Meaning of Karma from the Ved and Puranas and also the Shocking Scientifical Reasons Behind it!
People often say that “You will face your own karma someday” and “you get what you give, whether it’s good or bad” and so many other things related to karma, which stages it in many ways. Some people don’t believe in it, and some people do.
But, a lot of people don’t know what exactly is the concept of “karma”. So, what exactly karma is and where did the idea of karma come from? And some other questions will be answered here.
Karma (Sanskrit: deZ, kɑːrmə ) means “action”. The general meaning of karma is that it refers to the principle of spiritual causality were actions of an individual, whether good or bad influence their future. While performing good actions have a positive effect on the future, evil deeds contribute to a negative outcome of the future.
But, karma has a close relationship with the rebirth concept, which is an idea of several Indian religions such as Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism, and Sikhism and one other Non-Indian religion that is Taoism.
Karma or your deed pays off in the present life as well as affects your future lives. The nature and the quality of life are affected by karma, both in the same life as well as the afterlife.
More precisely, karma is the executed “act” or “deed” etc.as well as an object, the “intent”. Another Sanskrit word kriya is the activity along with the steps and effort in action was contrasted by Wilhelm Halbfass to explain karma.
However, karma is a little bit more complicated than that, karma is an executed action which is a consequence of the activity and also comprises the intention of the “actor” behind the action.
Karma refers to an action in the Vedic texts, later it also defined as the reaction of action and consequences of choices that we make in our lives. Hence, our present life is basically an outcome of the actions of our previous life.
Jainism, Buddhism, Hinduism and Sikhism, all of them comprises the concept of rebirth. Which leads them to have a principle called karma which basically decides based on your actions, what kind of life would you live in the next life?
Religious and Cultural Significance
In Buddhism, there is a small story where Gautam Buddha was asked by a young truth-seeker that; “What is the cause, what is the reason, O Lord,” questioned he, “that we find amongst mankind the short-lived and long-lived, the healthy and the diseased, the ugly and the beautiful, those lacking influence and the powerful, the poor and the rich, the low-born and the high-born, and the ignorant and the wise?” So, the Buddha’s reply to this question was:
“All living beings have karma as their own, their inheritance, their fundamental cause, their kinsman, their refuge. It is karma that differentiates beings into low and high states.”
In simple words, Gautam Buddha explained what karma is and why.
Sikhism is one of the Indian religions which has a concept of karma. Sikhs have a belief that there exists a cycle of birth, life, and rebirth. Also, for them, the law of karma is what on which this belief depends. They say that this cycle of life goes on and on until the ultimate knowledge of God and union with God is achieved. This cycle is often regarded as painful by almost all faiths.
Jainism is one of the Indian religions, which has the principle of karma. In Jainism, karma is what forms the basis of the transmigration of the soul. The cycle of rebirth is a trap where the soul is swirling in the temporal world (saṃsāra) until it finally accomplishes liberation (mokṣa). And liberation can only be achieved by following a path, a path of purification.
Jainism has an interesting take on karma, it believes that karma is a physical entity. Karma is everywhere in the universe. Its particles get attracted to the soul by the actions of that soul. When we think, do or say things, these karma particles are attracted to the soul.
Karma is pollution that smears the soul with colors or karmic matter (leśyā). Reincarnation in various of existence like heaven and hell or as humans or animals is what a soul goes through.
Inequality, pain, sufferings, injustice is evidence for the existence of karma as Jains believe and so do other religions.
Now the religion that started all this, Hinduism. In Hinduism, karma is a concept or a principle in which the soul’s (atma’s) reincarnated lives are affected by the actions of that soul’s previous life, forming a cycle of rebirth.
The word karma was found in the Rigveda. Rigveda is an ancient Indian collection of Vedic Sanskrit Hymns. It is one of the four sacred canonical texts of Hinduism known as the Vedas. Hindus believe that karma governs all consciousness.
Bhagavad Gita is where karma first appears strongly and is also mentioned in Puranas.
Karma is everything we have ever spoken, thought, done or caused. There are three kinds of karma, according to the Hindu scriptures, and those are:
Sanchita karma (heaped together) is the sum of one’s past karmas. Out of this, we chose a handful of karmas that we experience in the present life.
Prabadha karmas are the parts of sanchita karma. They are a collection of past karmas, which are ready to be experienced in the present life. The segment of the past karmas which is responsible for the present incarnation.
Kriyamana karma is what we do, think, say, and cause in our present life. Everything that is caused by the action of the present body is kriyamana karma. All the kriyamana karma goes to the collection of sanchita karma and, as a result, shape our future. After death, we lose the ability to act that is Kriya Shakti and do kriyamana karma until we are born as a human again.
Discrimination between right and wrong is what leads us to act. Therefore some people believe that only humans can do kriyamana karma. Animals and children are incapable of distinguishing between right and wrong. Consequently, they don’t create new karma.
In Shrimad Bhagavad Gita, there is a shlok 47 in chapter 2 that states that “Do your duty without thinking of the consequences (karma Karo fal ki chinta mat Karo)”.
This shlok means that you should not worry about your actions, all you can do is decide what to do, distinguish between right and wrong according to your own understanding. Because what will happen next, year, era, or life is not just about that one action.
Your future’s outcome is based on all the karma you have performed in all your past lives. Therefore, worrying about the fruit or the outcome of your deed is not going to make you choose the right thing because even the thing which seems right to you can be the wrong thing for someone else.
The foundation on which Dharma is built upon is karma. But karma is complex. Therefore Dharma remains ambiguous, which is famously known as (Dharma Sankat).
Law of karma can be compared with Newton’s third law of motion which states that “Every action has an equal and opposite reaction”. Thus Newton’s law works on the physical entities. Still, if it works on the cosmic energies, then there might be some chance of proving karma using science. In one research paper, the law of karma has been proven using mathematical set theory by Jargal Dori.
Karma is one of the many concepts that have a major impact on the minds of mankind but do not have any physical proof of existence. Law of karma, according to Buddhism, what happens to us is ultimately due to our own influence.