[You can ask your own question here.]
I understand that it is possible to mediate some of the effects of your own karma through behaving rightly, but is it possible to do that with others’ karma also, by prayer or doing kriyas for them?
A good question.
Karma is energy held in a certain pattern by the magnetism of identifying with the event, being attached to it, longing for it, or ashamed of it. Because it is only energy and magnetism it can be shifted at any moment by applying energy and magnetism of sufficient force to set a new pattern.
In theory, all karma can be dissolved in an instant IF you apply enough energy of a balancing kind.
In practice, karma shifts slowly. Generally speaking, it took us time to apply enough energy of a particular type -- kindness, selfishness, fear, love, etc. -- to create an energy pattern. And generally speaking it takes time and consistent effort in a new direction to set up a new energy pattern.
Think of it like a river flowing toward the sea, but some of the river water gets caught along the bank in whirlpools created by debris that holds the water. You can free the whirlpool by removing the debris -- i.e., overcoming a particular attachment -- or you can simply draw the whirlpool into the flow of the river by making the flow of the river to the sea stronger than the pull of the debris to sideline the water in a whirlpool. Can you see the image? Does it make sense?
The river in this image is the flow of energy up the spine; the whirlpools are the vrittis of karma stored in the chakras.
So, yes, if you behave rightly you are increasing the flow of positive energy in the spine and it will eventually dissolve the karma into itself when the balance of energy and magnetism finally shifts in favor of the positive flow. You are starving the vritti by not doing whatever wrong thing created it in the first place. And you are increasing the energy in the spine by behaving rightly.
Kriya is a way of doing the same thing inwardly. Draw energy powerfully up the spine and the vrittis are drawn in and the karma dissolves without you ever having to live through it outwardly.
Prayer, or doing kriya for others (which is a form of prayer), is a way of giving energy to others. And yes, it can help.
If you are trying to impose your will on someone, however, it will be far less helpful and also less effective. Even a positively intended imposition -- e.g. please stop drinking! -- is less effective than simply giving a person pure divine energy. Send the person divine energy, and their soul will know what to do with it. Energize them, fill them with light, and then they will be more able to fulfill their own destiny.
Be prepared, however, for things to get worse before they get better. This doesn't always happen, of course, but sometimes it does. Because sometimes what the soul needs is to go deeper into the lesson before it is ready to change directions. So do the kriyas, or offer the prayers, with faith that Divine Mother is in charge.
[Questions and answers from other Ananda ministers worldwide can be found on the Ask the Experts page of Ananda.org.]