Saturday, December 5, 2015

Soulmates and Karmic Lessons

"Feed someone who’s that hungry and you might see some tears." 
- Unknown

Hunger here does not mean gastronomic hunger. It could imply a hunger for anything a person has deeply desired and needed but has been knowingly or unknowingly deprived of, by himself or others until a certain point in life. It could range from hunger for food to a preferment or a friendship, relationship, a human connection, fulfillment of a past life's unfinished work, or even freedom from having to live in a refugee camp after fleeing from a war zone. At that point in life, the desire has transformed into something so much big in magnitude that it has affected every other part of their being. And it has possibly even altered their soul.

Give such a person what they are hungry for, wholeheartedly and with complete kindness and honesty. And you will see uninhibition, spirituality, and eros. Maybe even contentment. And then be grateful that you were the medium chosen by the Universe to give to this person in need. And that you have a Karmic duty and connection with that person to fulfill before moving on.

Whether we like to accept or not, we are all connected to everyone we run into in our lives in small or big ways. Some of these connections are meant to last an entire lifespan while some others seem to end even before they began. Doesn't matter.

This is what the material world calls "soulmates." We are all someone's soulmate. A soulmate does not have to be only a spouse or a life partner. It can also be a parent, a child, a sibling, a dear friend or at times, a foe. It is also not necessary that one person has only one soulmate in his life. One person can have several soulmates and they will either come and leave or they will stay forever, or they will keep coming every once in a while. I always gravitated towards this unconventional concept but doubted it despite several experiences demonstrating so, until the book Eat, Pray, Love found its way into my hands this year. It has a beautiful page about soulmates and how the central character struggles to accept the true concept and purpose of soulmates (let's ignore the love aspect here and focus on the purpose explained by Richard).

We run into different people throughout our lives. Sometimes, two people stumble into each other's lives because one person is meant to be the medium to teach another something - the teaching of the other person's lessons may be active teaching, or the recipient may learn passively. Many times, both are meant to teach and learn something. The purpose of these teachings is to allow those people to evolve and move closer to the ultimate Reality, their "true Self" by eroding their samskaras, or "thought patterns," as per Sutra 1-2: योग: चित्त-वृत्ति निरोध: (yogaś citta-vṛtti-nirodhaḥ - Yoga is the control of the thought waves of the mind).

The Yogic/Vedic philosophies talk about recycling of the human soul in the form of birth and rebirth. In these cycles, we are born with some of these thought patterns - some good and some that we are supposed to discard. We are also in the course of our present life, through our deeds, creating new thought patterns, the fruits of which we may reap in the current life, or carry forward into the next. 

The sole purpose of life is to seek the Truth, the Self. Then why create new and unwanted samskaras? Why keep carrying unwanted samskaras and karmic lessons from our past life?

The funny thing about life is that it keeps making us go through things till we learn our lessons from it; ergo, "karmic lessons." Some of us are born to learn several karmic lessons and some to learn just one. And the way nature builds itself is that even if we have many to learn, it will keep putting us through the same experiences (or sometimes people) over and over again because it wants us to learn one thing perfectly and permanently before moving us to the next.

It all starts to make sense if we imagine that we all are but a painting on this huge canvas of life, playing our roles. So does it mean our lives, thoughts, and actions are pre-determined, "destined?"


We, human beings, were born as intelligent creatures because we were meant to make our own decisions and think and act independently. We are made such that we can observe, analyze, introspect, and then act with complete consciousness and control of our senses. Our soulmates, karmic lessons, and samskaras are all beyond our control; what we choose to do with them and the lessons they teach, is our Karma. It is indeed easier said that done, but try to work towards erasing that unwanted samskara. Try to learn from that karmic lesson so that you can move on to the next. Thank those soulmates and whisper a silent prayer of gratitude for them.

The opportunities life presents to us is our fate; what we choose to do with it is our destiny.

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