3 Types of karma (Action)
There are three types of Karmas or actions, physical, vocal and mental.
Normally we attach more importance to physical actions, less to vocal and least to mental activities.
In reality, it is mental action that is most important. Because:
1. The physical actions are not independent of the mind. First there is a thought that comes to mind and then the action follows that thought. Even the actions that are triggered by a reflex action or out of fear are based upon some past thought and experience.
2. All vocal and physical actions have different significance according to the intention behind it.
For example, when parents get angry at their children; call them lazy, stupid, or yelling at them for not doing their homework, it is out of love. Like a teenager shouting at his sibling “I will kill you if you touch my iPod,” is not taken seriously because we know he has no real intention of doing so.
But if we speak in the same manner to some strangers, call them stupid, lazy or threaten to kill them; will have different consequences according to the intention behind it.
So it is the thought that is more important than the speech.
Similarly, the intention behind every physical action is important as well.
Like a surgeon using a knife to operate on a patient, verses a robber using it to injure and rob someone. Like a soldier fighting for his country verses a criminal using a weapon to kill innocent people.
That is why the Upanishads and most other Holy Scriptures command us to control the mind by watching our thoughts because they become the actions, vocal and physical.
The great Upanishads say:
Watch your thoughts, for they become your actions.
Watch your actions for they become habits.
Watch your habits for they become the character.