Karman is the Universal law or principle of action and consequence. Every entity is subject to this law and is responsible for its karman according to its degree of consciousness. When a being has reached the state of self-consciousness he is entirely responsible for his personal karman, and his actions in relation to family, group, nation, race.
We understand karman when we have a knowledge of and a belief in reincarnation. Then we know that everything done in a former life has consequences which in the new birth the Ego must enjoy or suffer. We may sometimes seem to receive effects solely from the acts of others, but this is the result of our own acts and thoughts in this or some former life. We are part of the great Universal Plan of rhythmic flow, harmony, and equilibrium. If we create by thought, word, or deed a discordant vibration we are not released from the consequences until we have set in motion rhythmic waves to overcome that discordance. We do not go blindly through life not knowing harmony from discord, because we have the Voice of Conscience to guide us.
We may suffer or enjoy the results of our actions partly in this life, but between each incarnation the Ego is given a period of rest from whence it returns to this earth, refreshed and ennobled by experience, with the responsibility of working out its karman for better or worse. The purpose of life is to grow from the physical self into the spiritual, and to become one with the Divine. It depends upon how sincerely one reaches up into his higher self, just how many incarnations it may take to accomplish this.
We must meet the consequences of our actions but we can meet them with courage and understanding. Every thought and act alters character, and every moment may be taken as a new starting point. As Katherine Tingley has written: "Every renewed effort raises all former failures into lessons, all sins into experiences," and with renewed effort the karman of all one's past no longer threatens. "It stands as a monument, a reminder of past weaknesses, and a warning against future failures."
Karman acts forever and everywhere, but when the great currents of the Universe are no more thwarted no friction is felt. One moves forward easily and rapidly.