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What Prarabdha Karma Means?

Prarabdha karma means an effect; it is a karma that is unfolding. It is also the reason you are reading this web page at present. According to Param Pujya Dada Bhagwan, “Starting from being in the mother’s womb to all the way to the cemetery, everything one does; it is all an effect (prarabdha - effect of past life causes). It is all mandatory. Whatever ‘wrong’ the world is doing; it is all dependent on prarabdha and whatever ‘good’ it is doing; that too is dependent upon prarabdha.” This meaning of prarabdha karma comes from the spiritual scientist of stepless path to liberation.


Thus, prarabdha represents all those effects that a person experiences in this life through five senses; it is also known as destiny or fate. Whatever you do or get in this life, even if it is against your will, is prarabdha karma; the result of karma bound in previous life!

What Leads to Prarabdha?

According to Param Pujya Dada Bhagwan, “The karmas from the previous life were in the form of a plan, as though designed on a piece of paper. Now, when it materializes and comes into fruition, it is called prarabdha (fate). It may take so many years for it to mature, perhaps fifty, seventy-five, even a hundred years.” So, karmas that were bound in the previous life may take numerous years before they come into fruition.

Prarabdha Karma Examples

Let us understand prarabdha karma with the help of some events occurring in our life.

  • Doing Daily Chores: From morning until evening, a person runs around, remains preoccupied with his job or business, respires, reads books and scriptures, meditates, and does chanting. That is prarabdha. Waking up in the morning is also a circumstance. If you wake up at 7:30 am, then it is considered a circumstance of 7:30. That is called prarabdha.
  • Getting Good or Bad Grades: Circumstances coming together is prarabdha. When you pass with a ‘first class’ grade, it is prarabdha. When another person fails to get a ‘first class’, it is also prarabdha. From these words, recognize that any circumstance that you encounter is all prarabdha.
  • Eating Junk Food: Falling sick is not prarabdha karma. What does the Lord consider to be prarabdha karma? It is that when you eat junk food, you are eating it because of your prarabdha karma, and the result of it will be dysentery (this is essentially an effect of an effect). That which makes you eat, even when you do not want to, is your prarabdha karma and the dysentery you get from it, is the fruit of that karma. Sanchit karmas come from your past life as prarabdha karma in this life, and that is why one ‘feels like eating this and eating that’, and so one continues to eat tangy and spicy things.

Difference between Sanchit and Prarabdha

Let us assume that you enjoy eating spicy meals in a restaurant. You do so at least thrice a week despite your parents and friends telling you several times that this is not a good habit. You also understand that this is not good but you still end up going every week. So, what makes you go to the restaurant?

According to Param Pujya Dada Bhagwan, “Sanchit karmas come from your past life as prarabdha karma in this life, and that is why one ‘feels like eating this and eating that’, and so one continues to eat tangy and spicy things. As and when the particular sanchit karma ‘to eat at restaurant’ ripens to give its fruit, the sanchit karma (cause) is transformed into prarabdha karma (effect), and we get inspired to eat junk food at the restaurant. The karmas that one binds, such as ‘to eat, drink and be merry, are called sanchit karmas, or accumulated karmas. Such karmas are stockpiled at a subtle level and when they are about to ripen and give fruits, a person is inspired to eat and when he is done eating, it is called prarabdha karma (fate).”

So here, prarabdha karma is that part of sanchit or accumulated karmas that comes into effect in this life.

Can We Change Prarabdha Karma?


One cannot change prarabdha but by the grace of the Gnani Purush, the bitterness of the suffering can be lessened, but the suffering itself cannot be eliminated altogether.

According to Param Pujya Dada Bhagwan, “If you had decided the night before that you wanted to wake up early the next morning, but you oversleep, you should not say to the others, “Why did you not wake me up when you knew I had to catch a train?” You do not need to make such a fuss. They would have forgotten even if you had asked them to wake you. Is there a need for you to make a fuss, when your waking up late is prarabdha itself? And if in case, your tea comes without any sugar, decide to yourself that it is because of your prarabdha that you got sugarless tea. No one should be blamed. So, request for some sugar or else decide to yourself that you do not want to ask for it at all. Do one of the two.

Param Pujya Dada Bhagwan has also said, “There is no accountability on your part in saying someone is good when he is good, but there is a liability in calling someone bad when he is good, and there is also liability in calling a bad person, bad; tremendous liability! Because, in reality, he is never bad; it is his prarabdha (karma effect) that makes him appear bad. What do we mean by prarabdha? It is his circumstances that have made him bad, so how can we blame him. Did you understand that? This is a very subtle and profound talk. You will not find this in the scriptures, nor will you hear it from any ascetic (sadhu).

In a nutshell, prarabdha is the unfolding of the karmas bound in the past life. For an ordinary person, it is inescapable. While prarabdha karmas are considered unavoidable, attaining Self-realization by the grace of a Gnani Purush can help in going through them with equanimity and detachment, due to which new karmas are not bound.

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