Our bodies have been born countless number of times. The cycle of birth and death, goes on relentlessly. As we can’t escape birth and death, we can’t escape our karma. Karma is determined by good or bad deeds of an individual. We can never count all the deeds we have done in all lifetimes. If we assume that an average person lives to the age of 70 years; then imagine how many births one would have taken in 2-3 thousand years?! One takes numerous births in different bodies and these bodies perform countless actions. And every virtue and every sin, gets saved in something like ‘a saving bank account’. Everything gets recorded and these ‘recordings’ determine our destiny.

Swami Vivekananda lived only till the age of thirty-nine years. Saint Gyaneshwar left his body at the age of twenty-one years. Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji lived for forty-two years. Whereas bodies of other mahatmas like Paramhansa Ramakrishna, Sri Ramana Maharishi; had longevity. So, how long is someone's life, is not related to virtue or sins. Length of life is accorded by one’s prarabdha karma.

The cycle of karma continues until one attains self-realization. Only after acquiring the highest knowledge does one get freed from the law of karma. There is no other way. That is why our ancient sages put so much emphasis on liberation. When you do a virtuous act, you get happiness; and if you do a sinful act, you get sorrow. As long as one is bound by karma, the cycle of life and death continues. It is only when you wish to come out of this cycle, that you begin to search.

The fact that Swami Vivekananda left at such a young age, does not mean that he was not virtuous. Virtue and sin are not related to the age. It is how much one is going to pay for, in that particular birth. After enlightenment, one gets released from the bondage of karma, forever.

If you do not remove the root ignorance; then the same parents and siblings become your enemies or friends in another form, with new trappings. The same drama will go on! If there is ignorance then the karmic bondages of sinful and virtuous deeds will remain tied around your neck. Karma is about mutual transactions - those whom you give happiness or sorrow, will give you joy or sadness in return. It is a mutual exchange of happiness and sorrow. And this is what is called samsara.

Higher knowledge will teach you that you are neither the body, nor the intellect nor the mind. You are just a detached witness. If we perform any action due to a desire or a wish, we continue the karmic circle. We need to learn how to act as a non-doer. Without the sense of ‘I did it!’ Only then will we be liberated from the wheels of karma.