What is Karma

What is Karma


"Karma is real," "Karma hits back"; plenty of such quotes and posts roam throughout social media. However, the word karma has become a flashy phrase to say often whenever something happens, which shows the consequences of any related actions. But do we ever try to understand what karma is? Only a few of us might be knowing that how is this 5-letter word affecting our lives every single minute.

Everyone has heard this word for sure. Someone relates it to religious aspects; Others may call it a reward or punishment of our deeds in the past. Some numerous meanings and definitions help us to understand "karma" in a better way. Through this article, let's have a look at what karma is.

What is Karma?

The word karma has its origin in the late Vedic period, which means actions of our body, mind, spirit, and speech. Many of us misdefine it often that it is a result of our moral or inferior deeds. Also, there is a belief that if you face anything unpleasant, it is simply an outcome of your prior actions. But it is not the fact. We can call it a law of cause and effect or law of action and reaction.

Let's understand the law with an example: -

Neha, a college-going girl, wants to utilize her scrap time after college and study hours. She is a beginner at making sketches and wants to become a master at it. She feels to make at least half a sketch in a day in time she gets, but as soon as she reaches home from college, she sleeps, and then after doing other household chores, she doesn't feel to do anything anymore.

One day, their college announces of Interschool extra-curricular competition. Neha participates in sketch competitions without any prior practice. The moment she starts making the sketch, she finds herself clueless. At that moment, she starts regretting a lot for not practicing and not following the routine she made and quits from the competition.

So here karma comes, not any good or bad deeds of her are counted, but the actions she didn't take at the right time pushed her towards regret that can be called a reaction to it. If she would have practiced, the situation may have been far better.

We can say that the meaning of karma is that it is only the out-turn of anyone's actions. It can also be called energy that you create from your efforts and no efforts.

Bhagavad Geeta states that whatever you do never goes in vain. Each action of every human being counts. It doesn't bifurcate things as good or bad. But it is distinguished in the following four types, from which we can elaborate the karma definition more constructively.

Types of Karma in Bhagvad Geeta:

1. PRABADDHA KARMA (Matured karma)-

We cannot change the present that we are facing currently. But the actions we take can change and mold the future as we want. It means that there is still the scope for karma to be matured or make better than today.

2. SANCHITA KARMA (Stored karma)-

These are the consequences of the same actions that have been taken frequently. And because of repetition of the same actions, we face the same reactions again and not any stability at all. Here the focus is on the main idea that is not letting us change the situation.

3. AGAMI KARMA (Forthcoming karma)-

These are the reactions to actions we took in the past. We can't avoid these outcomes. This type of karma assists us to be aware of our doings in the present so that, Consequences in the future can be controlled.

4. VARTAMANA KARMA (Present karma)-

This is karma or a situation in which we are present right now. It makes you change and control your decisions and actions regularly. You can forecast the future and can take steps today to make it better.

What is the meaning of Karma?

The cycle of cause and effect is called karma. It is counted at each step we take towards something or in our daily life. Karma may have religious or psychological aspects. But our small decisions, actions, doings are also said as our karma.

Every single thing has some intention, whether for self or others. Nothing is done without any intentions, and lastly, karma is caused by some intentions and affected by its performance is defined in several ways in numerous schools. Let's understand it one by one.


It says that karma is beneficial or harmful effects derived from past actions. Its emphasis is on spreading love and peace throughout the world with our pleasant actions. In the Vedic system, it is assumed to be investments of good deeds and entrance to heaven.

Hinduism also states that we have previous lives, and now in which state we are is a result of our attainments in a previous life. Everything that you face has a reason related to your previous birth.


Buddhism gave two definitions that are karma and karmafala. It can be briefly defined as any activity driven by an intention that leads to future consequences, which will be considered in a cycle of rebirth is called 'karma.' Results or outcomes of any action are called 'karmafala.'


Jainism believes karma is physical than the spiritual aspects. It is particles fascinated to the soul by the actions of that soul.

Is Karma real?

Often, we hear the word karma, good or bad. But how much can we believe in it? If we say generally, it is accepted just like any other of the 12 laws of the universe. Karma has its social, psychological, physical aspects.

The only thing that makes us believe is when we experience it personally. If we say karma isn't real, why don't things always happen the way we want? Surely there is something that drives our good or bad intentions into actions and those actions into the same outcomes.

Let's understand with examples.

A woman in the town crashed her car into one elder's brand-new car. She blamed that man inversely and even took money from him coercing. That time the man said you will have to pay for it one day.

A decade later, a young guy did the same to her. It has also shown a time for karma. That means no matter how much time lapses, there is a time for karma, and we will have to pay for our misconduct.

Since no one can hide from karma. It is their paying that they have to suffer.

How does karma work?

We have discussed enough what karma is. Now let's have a glance at how does karma works. Karma is faultless, or we can say it is free of exceptions. No one can hide from the reactions of karma as they are a summation of all their actions. When birds are alive, they eat ants. When birds die, ants eat them. This simple example elaborates that there is nothing that this universe gave you. Karma is what we give to ourselves. Karma works this simply and smoothly.

12 Laws of Karma

Above, we discussed what does karma means and how does it affect us. Many of us may be unaware of it, but karma demonstrates itself in 12 laws. Learning, understanding, and application of these laws in our life will be extremely fruitful. Every one of us follows these laws directly or indirectly in our lives. They are as follows-

1. THE GREAT LAW (cause and effect law):

This law chiefly defines karma meaning. Simply it says that each action or deed has consequences you do. If you take positive steps, you will probably see positive outcomes, and if your doings are not positive, you will see unfavorable out-turns. Just like the law of attraction says, you get what you thought or visualize.

E.g.: - Jay's superior was angry with him and talking to him rudely even if it was not his mistake. Still, he answered all their questions calmly and explained everything politely to them. After everything gets solved, they said sorry to Jay. This is how you get what you give.


There is a saying that, "When things change inside you, things change around you." It means, if you want to make things the way you want, you need to make possible efforts for it. Nothing is going to change without zero effort. You are supposed to leave your comfort zone and make yourself comfortable in the environment you have to be present.

E.g., Shikha was pursuing MBA, but she could not focus on her studies. She was always passionate about fashion designing. So, she left her MBA now she is pursuing a fashion designing internship. She created an environment she always wanted.


The first step towards change is accepting reality. Until you accept the fact, you cannot change it. The more you try to run away from the truth, the more it will come closer to you.

E.g., Martin has a bad habit of blaming others for his mistakes and not accepting them. It leads him towards failure again and again.


Our growth never stops if we don't stop the hustle. Growth never comes from stability for that we need to keep moving and taking actions that lead to growth. Adapting to change helps us to grow. Getting well versed with the expertise, we can control the consequences of our actions.

E.g., Hardik and Mayur are two brothers. Hardik is indeed very hard working. He works part-time and pays his education bills. But Mayur is just like a useless thing in their family. Here Hardik chooses his growth all by his alone.


Here, we can say that all these 12 laws of karma are interrelated. To grow, we need to change, and to change things, we need to take responsibility for it all by ourselves. We are supposed to make moves towards our goals and have the responsibility to bear all the positive and negative circumstances.

E.g., Looking after the family's financial position, Rashid decided to work part-time. Along with his studies, he decided to take responsibility for his family all by himself.


Each connection in our life affects us directly or indirectly, whether we believe it or not. All the steps we take are crucially interconnected with each other. We should take care of it before getting into anything. Each task we do can impact us in any way.

E.g., Let’s continue the above example ahead. Rashid decided to take responsibility for his study and work altogether. He chooses to grow and make a change in their family income. So, responsibility moved him towards change and growth.


The human mind cannot focus on multiple things at a time. To get a productive outcome, we should be focused on one thing. Even while multitasking, we cannot do both simultaneously with the same focus on it.

E.g., Jack was working in a corporate firm along he was learning web development. But after few days, he couldn’t focus on any one thing. So, he decided to take weekend sessions for his course. And divided both his tasks in a skillful manner.


The one more universal law of karma says that if we believe in something universe asks us to prove our potential for it. Our activities should represent our faith in that particular thing. As we discussed above, each law is interconnected. The law of focus guides us to keep the connection between our faith and practice.

E.g.- Kartik is a freelance writer. He always says that he can do anything to make his work better and presentable. The next day he had to submit one article to his client. But unfortunately, his laptop lost all his data. Yes, Universe asks you to prove your faith if you say you believe.


To be better tomorrow, than we need to focus on today. We must leave what keeps us pulling behind and be present to get the desired results we want.

E.g., Shalin always used to daydream during lectures. Since he cannot understand a single thing from lectures. It made him clueless while practicing at home and at exams too. So, to be better at what we are doing now, we need to be here today, now.


Bhagavad Geeta says the only thing that is constant in this world is "change." When we make ourselves adaptable for changes, we magnify ourselves for growth. The rule we can follow here is an analysis of prior mistakes, promising ourselves to repeat them, finding a new path to reach the goal. One commending change can take you up at the peak of victory.

E.g., Nikhat has been transferred to Delhi from the Mumbai project. She literally couldn’t adjust herself there for more than 2 weeks. But at saturation point, she decided that I have to be patient and work. Need to adapt to me for change, and after changing her inner attitude towards things, she found everything too easy.


Nowadays, everyone expects quick rewards for what they do. Undoubtedly, we all are striving for our dreams. But only hard work doesn't get us everything. Where we are supposed to wait, we should be patient. The reward you get after a long wait gets extreme pleasure. It encourages us to hustle more.

E.g., John was looking forward to studying abroad for 2 years. But due to the COVID-19 pandemic, everything was shattered. But he decided to do the basics of his studies and entrance exam preparation at that time. And now, after 1 year, he qualified for the exam and got the scholarship in the university he always wanted.


Every recognition, appreciation we get is the result of the energy we put into something. The last karmic law says that we get rewarded, what we have worked for, hustled for. Each small contribution or move we made forward pushed us towards what we wanted.

E.g., Sid was saving from his salary for his further education. Once his father lost his job, and they didn’t have any other income source. So, Sid utilized his savings for his educational purposes.


From all the things we talked through, we can conclude that Karma is not any reward or punishment for our good or bad deeds. It is just an energy that we put into something; we get a reflection of itself. All the laws of karma also define the same. Whatever we do is related to only ourselves. Nothing forces us other than energy inside us. So, keep your karma superior to be better at life.

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