Karma in Hinduism

Three concepts in Hinduism are interlinked: Karma, Samsara and Moksha. Action, the chain of action and re-action. Only through Karma can Karma be conquered. Only by working in time, can we be free from the trappings of time. These are Hinduism perennial statements which are accepted as self-evident truths.

Karma embraces everything in the world of phenomena; physical, mental and spiritual. All action produces re-action. All thought produces re-thought. Feeling produces re-feeling, that is why no one escapes this chain of action and re-action.

This chain is also known as Samsara meaning worldly existence, the inexorable wheel of cause and effect, right and wrong and all other dualities, such as pain and joy, and even night and day.

A good life based on good karma, will lead to a good re-birth in the cycle of samsara. Similarly a bad life will lead to a bad re-birth.

This should not be confused with fatalism which implies total absence of free will and moral choice. Karma implies that every individual is born with certain in adequacies and imperfection, but every individual has the freedom to remove these inadequacies and imperfections and ensure his or her future will be an improved one, if not a perfect one. It is through karma or personal choice and effort that one’s physical, mental, and spiritual lot can be improved.

Improvement, however, is not enough. Hinduism also suggests an ultimate salvation from the cycle of birth and re-birth, good and bad, right and wrong. Samsara can be transcended and this transcendence is known as “Moksha” or freedom. Through free karma, can spiritual freedom be obtained. Free karma is known as “Nishkama Karma”, or action that is not motivated by desire for success.

Purify your thoughts. Remove negative ideas, feelings and thoughts. Negative thoughts will produce negative results. A negative mind will continue to deteriorate; in effect it will poison itself more than harming others.

A thought never dies. Every thought however, insignificant, has a definite impact. Repeated thinking about the same thing makes it a power source. Constant dwelling, say on an accident or ill health, will make a person prone to accident and ill health. Hating anyone will make a person an embodiments of hate, and it will embitter even a noble personality a mind needs programming towards constructive and idealistic goals.

Krishna presents fundamental moral principle, the virtue of detached attachment. “Act, but act selflessly. Forsake the fruits of action.”

Karma has been sensitively explained: “Karma teaches us that there is an absolute inner justice in life which cannot be violated even by the grossest injustice of the outer world. Suffering and misfortune teach us to look deeper and see the real state of things. Without them we would probably not grow inwardly but would relax into lives of superficiality and dissipation. We should welcome difficulties as per friends and teacher. Suffering is the way of spiritual growth for human beings. It should not be taken as a simple indication of bad karma but as a means to take us beyond karma.”