Karma is the foremost principle and element of Hinduism.

Lord Krishna giving knowledge to Arjun
Karma

कर्मण्येवाधिकारस्ते मा फलेषु कदाचन।मा कर्मफलहेतुर्भूर्मा ते सङ्गोऽस्त्वकर्मणि॥

Bhagwad Geeta has this famous shlok on Karma. In this verse, Shri Krishna says, O Kaunteya (Arjun), your right is only to do your duty. You have no right on its fruit. There is no need to think about something over which you have no right. You just do your work and don’t worry about the results.

Namaste!

Welcome to the world of resolute readings at www.onindianpath.com. I am here again with an interesting and most talked topic of Hinduism i.e. Karma. As you all are aware that I am writing the series of Hinduism and its elements for last few days. Last time I wrote on Dharma. The relevant informations and observations I made have been jotted down.

Introduction

Hinduism is an oldest and largely followed religion in the world. Actually, Hinduism is more than a religion, it is a way of living. Uptill now we have covered many elements, key principles and thoughts of this divine way of living.

What is Karma?

Karma is most prominent and widely accepted (even in west) concept of Hinduism. Karma is a belief that one’s actions defines his or her fate or destiny. It is often described as the law of cause and effect, where the consequences of one’s actions, whether good or bad, will come back to him in some way.

How is it defined in good and bad karma?

In simple words, if a person performs good and virtuous actions, they are believed to accumulate positive karma, which will lead to a better future life or favorable circumstances.

Conversely, if same person engages in bad or harmful actions, they may accumulate negative karma, leading to unfavorable outcomes in future lives.

Do you know Hinduism also has set of yamas and niyamas that describe the good and bad deeds of an individual according to his Dharma? Our social and financial set up has been categorised as per the Varna and Ashram of our lives (mentioned in previous blogs ashram).

Law of Karma

Karma is a Sanskrit derived word from karm. It means deed or act. Karma tells us the law of cause and effect. Every Karma has a effect on our future. It works on the law of consequences which is called phal. It is the result of your deeds that you will face in upcoming times.

Although, Karma says that a good action will yield good results and bad deeds will give you a bad result. It also states that the doctrine of Karma can not be passed on to one person to another.

Karma and Karmphal

Apparently, another school of thought suggests that one can pass on the Karma and his phal to someone else. Like if a person is born with a silver spoon in his mouth and live a lavish lifestyle since childhood, it is considered that he must have done good Karma in his previous birth. Similarly, if a person is ill-fated and lives a life full of misery, grief, pain and problems, he must have earned bad karma in his previous life.

Subsequently, There are two types of phal (fruits) of any fruitful action. One is the worldly fruit i.e. enjoyment which is visible to everyone and the other fruit is added to the sanskar (could be punya or paaps characterised by the nature of deed or action).

My perspective on Karmphal

But, I strongly believe in destiny, as if it is written in my destiny to go through set of pains and sorrows, I had to no matter what. And, even if I am failure/looser in my life, and if destiny wants me to shine like a star, I will definitely get a chance to prove my worth even in my late years. Now, it all depends upon me, how wisely I take up my life. And, Here, my Kamra will project my karmphal for my future.

Paap (sins) and Punya (virtuous deeds)

Karma defines the concept of Paap (sins) and Punya (virtuous deeds). Also the good deeds are accumulated in punya category and all the bad deeds will collected into paap category. Hence, the result defines the cycle of birth and death.

Moksha – a way beyond Karma

Moksha means to be into selflessness and getting detach from the attchment of worldy things and people.

As explained by Lord Krishna in Bhagwad Gita, in this mundane world, we live and die as per the wish of supreme God. But, the cycle of death and birth is endless and has no beginning. It is the change of soul for every death just like change of clothes we do as a daily ritual.

Karma explains us the cycle of birth, death and rebirth known as reincarnation. Hinduism believes in moksha means liberation. Here the ultimate goal is to break free from this cycle and attain spiritual enlightenment.

Moksha or liberation or salvation is the concept where the soul is free from the trap of birth, death and rebirth. It comes from aligning the atman to brahman.

As Lord Krishna says :

अहमात्मा गुडाकेश सर्वभूताशयस्थितः ।अहमादिश्च मध्यं च भूतानामन्त एव च ॥

Arjun! I am the soul situated in the heart of all beings and I am the cause of the origin of all beings, I am the cause of life of all beings and I am the cause of death of all beings. What this means is that God is the beginning, middle and end of all beings.

Hindu mythology tells us that all the living beings in this mundane existence are part of one god, Brahman. He lives in us all as our souls.

Ways to attain Moksha through Karma

Consequently, the very structure of human experience teaches us the ultimate identity between brahman and atman (soul).

Thus, Hinduism defines three different path to attain moksha:

  1. Karma marga (path of actions)
  2. Gyana marga (path of knoweldge)
  3. Bhakti marga (path of devotion)

Path of action (karma marg)

Since our soul is a non perishable object. It is a part of supreme being which is destined to take birth in this materialistic world and die and again get into another body and the circle goes on. However by following the path of Karma, doing good deeds as per Dharma and samaskara of Hinduism, we get liberated from the vicious cycle of life and death.

Path of knowledge (Gyana marg)

However, perplexities of life in modern times cannot be completely removed through any amount or degree of karma; only true knowledge can do so. Hence, the moksha or salvation can be achieved through gaining knowledge or gyana. It could be through meditation, study of holy text like Vedas ans Upnishads, and most importantly Bhagwad Geeta. Apparently, here lies the need of Guru who provides the person the guidance and direction to reach to his ultimate goal(moksha).

Here, the person should perform selfless actions as per the dharma. In this sense, Dharma shows us the path of knowledge. This works on principle of duality. Adwitya (non duslity) and dwitya (duality) are two coins of this world where good and bad exists. By following the principles of duality, one can move further in attaining salvation and immortality.

Path of devotion (bhakti marg)

I have been a Krishna follower since age 5. That time, my father used tot kae me to Vrindavan. We used to go for darshan of Shri Bankey Bihari ji and then after used to come back to our home. During our visit, my father used to say “I feel blessed amd complete by coming to Vrindavan and by touching Brajraj (soil of Brij). Now, I understand his words completely.

Do you know whenever you go to religious place and sit quietly at any corner of the temple or place of worship. You must feel the divine silence in your mind and question to all your answers. Believe me, if you can feel the divinity and contentment there, you are on right path.

Coming back to our blog, to attain moksha (salvation) a person has to be honest and true to his defined karma (as mentioned in upnishads and vedas) in performing his actions and duties as a citizen, son, husband, brother, father or any other relation. Eventually, while performing his deeds, will attain the bhakti marg with divine help. The experience I told you above is an example of it. After that, the difference between the devotee and the Lord ceases to exist, and only brahman exists everywhere.

Conclusion

At the end, I would like to conclude by saying that our Karmas define our character and stepping stone to attain moksha. It is the spiritual seeking of one self and getting merged into supreme being.

Have a blessed day ahead.

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