The action of wholeness and the karma body of man

The action of wholeness and the karma body of man

The word karma comes from Sanskrit and in the original sense of the word means “deed” or “action”. In our understanding today, it denotes the law of cause and effect of actions that unwinds around the doer.

The Karma Body of Man

Karma is also considered the great law of justice, which balances every deed in the sea of life, with a corresponding consequence. According to this view, the field of past deeds affects our current life at every moment. We can also call this field of past deeds the karma body or action body.

To explain in more detail how we use the concept of the karma body, let us consider the activity of our thinking as an example. Since we can understand that almost everything that manifests externally corresponds to our conscious or unconscious thinking, we can also understand that the law of karma not only encompasses external occurrences but equally operates in our thought life.

Thinking is a kind of action and thus part of karma. So, if we want to find out for ourselves whether there is such a karmic principle, we could observe it in our thinking; in the tendencies and inclinations of our thinking, and how it creates our life. Karma, then, is not something remote or abstract, but the influence of the past, which everyone experiences psychologically.

All thought is inseparable from karma, from the past. Every external deed, every intention born of common thinking is interwoven with karma and becomes karma. A good formulation is to say that thought arises in the field of karma. Is it possible to observe that in pure awareness for oneself?

Observing the actuality of it is not about coming to a conclusion or doing something for or against it, but only about seeing what is. To see how thinking is born from the past. In this observation of what is, there is living self-knowledge.

The exact content of a thought is not very relevant, but its quality. For it is its quality that acts and that is nourished from the karma body. Is it possible to observe the quality of a thought? The content of a thought only reflects its quality. It is in this quality that karma is active.

The nature of the karma body therefore depends on the actions of a human being. All thinking, feeling, willing is, as it were, interwoven with it and works back into the karma body – even if this is not the only factor.

Everything that emerges from the karma body in the now is a modified revivification of the past. From this, we can understand that karma contains no creative aspect; there is nothing new in it.

So, since the karma body is the past, the action of something that is free from the past means the beginning of the end of the karma body. Is there an action that is free from the past? Is there an action that is free from idea, from conception, from ego-will?

Where man has no idea, but where there is a simple awareness of every movement of idea, man does not act. Where man is unmoved and choicelessly aware of the quality of his self-will, he does not act.

Where man ceases to judge, to apply his measure, to project his ideals, where he looks at the whole movement of the past as the fact, of what is, in simple awareness, there he doesn’t act, and there the spinning of the threads of karma ends.

Man steps out of the relativity of his own projected, mechanistic movement and way of living, and sees the immutable truth of the fact of what is. “What is” is his whole state of – at times – despair, greed, fear, suffering and meaninglessness, with rare impulses of hope and joy. And as he acts from this state, he creates the same thing over and over. When he acts out of greed, he sows greed and, in his time, reaps the consequences of greed. When he acts out of fear, he sows fear and, in his time, reaps the consequences of fear.

That is why we can say that in pure awareness, what is, undergoes a fundamental change. Because in this pure awareness, for the first time, no reaction is born from the karma body in relation to what is. That which is in the human being, then comes for the first time into direct contact with the grace of the untouched, non-judgmental space of pure awareness. This aspect was not there before.

The question of pure awareness is being brought ever closer to the human being

Since pure awareness carries no shadow of the past, since it is a timeless seeing of what is, without interpretation, choice or association, it is correct to say that this seeing is neither “mine” nor “yours”. It is unclouded, unconditioned awareness, as a blossoming quality of life itself. This quality can begin to enter, the moment we sincerely ask: What is pure awareness?

It is indeed a question of all humanity: What is pure awareness?

This question is being brought closer and closer to us. If it is genuine, real, alive, then it is free of the past. Every fundamental question, in all its depth and clarity, is free from the past.

To live with the question of what pure awareness is, without answering it from memory, is an expression of love.

The understanding of what pure awareness is – free from effort, free from concentration, free from motive, but perceiving effort, recognizing concentration, unveiling motive – can be fathomed and found out by everyone living quietly with this deep question, which is a question of humanity.

Then, from the origin of the question, the inherent movement of its answer unfolds. Its origin is life itself.

Where this quality of life itself begins to unfold, all the other inherent qualities of life begin to be born; they enter into this space of choiceless awareness. And these qualities are essentially love and intelligence and they act as the creative.

The action of wholeness

The action of love and intelligence as the creative is the action of wholeness. It is an indivisible action that cannot be attributed to anyone.

We can now see what happens when the action of wholeness, which is free from the past, begins to touch the human being. By surrendering to choiceless awareness, man’s old, uncreative, egocentric karma body dies, and a new body of action is continuously being born, one with creative wholeness. We will go into this further in the following.

So what is the action of wholeness? How can there be action if there is no one who acts?

To understand this, let us look at the two seemingly opposing teachings of wisdom of “Atman” (Self) and “Anatman” (No-Atman or No-Self). In the Eastern teachings of wisdom, Atman refers to “the absolute Self”. We will see that the pure teachings of “Atman” and “Anatman” are like the two edges of the same fiery blade revealed for freeing man from his entanglement with karma.

The teaching of Anatman is that there is no Self. It says that the idea of Self pertains to the realm of thought and is an unjustified assumption which ends in non-judgmental, pure awareness. An example of the teaching of Anatman is the following saying of the Buddha (ca. 6th century BC):

All compound things shall be dissolved again; worlds will break to pieces and our individualities will be scattered. […] Seek not self, but seek the truth.

The teaching of Atman, on the other hand, says that there is an absolute, unchanging Self. This is meant to be the highest truth. An example of this teaching can be found, for example, in the sacred scriptures of India, such as the Isha Upanishad, verse 8 (1st millennium BC):

The Self (Atman) is everywhere. Bright is the Self, indivisible, untouched by sin, wise, immanent and transcendent. He it is who holds the cosmos together.

And in the Bhagavad Gita, 6:30-31, Krishna speaks (ca. 2nd century BC):

I am ever present to those who have realized me in every creature. Seeing all life as my manifestation, they are never separated from me. They worship me in the hearts of all, and all their actions proceed from me.

So how can the two teachings of the Atman and the Anatman stand together?
Nothing that is created has a Self. The 10,000 things have no Self of their own, just as little as the created human being. For everything created is only compound and will again disintegrate into pieces. But the true Self, or individual (from Latin: indivisible), refers to that which is indivisible. Something to which nothing can be added, nor from which can be taken. Therefore, nothing that is created has a Self. Therefore, the teaching of Anatman or No-Atman is true as taught by the Buddha. Where the created is dying into the truth of Anatman, the emptiness of the uncreated is revealed. But the emptiness of the uncreated is creative, acting, flowing, eternally creating and absolute. In it is doing, without a doer, doing, without a centre. The Buddha puts it like this:

There is a path to walk on, there is walking being done, but there is no traveler. There are deeds being done, but there is no doer. There is a blowing of the air, but there is no wind that does the blowing.”[1]

The Buddha here describes an absolute action that is independent of a doer. However, since the anchor point of all absolute action, from a certain point of view, can be described as the one, absolute Self, the teaching of the Atman is likewise true. It is the doctrine of an undivided, absolute, all-encompassing, ever uncreated Atman-Brahman, eternally acting in the created: God’s Word, God’s Son, Krishna, Christ.

Where God speaks “I”, everything is said. From this Self without a centre, everything is, everything flows, everything matures, everything takes shape. This “Word” is God’s holy, creative action that works behind all that is created.

The German philosopher Meister Eckhart (1260 – 1328 AD) gives us a description of this action in Christian terms (in Sermon 23):

God gives birth to his only-begotten Son in you, whether you are asleep or awake, whether you like it or not; he does his own work. I said the other day, what is the fault of man’s not feeling it, and I said, the fault is this, that his tongue is clothed with other filth, that is, with creatures; just as with a man to whom all food is bitter and does not taste well. What is the cause of our food not tasting good? The fault is that we have no salt. The salt is divine love. If we had divine love, we would taste God and all the works that God ever does, and we would receive all things from God and do all the same works that He does. In this likeness, we are all one and the same Son.


As it were, if one stood before a high mountain and called out, “Are you there?”, the echo and reverberation would call back, “Are you there? If he shouted, “Come forth!” the echo would also shout, “Come forth” […] Thus God does: He gives birth to His only-begotten Son in the highest aspect of the soul. At the same time that He gives birth to His only begotten Son in me, I give birth to Him in return in the Father.[2]

Therefore, it is correct to say that the action of wholeness is the action of the one, undivided Self.

When the sacred action of wholeness begins to touch the human being, the one, undivided Self is ever born in the human being’s action body. Thereby his uncreative, self-willed action ends and is suspended in the always new and creative action of the one, undivided Self.

The philosopher Jiddu Krishnamurti (1895 –1986 AD):

“What we are trying to find out is whether it is possible for action to be without idea. […] When action is based on belief or an idea or an ideal, such action must inevitably be isolated, fragmented. Is it possible to act without the process of thought, thought being a process of time […]?”[3]

“Is it possible to live in this world without giving continuity to action, so that one comes to every action afresh? […] That is, can I die to each action throughout the day, so that the mind never accumulates and is therefore never contaminated by the past, but is always new, fresh, innocent?”[4]

When Krishnamurti asks these questions here, he is asking whether the action of wholeness can enter into the action body of a human being. He called this action also the action of intelligence, which is neither “yours” nor “mine”. That this action is ever born in the action body of humanity, that the barrier between the revelation of this action and the human mind ends, that was Krishnamurti’s central concern.


Jiddu Krishnamurti:

“It is becoming more and more important, if we [as humanity] are to survive, that there be a spirit of co-operation with the universe, with all the things of the sea and earth. […] There is no system through which you learn to co-operate. It is not to be structured and classified.”[5]
“Order is the universe, is intelligence. Order is not static; it is a living movement.”[6]

And in conversation with quantum physicist David Bohm (1917 –1992 AD):

“Would you say that silent movement with its unending newness, is total order of the universe? […] So what is my relationship, what is the relationship of this mind to the universe? […] Is there a division, or a barrier, between this absolute mind and the universe? […] So that universe, which is in total order, does affect my daily life. […] You see sir, that means there must be freedom from reaction, freedom from the limitation of thought, freedom from all the movement of [psychological] time. […] There must be complete freedom from all that, before I really understand the empty mind and all that, and order of the universe, which is then the order of the mind.”[7]

A person who is touched by the living movement of the action of wholeness moves from the karma nature into the indivisible nature of truth. The action of Truth is one, undivided, whole. It is in this action in which the true unity and co-operation of humanity lies hidden; a co-operation that is primarily not physically bound. It is in this action of wholeness that humanity can truly act as one. It is there that the action of wholeness, becomes its action.

Do we see, “taste”, this holy, inner action that begins to reveal itself more and more? It is completely untouched by thought, by ideas, by conceptions.

Death and birth

One can say that in pure awareness, the human being dies inwardly – primarily in the mental body – from the created into the uncreated. In the quote of Meister Eckhart he calls this uncreated aspect “the highest aspect of the soul”. This dimension of uncreatedness is the dimension of undivided action where “the Son is continually being born” or, in other words, wholeness unfolds and acts always anew.

When a child is born from the womb of its mother, the child dies for the old order in which it lived in the womb, and while dying it is born anew into the order of the outer physical world. In the same way, the new thinking is born in us in uncreatedness, where we die inwardly for the old thinking of createdness. The midwife of this birth is the effortless, sacred negation of choiceless awareness that is untouched by will, intention, control or compulsion. For control, will, intention or compulsion, they all stem from the old thinking.

To reach the limits of being human in this way holds vastness, depth and beauty; in it unfolds the vitality of life itself.

Just as the old thinking is a form of action from the past, the new thinking is immediate, eternally new action. In the new thinking, there is no time interval between thinking and acting. Thinking is acting. God’s thinking is his word and his word is his action. For this thinking-speaking-acting to be born in human beings, there must be choiceless awareness, which is in itself a quality of wholeness. That is the sacred, undivided intelligence of perception-action.

One can say, as it were, that in choiceless awareness the brain matures. The brain of human beings is still immature; it matures in the light of silent, non-judgemental, pure awareness, in which the order of wholeness works and acts.

When this described action of wholeness takes place in the individual, it begins to have an influence on the consciousness of humanity – free from ideology, conviction or intention. Truth acts sanctifying through man into all that is, in a way that words cannot touch. It acts itself in everything.

Just as humanity carries the individual human being, the individual human being carries humanity within himself. And just as the earth carries humanity, so humanity carries the earth within itself. The action of truth in the nature of the individual human being thus acts into the same whole nature of humanity.

Jiddu Krishnamurti:

“So, please understand the utter simple responsibility of a human being – you – living in this mad world. When you change radically it affects the consciousness of the world. So that’s what we are concerned. The word ‘regeneration’ means to be reborn, not in some future life, which may or may not be true, but in this life, in this short period of existence, whether it is possible for you as a human being who represents all mankind, whether it is possible for you to be reborn.”[8]


So, do we now make an idea out of what has been described, through the mental adjustment of our self-image and world-view?

To observe this mechanism of idea-forming in oneself without judgement, as a fact, is choiceless awareness. If one observes it as motionless as one would observe the fact of a passing bird beating its wings, then one is observing the activity of an immature brain. A brain that wants to hide itself from the light of what is under all its interpretations and images.

The direct seeing of the truth of what is has its own direct effect on the brain; it is an action that has no motive, no past, no time and no image. The order of truth touches the brain so that the order of truth becomes its order. Truth, free from the past, touches that which is. It breaks the bounds of karma.

Understanding, deep within, does not take place through interpretation, but listening-understanding is one. There is no time interval between listening and understanding; there is nobody who understands – only understanding. And this understanding has in it an action that is whole, holy, sacred, of unfathomable depth. There is such an immeasurable, limitless, immense action, that it can only reveal itself in complete inner ending.

[1] The Gospel of Buddha, edited by Paul Carus, Pilgrims Publishing, 2004, The Project Gutenberg eBook of The Gospel Of Buddha, by Paul Carus  last accessed 18th of July 2022
[2] Meister Eckhardt, Predigten und Traktate (Sermons and Tracts), Diogenes Taschenbuch, 1979, Sermon 23, “Ave, Gratia Plena” (Luk. I, 28)
[3] Jiddu Krishnamurti, Madras, 3rd Public Talk, 12 January 1952 cited in Jiddu Krishnamurti (1992), Action: A Study Book of the Teachings of J. Krishnamurti, Krishnamurti Publications of America
[4] Jiddu Krishnamurti, Saanen, 10th Public Talk, 2 August 1964 cited in Jiddu Krishnamurti (1992), Action: A Study Book of the Teachings of J. Krishnamurti, Krishnamurti Publications of America
[5] Jiddu Krishnamurti (1979), Briefe an seine Schulen (Letters to His Schools) (2022), Edition JK-DE, Letter 30, p. 111 ff.
[6] Jiddu Krishnamurti (1979), Briefe an seine Schulen (Letters to His Schools) (2022), Edition JK-DE, Letter 47, p. 163 ff.
[7] Jiddu Krishnamurti in conversation with David Bohm, The mind in the universe, Dialogue 14 in Brockwood Park, England, 20th September 1980, available online via The mind in the universe | J. Krishnamurti (, accessed 31st of July 2023
[8] Jiddu Krishnamurti, 1st Public Talk, Bombay (Mumbai), India, 21 January 1978, available online via When you change radically it affects all mankind. | J. Krishnamurti (, accessed 31st of July 2023

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Share this article

Article info

Date: April 7, 2024
Author: K.S. (Germany)
Photo: plantation-HANSUAN FABREGAS auf Pixabay HD

Featured image: