Hello and welcome to episode 65 of The Ask Sri Vishwanath Show. Today I want to talk about how to destroy bad karma. How do the great ones do this effortlessly and what does Krishna say about it?

Today’s question comes from Tamankal. She says “I am curious to know how the great sages absorb the karma of their devotees and release them from the bondage of life and death. How is Karma transferred from one person to another?”

That’s a great question. Krishna says that karma cannot be destroyed. It can only be transferred or dissolved. It’s like energy, it cannot be destroyed only converted to another form. I want to share a story with you to help you understand it.

The sage

The story is about a sage that was living with his disciples. He had practiced a lot of austerity and penance so he had this great ability to absorb the pain of his devotees. One day he woke up with stomach pains and he went to meet a devotee who had travelled a long way to see him. He wasn’t feeling well enough to even talk but the devotee begged to see him. The assistant relayed this to the sage telling him that this devotee was desperate to meet him.

The sage agreed and told the assistant to bring him in, in 5 minutes. There was a grass verge nearby so he grabbed some and he transferred the pain in his stomach to the grass. The grass started to shake from the pain. He allowed the devotee to come in then and he listened to his problems. He then gave him some answers and his blessings. The devotee was incredibly happy so he left the sage in peace.

After the devotee had left the sage took back the pain that he had transferred to the grass. He was about to lie down when his assistant approached him and asked him why he took the pain back from the grass. He had such power so why not leave it in the grass?

Another form

The sage explained that if he did not take the pain back then that same pain would come back to him in some other form. It may not be through a stomach pain but it could be in some other form. That pain of karma has to be endured by some entity in the world. Some conscious being has to undergo that pain. You cannot escape karma, you can only face it.


The sage could not destroy the karma. He could only transfer it. The sage was very wise so he had the strength and the capacity to endure this pain. This is really important, I want you to understand this. Every single person, including the sage has a karma. The sage has a past and the sinner has a future. All karma has to be taken in. The only difference is the sage is enlightened and knows this. He does not worry about it.

These sages have the power to absorb a lot of pain so when they eventually die it is usually from an incurable illness such as cancer. A wise sage will take all the karma of his devotees because he has the capacity. Think of a rich man. He could take care of several villages with his money. The poverty in those villages could be wiped out overnight. In the same way these sages are blessed with a conscious deep enough. Think of a deep ocean and all the life it can hold. The sage’s consciousness is as deep as an ocean and has room to absorb this pain.

The mechanics of how this works shouldn’t be given too much importance. What is important is knowing that karma cannot be destroyed, only transformed and dissolved. Karma is freely transferable. The karma of a lower nature can be transferred to a higher nature.



I want to tell you another story about a great sage from south India. A person used to travel to see him every year. He would sit before him for a while and then he would leave. He would say to the sage that he had a lot of sin and that only he could help him. The sage would ignore him but finally asked the man why he had come, he hadn’t asked him to come to see him. The devotee got very upset. He thought this sage was the only one who could save him. The sage explained that he never said that he was the man’s disciple and the man never asked the sage if he could be his devotee.

The devotee explained that he was desperate for the sage to help him. The sage explained that to be his disciple he would have to make an offering. The disciple said he would give anything. The sage said that he wanted the man to give him all of his good karma. The man explained that he had no good karma, that’s why he was there begging the sage to help him. The sage said he wanted whatever amount of good karma he had even if it was only a small amount.

The man agreed and gave the sage whatever good karma he had. Then sage told him to give him all of his sins. The man said he could not because his sins were so bad that if he gave them the sage would suffer terribly. The sage was doing such great work and the man did not want him to suffer. The sage kept insisting that the man give him his sins. The sage said that if he wanted to be his disciple then he must give both the good and the bad.

Eventually the devotee agreed to give him all of his terrible sins. The moment that the devotee said this there was a silence and it was as if a major storm had shifted from his being.

What all of these stories tell us is that the ocean of the consciousness can absorb bad and good karma together. Men and women of god keep coming and those who recognise them will offer there karma and they will be relieved.


Three types of Karma

There are three types of karma. We will cover it in more detail in the next post but for now I want to give you a summary. Sanchita karma is the karma of all of your lifetimes together.  Agami karma is the karma generated in this lifetime. Then there is Prarabdha Karma which is the karma of your previous lifetime.  Agami Karma and Prarabdha karma are portions of Sanchita karma. The great ones can eradicate all three of these types of karma.

What’s really important is this: you can do everything right in the world but you cannot destroy your karma. You will have to come back again into this world and you cannot attain enlightenment unless you have knowledge of the consciousness. It’s either that or have a guru who can absorb your karma.


So you don’t really need to worry or know too much about the mechanics of it all. You just need to know that karma is like energy. It cannot be destroyed. It can only be transferred or absorbed. You can be the most righteous person in the world but you will still have the karma of your previous lifetimes. To avoid coming back you must become enlightened or find a sage to absorb all of your karma, both good and bad.

Remember you can become enlightened. Krishna says “just as fire burns everything to ashes the fire of the knowledge of Brahman destroys all worlds to ashes. Nothing in this world of manifestation exists as purifying as knowledge. Perfected in yoga and course of time one wins knowledge. Winning knowledge one attains to Brahman.”

Your consciousness can destroy karma and enlighten you to ensure that you don’t come back again. You will to live a wonderful life and everyone that comes into contact with you will be filled with joy.

I hope I answered your question. Remember you keep asking questions and I’ll keep answering them.

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