What is Karma?
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This article is about understanding “Karma” as per Hindu Philosophy. The term Karma means “Action.” Any action that we commit is called Karma, whether we do with our body or mind, but the word “Karma” has a much greater significance as per Hindu Philosophy than just simple meaning as “Action.” According to the Hindu scriptures, Karma is related to the origin of one’s own body. Karmas (deeds) of previous birth become the basis of our present birth and Karmas of our present birth become the basis of our next birth and so on. This relation of Karmas to the rebirth makes it different from doing just any action in life.
Now, the question here arises that, “How is Karma related to rebirth as per the Hindu mythology?” The Hindu mythology states that, any action that we do, has a consequence or gives us some fruit. An example would be, a man does his job for 6 hours in a restaurant, and he would expect his 6 hours salary at the end of his work. The salary may be given to him at the end of his job on that day, may accrue to his account weekly or monthly, but the man expects his salary to be given to him for his hard work. So, here the “Expected Salary” is the “Fruit” of his 6 hours of “Actions.”
Similarly, any kind of “Action” or “Karma” we do in life has some “Fruit” or “Consequence” attached to it. When the Karmas (deeds or actions) are performed by a man, the God determines to announce the results or hand fruits. Let’s say, you donate some money to a beggar or a poor and a hungry man, what fruit shall be given to you for this great work? Or let’s say, a person murders someone to acquire his money, property or for revenge, what fruit shall be given to him for his evil and ghastly act? In all such acts or Karmas done by humans, the consequential fruits are adjudicated by God Almighty as per the divine laws and not by any human on earth. So, now we know that, all Karmas or actions done by a human have a fruit related to it and that fruit is adjudicated by God only.
Perhaps, you might be questioning to yourself that, “How does Karmas become the basis of Rebirth as per the Hindu mythology?” The Hindu mythology answers that, any “Karma” (action or deed) done by the person, remains with that person, unless he/she has tasted the consequential fruit arisen out of doing that Karma. If a person does good deeds, he/she will receive rewards of his good deeds. Similarly, if he does bad deeds, he’ll face punishment of his bad deeds. Unless that person enjoys his good or bad result of his Karma, it shall remain forever with that person and leave that person after that person has enjoyed and tasted the fruit of his Karma.
Whatever action or karma a human does with his/her body, mind or speech, that “Finished Karma” goes to the person’s reserved stock of Karmas; it adds up to all the accumulated karmas of his/her previous birth and present birth for which its fruit is yet to be enjoyed. During the time of his/her death, out of those accumulated karmas which that person carries, God Almighty takes a handful of those karmas which have begun to bear the fruits and a new body is developed with the seeds of this fruit bearing karmas. In conclusion, any karma done becomes the seed of our next birth.
The Hindu mythology states that, when karma becomes the seeds of a new birth of a body, they are called, “Parabdha” or “Fate.” In the next birth, the person again does karmas and it again adds up to his/her accumulated stock. In this way, the cycle of re-birth continues. Yes, the cycle keeps on moving, it goes on for a soul of taking birth after birth. It is also said, “Our body is mortal, but our soul is immortal.” In Hinduism, Karma is a law which maintains the act done, no matter how insignificant, will ultimately return to the doer with equal impact. The Good is returned with good and evil with evil. With the law of Karma, the perpetual journey of a soul from one birth to the next goes on. The theory of Karma states that, “As you bow, so shall you reap.” Believe it and act upon it.
~ Copyright © Surabhi Kaura 2010