Karma – the Law of Cause and Effect

Karma is an integral part of Hinduism. Karma literally means ‘to act’. Basically, it means that a man’s deliberate actions decide his future state of existence. This law differentiates human beings from other creatures.

A Natural Law

Newton said “Every action produces an equal and opposite reaction”. Each time we do something, a cause is created, which will bear a corresponding effect in the future. This law of cause and effect creates the cycle of birth and death. So, a human being’s personality and positive and negative actions, create karma. Reflex or involuntary actions do not constitute karma.

Karma is Your Responsibility

This law puts the onus of responsibility squarely on an individual’s shoulders. He or she is responsible for his or her present fate and future. Some people opine that the concept of karma is fatalistic. But, the future depends on an individual’s present actions, so fatalism has no place in the law of karma. Hindus believe that a person’s next life is dictated by his actions in the present. So, the onus is on the individual to lead a dharmic or righteous life.

Three Types of Karma :

These are satvik karma, which is selfless, without attachment and primarily benefits others; rajasik karma – here the gains are for oneself and is therefore selfish; and tamasik karma, which is savage and selfish with no heed for the consequences. Mahatma Gandhi said the satvik works peacefully, the rajasik is always restless and the tamasik works mechanically.

Nishkama Karma (Unattached Action)

The soul can reach salvation if one acts in a disciplined manner without expectation of reward. Lord Krishna says in the Bhagavad Gita that one should carry out one’s duties while remaining detached as to the results. In fact, one should surrender the fruits and results of one’s actions to God to attain supreme peace of mind.

3 responses to Karma – the Law of Cause and Effect

  1. The major part of Veda gives stress on action (Karma). Yajna is the practical service to be done to a devotee or human form of God. The Yajna deals with preparation of food to be served to the devotees. If the fruit of the Yajna is given to the really eligible devotee or at least a hungry human being, the Yajna becomes fruitful. The preparation of food is Karma and serving the food to eligible devotees (Karma Phala Tyaga). If an undeserving person is served due to your ignorance or blind affinity such action is simply called as karma. If the eligible devotee is served the same action becomes Karma Yoga.

  2. Sage Vyasa could not get the peace because he revised the theoretical message of God and did not memorize the practical aspect of it. He got perfect peace when Bhagavatam was composed in which the practical aspect was described. Gopikas practiced the message of Gita in Toto. The devotion to God should be one way traffic. Krishna married Radha secretly (Gandharva) and left her along with other Gopikas after enjoying them for two years in Rasaleela. No girl will tolerate her husband enjoying other women with her knowledge. The love of Radha to Krishna was not affected by such bad behavior of Krishna. Krishna increased the power of dosage of the test. Krishna left Radha and Gopikas, went to Dwaraka and married 16000 girls. Dwaraka was like a foreign country crossing the sea. If this is the case of the marriage of today, the girl fights against the groom with the help of the courts and women associations. But the behavior of Radha and Gopikas towards Krishna was unimaginable.

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