Karma in Hinduism

Many Hindus see God’s direct involvement in this process; others consider the natural laws of causation sufficient to explain the effects of karma.
Followers of Vedanta consider Ishvara, a personal supreme God, as playing a role in the delivery of karma. Theistic schools of Hinduism such as Vedanta thus disagree with the Buddhist and Jain views and other Hindu views that karma is merely a law of cause and effect but rather is also dependent on the will of a personal supreme God. A summary of this theistic view of karma is expressed by the following: “God does not make one suffer for no reason nor does He make one happy for no reason. God is very fair and gives you exactly what you deserve.”

Karma is not punishment or retribution but simply an extended expression or consequence of natural acts. Karma means “deed” or “act” and more broadly names the universal principle of cause and effect, action and reaction, that governs all life. The effects experienced are also able to be mitigated by actions and are not necessarily fated. That is to say, a particular action now is not binding to some particular, pre-determined future experience or reaction; it is not a simple, one-to-one correspondence of reward or punishment.

Karma is not fate, for humans act with free will creating their own destiny. According to the Vedas, if one sows goodness, one will reap goodness; if one sows evil, one will reap evil. Karma refers to the totality of our actions and their concomitant reactions in this and previous lives, all of which determines our future. The conquest of karma lies in intelligent action and dispassionate response.

One of the first and most dramatic illustrations of Karma can be found in the Bhagavad Gita. In this poem, Arjuna the protagonist is preparing for battle when he realizes that the enemy consists of members of his own family and decides not to fight. His charioteer, Krishna (an avatar of god), explains to Arjuna the concept of dharma (duty) among other things and makes him see that it is his duty to fight.
The original Hindu concept of karma was later enhanced by several other movements within the religion, most notably Vedanta, and Tantra.

Another meaning of Karma as per Bhagwad Geeta is the action prescribed by Bhagwan Shri Krishna. All human beings have Aatma (soul) inside their heart. This Aatma is part of the Paramaatma (The Complete Supreme Reality or Divinity). The goal of the Human being is to unite the Aatma (soul) with the Paramaatma (The Complete Supreme Reality or Divinity). The unification of Aatma with Paramaatma happens inside one’s heart that is one experiences, understands the true nature of Paramaatma and become one with it inside ones heart and not in the outside world. Bhagwan Shri Krishna prescribes a certain process of worship and meditation (to be done inside the mind) for unification of Aatma (soul) and Paramaatma (The Complete Supreme Reality or Divinity). This process is called as Yagya. Performing the Yagya as prescribed by Bhagwan Shri Krishna in Bhagwad Geeta is the real Karma. Any action other than Yagya are the worldly compulsions and not the Ordained Action indicated by Bhagwan Shri Krishna in the Bhagwad Geeta. The Karma is done to attain liberation (Moksha) from the cycle of the death and birth and free oneself from the great fear of being old and death.

In this way, so long as the stock of Sanchita karma lasts, a part of it continues to be taken out as Prarabdha karma for being experienced in one lifetime, leading to the cycle of birth and death. A jiva cannot attain moksha until the accumulated sanchita karmas are completely exhausted.

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