Karma: what it is, how it works, and how relevant it is to creating “Hell” on earth

Introduction to karma

In a previous video and article I talked about how ‘karma’ relates to Armageddon, and in this article I wanted to talk a bit more about ‘karma’ as it is a very important concept. I’m going to discuss briefly what it is and how it works, and what its purpose is. As ever, there will still be a great deal left unsaid, but I would urge people to check out the works of Martinus, particularly his main work Livets Bog (The Book of Life) and a smaller book, The Ideal Food, both of which are available to read online for free here: https://www.martinus.dk/en/ttt/

Front cover of Martinus's main work, Livets Bog, Volume 1. Shows waves of returning karma
Front cover of Livets Bog 1, by Martinus

So what exactly is ‘karma’ and how does it work?

‘Karma’ is a simple, popular way of denoting a fundamental feature of deeper reality: energy sent out from a source always returns to that source. The living universe consists of eternally existing, transcendent sources of being, from whom radiate forces or energies, which are behind action and manifestation. The physical universe itself is an effect of these energies being sent out. 

As human beings, we also have an eternal, transcendent source of our being. All our actions and behaviours, our expressions of will and habit, as well as our bodies and psyches, are ultimately expressions of energy from this source. 

These expressions of energy may be in harmony with or may violate universal principles underlying all reality. Chief of which is the law of love, that everything shall be an expression of love. Where our actions violate these laws, disharmony occurs. Since energy returns to its source, the source experiences disharmony. As a result, we can experience both light and dark returns of energy, or ‘karma’. 

For much more detail about these ideas, have a look at Martinus’s book Livets Bog, Volume 1. 

Symbol No. 16 - The Eternal Body. Symbolizes the waves of karma returning to source
Symbol No. 16 – The Eternal Body © Martinus Institut 1981

Main effects of this behaviour

Now, if you think of what human civilization on planet Earth is mainly like, and what human beings do most of all during their existence, what would you say it is largely defined by, and has been for thousands of years? What is the most common form of expression of energy coming from the ‘source’ of human beings?

Well of course, yes, we do a lot during our existence, but one of our main activities is to raise, kill and eat animals. This is one of humanity’s predominant form of energetic expressions. According to the human perspective, lots of people would say there is nothing wrong with this. But from the perspective of the universal laws, where the main law is ‘love everything’, the killing and eating of animals is a grand contravention of that principle.

Our treatment of animals comes down to a sending out of energy that results in their life of terror and unnatural death. It is this energy that must return, which means a dark fate: the source of this terror must itself experience terror and unnatural death. The main effect, then, of this behaviour is that it leads human beings into ways of experiencing characterized by terror and unnatural death at some point (the returns of energy don’t all happen at once, but according to different rhythms. See previous video and article for more about that). 

Sides of beef at the Sam Kane beef slaughterhouse in Corpus Christi, Texas on June 10, 2008.
Sides of beef at the Sam Kane beef slaughterhouse in Corpus Christi, Texas on June 10, 2008. Image: Public Domain

There are other effects of eating animals which are to do with the health of our own organism at a more microscopic level, and again I’d advise reading The Ideal Food, which also forms a background to this article. But the ultimate effect is that in our surroundings and in our bodies, and also collectively, we create an atmosphere and energy of death and terror. 

Scale and proportionality

Aside from all the obvious arguments for and against eating animals that humans have devised over the centuries, I just want to focus on the spiritual perspective, which pertains to the essence of things and universal laws as perceived by higher senses and higher reason. Within the context of what I’m discussing here, one objection might be that the idea of ‘energetic return’ doesn’t add up because we are killing only animals, provided by Nature for our sustenance for millions of years, so why would it now cause a problem?

These are good points and again they are discussed by Martinus in his main works, which I refer you to. But the short answer here is that it has to do with evolution, and it has to do with scale and proportionality. First, human beings are evolving away from the animal state where eating animals is natural. Indeed, it is the stint in the animal kingdom that can be said to provide one of the main drivers of evolution out of that kingdom in the first place, namely suffering. I’ll come back to that subsequently. 

Second, according to a higher, cosmic insight, the source is One, and different expressions of the source are all equal. The source of the ant, the pig, the human being are all the same from this higher perspective. In this regard, an expression of this killing behaviour as a violation of love is just as ‘bad’ or ‘big’ if it is towards a small animal being or a human being. Here I have a wonderful quote from The Ideal Food which sums up what results: 

And it is this permanent blood and meat-eating that darkens the existence of the terrestrial human being, since the sun of love cannot possibly shine where the human being is devoid of all respect for the living being’s right to life, having made it a pleasure to exist on the death and mutilation of other beings. This pleasure must therefore be the eliciting factor for that reality we express as ‘Hell’.

Martinus, The Ideal Food, 2010 (Chapter 5)

The animal-killing behaviour that humanity partakes in and supports every day creates, ultimately, the ‘Hell’ on earth that we experience as our suffering. This is how relevant our animal-killing karma is to our current situation.

What is the purpose of this principle?

Well, let’s just say for a moment that we agree that this process of energetic return, ‘karma’, is a feature of reality as described, what then is the purpose of it? Why does it go like that?

The real purpose of energetic return is to promote the evolution of the living beings. All living beings are on an eternal, cyclical, evolutionary journey through forms of dark and light existence. When living beings who are on their way towards the light side of existence, the experience of their own returning dark energy promotes a corresponding yearning for something better. For sentient beings like us, the experience of suffering elicits a response deep in our consciousness and essence for this ‘something better’.

At first we don’t know what it is. It is just a cry for help; it is the first sign of an existential crisis. We can’t connect the dots between our action and its consequences. But gradually, experience and suffering teach us that enough is enough, and we start to look for answers. Suffering is a great teacher, but at first it is not detailed or theoretical; that can come later. For many, however, they are simply not interested. They have to learn the hard way, over many lives, through continued suffering, until something in them says ‘there’s something not right here, my experience and my understanding do not add up and I now need to find answers’.


I’ve gone through a massively complex idea here and, as I must keep pointing out, there is much more that could be said; I urge readers who are interested to just read for more detail, particularly in Martinus’s works. But in short, karma means energetic return. Energetic return can lead to great forms of disharmony, causing great suffering for human beings because of their treatment of animals. The purpose of this suffering is ultimately evolution. 

Now, karma is not about fault or blame. The word is often used to bash people: ‘that’s his bad karma kicking him’. When ‘bad’ things happen to us, it’s easy to think that we’re to blame: if we contract a deadly virus, or get injured or killed, it’s easy to think ‘it’s our fault’. This is not really the right way to think about it. Yes, things happens because of causes residing ultimately in ourselves, but it is more to do with education and knowledge, and not understanding the ultimate causes of things. Just as we wouldn’t blame small children for behaving ‘naughtily’, we would instead just put it down to them being children. We can’t blame children for behaving that way because they are just too small to understand.

Humanity is in a similar position with regard to understanding deeper reality. Human beings are principally in this regard just small children. And just as small children learn to not put their hand near the fire when they realise it hurts, human beings learn eventually how to not get burned. Mass suffering means ‘getting burned by putting our hands in the fire’. Ultimately, one way or another, we will learn how not to do it. 

Who was Martinus and What is Martinus Cosmology

This is the title of my latest video on the subject of Martinus. It is still quite surprising how few people in the English speaking world know about Martinus and his life’s work. People interested in religion and spirituality know something about such figures as Madame Blavatsky, Rudolf Steiner or G.I. Gurdjieff, but not many have heard of Martinus.

In this video, I give a quick, accessible introduction to Martinus as a person and what Martinus Cosmology is.

Martinus as a blacksmith’s apprentice

Smithy at Hornbæk (1875), P S Krøyer.
Smithy at Hornbæk (1875), P S Krøyer. (The Hirschsprung Collection)

As far as we know, Martinus never attended school after the age of 14, and did not go to university. Instead, he set out to work like many rural teenagers of his generation. Yet he went on to engage with some serious thought as an adult, perhaps against the expectations that his start in life could have predicted.

After working as a herd boy from the age of 12, Martinus had the idea of becoming a blacksmith’s apprentice[1], according to the account from the 1963 recording. What must that job have been like for him, a small, 14-year-old boy? It couldn’t have been easy work. The apprentice role would have included such tasks as working the forge to keep the temperature hot and even, assisting the master blacksmith with hammering the iron, wielding sledge hammers and so on.

Without doing any local historical study of the working conditions in Sindal at that time, it would be difficult to know what the life of a blacksmith’s apprentice there would have really been like. Even with study, it is worth thinking about how much we can really learn about the life of another, especially the inner life. Ultimately, it may be interesting in terms of details but devoid of any actual or real value. Still, if people find it is interesting then there is some relative value in presenting such information.

As for Martinus, he writes how he found the work too hard. He worked there for a few months before quitting and finding work as a dairy assistant:

I didn’t like my work in the smithy either. One should strike while the iron is hot, but when I had struck only a few blows with the sledge hammer I was so exhausted that I couldn’t lift it any more. But the blacksmith shouted, “Strike harder, damn you, strike harder!” I wasn’t used to that kind of tone and was very unhappy about it. I was home only on Sundays


[1] http://www.martinus.dk/en/articles/index.php?mode=1&artikelnr=1494&artikelsubnr=2

What was Martinus’s schooling?

A Child Visiting his Grandparents on Sunday by Laurits Andersen Ring (L.A. Ring)
A Child Visiting his Grandparents on Sunday by Laurits Andersen Ring (L.A. Ring). A supplement to schooling perhaps?

What was Martinus’s schooling? It is always interesting when people come forward with a new expression of spirituality. Naturally, we wonder about the basis and background of this expression. Schooling is here as good a place as any to start with. What kind of education did these people receive? Did all their ideas come from their teachers? Who were their teachers?

From the account of his own life, Martinus suggests that he had no formal education or training in spiritual matters during his early life. He received a basic schooling, until the age of 14, but he did not go to high school or university or form part of any spiritual circles or groups. In this regard, he was very much a typical, rural Dane. Despite a longstanding and deep religiosity, he does not appear to have been a student of esoteric subjects.

On this basis, the education that Martinus received would have been quite simple by today’s standards. It would have consisted of a training in simple arithmetic and functional writing skills, perhaps what in England we used to call the “three Rs” (“reading, writing and arithmetic”). In 1814, there were educational reforms in Denmark that made education for all children up to the age of 14 compulsory. The reforms established the well-known “folkeskole” or folk schools[1]. It was this basic education that Martinus would have received.

Grundtvig & religious education

Nikolaj Severin Frederik Grundtvig (b. 1783) played an important part of the religious and cultural revival that laid the foundations for the kind of folk education that Martinus would later be a benefactor of[2]. Undoubtedly, as a Lutheran minister and writer, a “Prophet of the North as the Germans have called him”[3], he also played a part in imbuing the future of folk education with its religious character. Martinus relates how he learned, “Psalm verses and [the] catechism. And a little geography and arithmetic. And sometimes a little Danish history and nature study”[4]. It was probably a basic Grundtvig-style of religious education that was provided, mediated of course through the teachers at the school he attended in Sindal.

As Peter Manniche writes about Danish folk life, “It is not easy to gain a personal impression of the religious life of a village”[5], but which may have consisted of the “natural mysticism of the old peasant religion”, bound up of course with Lutheran Christian doctrines. It will be difficult to determine for sure what Martinus’s early education consisted of. And we do not know Martinus’s teachers, or what they taught him. However, we can be reasonably confident that it would not have been so very different from what many rural people at the time, either in Denmark or across Europe, were taught.

So one may ask, is school religion a significant part of Martinus’s story? Can it account for some of the content of his writings and teachings on spirituality later in life?


[1] http://eng.uvm.dk/Education/Primary-and-Lower-Secondary-Education/The-Folkeskole/About-the-Folkeskole

[2] Rørdam, Thomas. 1980. The Danish Folk High Schools. Edited by Alison Borch-Johansen. 2nd rev. e. Copenhagen: Danske Selskab.

[3] Manniche, Peter. 1969. Rural Development and the Changing Countries of the World: A Study of Danish Rural Conditions and the Folk High School with Its Relevance to the Developing Countries. Oxford: Pergamon Press. P 86

[4] Martinus, [Martinus Thomsen]. 1992. “Erindringer (Memoirs).” Kosmos, no. 3

[5] Op. cit., pp 179-182