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What is Karma?

In Hinduism, “karma” is a fundamental concept that refers to the law of cause and effect governing actions, deeds, and their consequences. It is a central belief that describes how one’s actions—whether good or bad—have an impact on an individual’s present life and future lives.

Key aspects of karma in Hinduism include:

  1. Action and Consequence: Karma suggests that every action a person performs—whether in thought, word, or deed—creates an energy that will have a corresponding effect. Positive actions generate positive outcomes, while negative actions lead to adverse consequences.
  2. Law of Cause and Effect: The law of karma operates based on the principle of cause and effect. It implies that every action initiates a reaction, and individuals bear the consequences of their actions, either in this life or in future existences (reincarnation).
  3. Influence on Rebirth (Samsara): Hinduism believes in the cycle of birth, death, and rebirth (samsara). The accumulated karma from past lives influences the circumstances of an individual’s current life, shaping their experiences and determining their future births until the cycle is broken.
  4. Freedom and Responsibility: Karma emphasizes the individual’s freedom and responsibility in shaping their destiny. People are seen as architects of their own fate through their actions, thoughts, and intentions.
  5. Purification and Liberation: Good actions (positive karma) can lead to favorable circumstances, happiness, and spiritual progress, while negative actions (negative karma) can result in suffering and obstacles. The ultimate goal is to purify karma and attain liberation (moksha) from the cycle of rebirth.
  6. Mitigation and Transformation: Hindu teachings advocate ways to mitigate negative karma through righteous living, selfless actions, practicing virtues, performing good deeds, and seeking spiritual growth. Transformation of karma is believed to be possible through sincere efforts and spiritual practices.

It’s important to note that karma is not just limited to actions but also encompasses intentions and the moral quality behind actions. Hinduism teaches that one should strive for selflessness, righteousness, and mindfulness in their actions to generate positive karma and progress spiritually towards liberation.

Karma is a significant aspect of the cosmic order in Hindu philosophy, influencing an individual’s experiences and shaping their journey toward spiritual evolution and ultimate freedom from the cycle of rebirth.

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