Our karma keeps accumulating, and there is a huge bundle of karma known as ‘sanchita karma’ which we have added over several births. Of this bundle, that which is responsible for the present birth and our experiences in it is known as ‘prarabdha karma’.
It is said that when we totally surrender ourselves at the feet of Lord Narayana, there will be no rebirth and that we will attain moksha. The question is: What happens to our karma and how can we escape its effects?
There is yet another aspect that raises questions in our minds: What about our actions after ‘saranagati’ (surrender)? How can we not pay for these actions? We do good deeds meriting rewards (‘punya’) and sins meriting punishment (‘papa’), even after saranagati. So what happens then? Our sins can be classified into those we do without our knowledge and those we do with full awareness of what we are doing. In the case of the latter, if we have done saranagati, the punishment will be smaller.
The important point to note, however, is that punishments are all effected in this birth. The Lord will not go back on His promise to grant us moksha if we surrender, said Valayapet Ramachariar, in a discourse.
What happens, however, if we die before we have paid for our sins? The effects of our punyas go to those who have been kind to us, and the effects of our sins go to those who have been ill-disposed towards us. The Lord does not forgive unkindness and disrespect to His devotees. That is why we should take care never to offend them.
There are some things which are likely to bring us trouble if we keep on doing them. If someone insults us, we should not retaliate but feel sorry for him for, by insulting us, he takes on the burden of our sins too.
Doing that which displeases the Lord is a sin, and insulting His devotees displeases Him and is, therefore, a sin.
Bhakti yoga is difficult for we do not know how strong we will be physically. We do not know what our lifespan is going to be.
Therefore, the best option for us is to surrender at His feet, and He will assuredly grant us moksha.