Ichha Karma

Last updated: December 21, 2023

What Does Ichha Karma Mean?

Ichha karma is a type of karma that is desired personally. The term comes from two Sanskrit words, ichha, which means “wish” or “desire,” and karma, meaning “action” or “work.” Karma is a spiritual concept in yoga and in many religions that originated in India whereby one’s actions affect the future.

Ichha karma is one of three forms of prarabdha karma, which itself is one of the three main categories of karma. Prarabdha karma refers to past actions in previous lives that affect the current life. Bad karma accumulated in a previous life results in suffering in the current life, but the opposite is also true. So, someone who leads a pious life will reap the benefits in the present life.


Yogapedia Explains Ichha Karma

Because prarabdha karma and, therefore ichha karma, were created in a previous life, the consequences cannot be changed, nor can the karma be removed. The other two forms of prarabdha karma are anichha (without desire) and pareccha (resulting from others’ desires). To reach self-realization, yogis can have anichha and pareccha karma but must be free of ichha karma.

Because ichha karma cannot be removed, the yogi must strive to live a pious life so that the next life will not contain ichha karma, sometimes referred to as ichha prarabdha. To do so means detaching from all personal desires (physical and spiritual), eliminating egoism and living a peaceful life of service to others.

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