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Spiritual TechniquesVedic Astrology

The Four Types of Karma

According to scriptures, there are four types of Karma – Sanchita Karma, Prarabdha Karma, Agami Karma, and Kriyamana Karma.

Sanchita Karma  – Cumulative Karmic Pool

Four Types of Karma - Sanchita Karma

Sanchita Karma, meaning ‘put together’, is the summation of all of your karma, both good and bad, from every incarnation you have ever had, from the moment of separation from source. 

This includes deeds done in your last life, to those done ten lifetimes ago, to those done 500 lifetimes ago. 

Every thought, every action, every feeling is recorded and pooled together in our Sanchita Karma. 

At some point in our lives, all of us question why we’re having to suffer a particular event or experience when we’ve been good our entire life.

Whilst someone else who has been bad is breezing through life. 

This is due to Sanchita Karma. The suffering you’re experiencing is a result of a bad deed from a past existence. A possible lesson from an opposing perspective.

In the same way, the person breezing through life is most likely benefiting from good deeds done from a past existence. 

For as long as we have any portion of Sanchita Karma left, we will continue to take birth and rebirth. 

Prarabdha Karma – The Cause of the Present Birth and Experiences in this Life

The four types of karma - Prarabdha Karma.

Known as the ‘purpose’ karma of this present lifetime, where the purpose is to fulfill the karmic dues, experiences and lessons set out for this incarnation. 

Prarabdha Karma are those lessons and experiences that we must absolutely face in this lifetime, no questions asked. 

Prarabdha Karma is akin to a scoop of Karma taken from the massive pool of our stored Sanchita Karma. 

The scoop contains a mixed bag of karma from multiple lifetimes, that mathematically matches the vibration of space and time. 

What do I mean by space and time? 

The position of our solar system in the sky, the placement of constellations and planets. 

It is the Prarabdha Karma, that determines the reason for this birth, the reason why we’ve chosen to be male or female, our body shape and composition, our families, our cultural backgrounds, the country and place of birth, and the work we do in this life.

It will determine if you’ll be wealthy, marry, get divorced, have children, the kind of opportunities and experiences you’ll have, and the levels of happiness or suffering you will experience. 

It is the constellations in Astrology that hold the details of our Prarabdha karma, which is filtered through the planets, their time periods (mahadasha and antardasha), and transits, which then determines ‘the how’ and ‘the when’ of delivery of your lessons in this lifetime. 

Prarabdha karma is known as the unchanging karma. The mathematical results of this karma can be seen in our natal charts or Kundali, in Vedic Astrology. 

It becomes permanent for the duration of our lives. Only direct divine intervention can change the unfolding results of this karma. 

This divine intervention usually happens through the power of faith in prayer. 

If, for whatever reason, we’re unable to complete our Prarabdha Karma for this lifetime, in our next birth, this incomplete portion will present itself as retrograde planets posited in houses and zodiacs that best represent the area of our life that needs completion. 

Agami Karma – Cumulative Unfulfilled Desires

The four types of karma - Agami Karma

Ever hear the saying “Be Careful what you wish for”? Wishes, that remain incomplete, manifest themselves as Agami Karma. 

Agami Karma are all of our unfulfilled desires from our past existences. You bring them into this life to fulfill them one by one. It is this karma that becomes the driving force behind our ambitions in this life.

Ever feel a burning desire to achieve something? To visit a place or country? To have a particular experience? To work in a particular profession? or to purchase a particular item? 

Chances are, these desires followed you into this life from a past one. 

For example, the strong desire to live in a big house or mansion? Or to go into politics, or to drive or own a sports car, to travel to a particular country, or even to love a particular person. 

If you left a desire in a past existence incomplete, chances are your soul will push you towards fulfilling that desire in this lifetime. 

Any incomplete Agami Karma will return back into the pool of our Sanchita Karma for another lifetime. 

For those of you that feel as if you have no ambitions, no pull towards anything, no motivation for anything in particular, well, there is a reason for it. 

In 2014, I was told by an enlightened Buddhist Monk, that a person who lacks ambition, simply has no lingering Agami Karma at that time, which is, spiritually speaking, a very good thing – one of the signs of mastery over oneself. 

The unfolding agami karma, has a bad habit in causing us to create new karma, known as Kriyamana Karma. 

Kriyamana Karma – The Establishment of NEW Karma

The four types of karma - Kriyamana Karma.

Kriyamana Karma is what we do during this life whilst in the process of fulfilling the desires of our past lives, and completing our prarabdha karma. 

This would include all thoughts, feelings, actions, good and bad deeds, and of course, new unfulfilled desires that we establish.

At the end of our present life, all of our Kriyamana Karma will merge back into our Sanchita Karma, from which, another scoop of Karmas will be taken to form the cause and effect of our next birth, which will once again be known as the Prarabdha Karma for that lifetime. 

The good Kriyamana Karma you create in the process of this life, helps to lessen the negative burdens of this life’s Prarabdha Karma, but predominantly, it flows back into Sanchita Karma, to become the fruits you enjoy in a future birth. 

Notice the connection between the four types of Karma? 

This interconnectedness, creates a continuous loop, that seemingly keeps us bound to this cycle of life, death, and re-birth.

How do I free myself from the four types of karma? 

There are many methods by which we can clear, limit, or lessen our pile of karma, and eventually become free of the karmic evolutionary process. 

I’ll share a few simple methods below. 

Practice ‘Kriya Yoga’

One of the most well known Yogis of our time – Swami Paramahansa Yogananda, in his epic life changing book, ‘Autobiography of a Yogi’, talks about the super realisation method known as ‘Kriya Yoga’. 

This particular, three part Kriya practice, when practiced properly, has the potential for spiritual evolution that would normally take 14 cycles around the Sun, the time period better known as, 14 years. 

Yes, you read that correctly. A spiritual practice that may take all of 15 – 20 minutes of your time daily, has the potential to clear 14 years or 14 cycles around the Sun worth of evolution and the karma that one would have experienced in that period.  

If you were to practice only the first part – 14 breath practice, which will take only 5 minutes of your time daily, it will still be equivalent to a full cycle, or 1 years worth of evolution, inclusive of burning karma. 

The scriptures say that it requires about a million mundane years of human evolution to clarify, sensitise, and expand the human brain, mind and soul capacity so that one can hold and reflect all of the knowledge contained in the universe. 

Something to think about! 

Mantra to remove Karma – Om Sat Om Chit Om Ekam Om Brahma

Pronounced: Om Sutt, Om Cheet, Om Air Come, Om Brahm Ma

This is a powerful mantra that connects directly to the supreme truth, the creator and source of all creation. 

This is the divine intervention that I spoke of above. 

Chanting this mantra will rapidly raise your vibration to that of the supreme truth, where karma burns off at a much more rapid rate. 

The vibration of this mantra works specifically on Karma. 

Chant this mantra 108 times daily as part of your daily spiritual practice. You can use any means of counting. 

It does not matter where you chant this mantra, but will help to be able to focus on the awareness you’re evoking – Source. 

Become Conscious! 

I’ve had the privilege of meeting and speaking with numerous enlightened Yogis and Monks in my journeys throughout this world. 

In those meetings, they’ve imparted timeless knowledge about our existence, and how to become free of the loop we find ourselves stuck in. 

If you consider the loop that combines the 4 types of karma, you’ll notice that it’s Kriyamana karma that contributes to the ever growing pile of Sanchita Karma. 

If you can establish control of your mind, and be conscious of your actions, to not create more Kriyamana karma, and engage in spiritual practice to rapidly burn off karma,  you’ll go a long way in freeing yourself from this loop.

We all can’t live like Monks and Yogi’s, however, we can make minor changes to ourselves and our lives that will help us limit the creation of new Kriyamana Karma. 


  • Be mindful of your thoughts. Don’t engage in useless thoughts. 
  • Be conscious of how you interact with people. Do not treat anyone badly, never make promises you have no intention of keeping, and don’t hurt anyone’s feelings. 
  • Be conscious of how much you speak. You’ll quickly realise that much of what you say throughout your day is completely unnecessary. 
  • Be mindful of your actions. 
  • Pay back all of your debts. 
  • Never leave any situation with a person unresolved. If you find you have unresolved issues with people, and you don’t want to revisit the issues with the person, use the Hawaiian Ho’oponopono technique to bring the situation to a peaceful resolution. 

If you can follow these simple rules, you’ll tremendously reduce the addition this life will make to your overall Sanchita Karma. 

Spirituality Zone articles are a joint collaboration of multiple authors of different backgrounds and specialities.