Hinduism - What Is Karma?

 (“action”) The principles of karma and reincarnation (samsara) are among the most basic in Indian thinking, and they are shared by all Indian religions: Hindu, Buddhist, Jain, and Sikh.

Although the exact definition of karma is "activity," it is regarded to include both words and ideas.

The primary premise underpinning the concept of karma is that we live in a dynamic environment in which every action we perform has repercussions that ultimately effect us.

In the simplest interpretation, in an extended chain of cause and effect, good activities will have good repercussions and wicked actions will have evil consequences.

Because thoughts are considered acts, this evaluation of "good" and "evil" actions also considers one's motives—a praiseworthy deed done for an ignoble reason is still admirable, but it will not create as much merit as the same action performed for a pure motive.

Karma is seen as a fundamentally physical mechanism, similar to gravity.

It does not need the presence of a heavenly overseer, however God is often seen in devotional Hinduism as having the capacity to undo one's previous karma.

The consequences of one's deeds might occur in this life or in future incarnations.

The first argument is easier to believe since most people understand that their actions have repercussions, while the latter thesis is considerably more difficult to back up with facts.

Because the overall tone of one's life is valued more than a few isolated deeds, one may connect the concept of karma to that of "character." Both include an overall judgment of a person and are affected by one's regular habits of thinking and responding.

Karma and Rebirth in Classical Indian Traditions, edited by Wendy Doniger O'Flaherty, 1980; and K. S. Mathur, "Hindu Values of Life: Karma and Dharma," in T. N. Madan (ed. ), Religion in India, 1991. 


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