4.6 – Only those actions born of meditation produce no accumulation of karma.

तत्र ध्यानजमनाशयम् ॥६॥

tatra dhyana jam anasayam

  • tatra – there; therein; in that
  • dhyana – meditation; the undisturbed flow of concentration
  • jam – born
  • anasayam – not accumulating; free from virtue or vice

4.7 – The actions of an awakened yogi produce no light or dark karma. The actions of others produce three types.

कर्माशुक्लाकृष्णं योगिनः त्रिविधमितरेषाम् ॥७॥

karma ashukla akrisnam yoginah trividham itaresam

  • karma – actions; work; deeds; the fruits of actions
  • ashukla – not white; not light; unvirtuous
  • akrisnam – not black; not dark; virtuous
  • yoginah – of a yogi
  • trividham – of three kinds
  • itaresam – other

4.8 – Those three types of karma create strong psychic tendencies which, in time, produce corresponding effects.

ततः तद्विपाकानुग्णानामेवाभिव्यक्तिः वासनानाम् ॥८॥

tatah tad vipaka anugunanam eva abhivyaktih vasananam

  • tatah – due to that; from that
  • tad – that
  • vipaka – ripening; maturing; effect; result
  • anugunanam – having similar properties
  • eva – same; way; like
  • abhivyaktih – manifestation; expression; creation
  • vasananam – latent psychic impressions; strong psychic tendencies or inclinations

Commentary on Sutras 4.6—4.8:

Yogic philosophy describes three types of karma: white, black, or mixed.

Negative, destructive actions produce black, tamasic karma that reinforces the false-self. Those actions give rise to painful experiences.

Positive, constructive actions produce white, sattvic karma that neutralizes negative thoughts, emotions, and tendencies. They produce pleasurable experiences.

There are also more “gray” actions, which produce mixed forms of karma.

Impressions (samskaras) within our field of consciousness hold a record of all of our past actions. The movement of the gunas later triggers those impressions, which then spring to life and create corresponding effects.

When we repeat a type of behavior over and over, we cut deep grooves within consciousness through which our life-force flows. And this is what creates our unconscious tendencies and habits (vasanas).

Our yogic practice does two things:

  1. It removes the blockages or obstacles to samadhi by dissolving affliction-producing samskaras.
  2. It helps us cultivate non-afflictive, positive samskaras that neutralize negative ones and create an inner flow toward liberation.

Another name for the inner flow toward liberation is sattva guna. Eventually, even sattva guna must be returned to its origin. In this way, the yogi comes to abide in the freedom beyond the influence of the gunas.

An awakened yogi remains in a continuous state of higher meditation. All their actions are born from that state. In other words, they have no illusion that the false-self is the cause and performer of the actions. They know Awareness Itself is the power that acts.

Therefore, the actions of an awakened yogi produce no karma. They no longer construct a false-self. That yogi lives beyond the restricting influences of the gunas as a free soul.