vedic astrologers can be so amazingly accurate both in their delineations of character and in determining the outer events of our lives.
Through the astrological remedial measures of planetary gems, mantras, yantras and meditation on planetary deities, Vedic astrology also provides us with methods to optimize our karma and take us beyond the limitations of our karmic code. This is an equally important component, the therapeutic aspect of the Vedic astrology or what we can call Ayurvedic astrology'.
Therapeutically it is imperative for individual growth that each one of us not only becomes aware of our karmic code but also learns the means to improve it. The Vedic system provides us with some of the finest tools in this regard, through its many and varied disciplines including the sciences of Yoga, Ayurveda and Vedic Astrology.
This does not mean that a proper examination of our birth chart will answer all our questions in life; we will still have to act. The chart however, will show us how to act in the best and wisest possible manner. In this regard, the birth chart is our karmic guide to life, and the tools of Vedic science are probably the most important tools of karmic improvement.
To change ourselves it is not enough to alter our genetic code; we must alter our karmic code as well. However, to change our karmic code is no easier a matter than altering our genetics! It requires a great deal of motivation, concentration and expertise — and the efforts must be done completely within ourselves rather than in an external laboratory. Changing our karma codes requires that we dynamically change the way we live, breathe, see and think, altering our very ego or sense of self.
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