Tuesday March 20, 2018

Law of Karma: Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism

Although the idea of karma originated in Hinduism , all three religions ,Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism believe that every action or deed has it's own consequences

Wikimedia Commons. By Shree Diwakar Prakashan (Owner Mr. Sanjay Surana) (Website:http://www.jainbooks.in) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

The notion of karma, the belief that the actions people do in their lifetime accumulate and determine the fate of their next life. Every action we take creates the genesis, which in time will bear its consequences and repercussions.

The law of karma and “akarma” in Sanskrit is similar to the Newton’s law of action and reaction. The notion of karma emerged out of an ancient Indian wisdom tradition known as Advaita Vedanta, which translates into English as ‘nonduality’. Karma is a law in itself, which exists in its own field without the involvement of any external force.

Doctrine of Karma in different religions
Wikimedia Commons

Although the idea of karma originated in the Vedic religion(Hinduism) where it was related to the performance of rituals, all three religions (Hinduism, Jainism, and Buddhism) believe that what people do to others, comes back at them.

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Karma could be both the actions of the body or mind. Every action – deed, expression or even a thought may produce an effect in this life or the next since all these three religions believe in death and rebirth cycle.


In Hindu texts, karma was first learnt in the ancient Rig Veda and the Brahmana, but it is not until the Upanishads that karma was manifested as the principle of cause and effect based on deeds or actions.

Hindu philosophy, which believes in rebirth cycle, holds the view that if the karma of an individual is good, the next birth will be fulfilling, and if not, the person may actually devolve and degenerate into the lower chain of evolution. In order to avoid this, it is important to live the life of right conscience ie, the life shown by dharma or what is right.

And this cyclical cause of death and rebirth generates the concept of samsara. It is the nature of a human being or the jivatman, along with his actions that cause karma. The ultimate goal of Hindus is to attain liberation by evading samsara or the cycle of death and rebirth called moksha.


The theory of karma holds a firm doctrine in Buddhism. Although this notion was prevalent in India way before the arrival of Buddha. Nevertheless, it was the Buddha who explained the notion in its complete form.

“All living beings have actions (Karma) as their own, their inheritance, their congenital cause, their kinsman, their refuge. It is Karma that differentiates beings into low and high states.”

                                                – Buddha

According to the Buddhist notion of Karma, one must never be compelled to which he helplessly concede and follows blindly. But it should be driven by intention which leads to future consequences. unlike that of the Jains, Buddha’s teaching of karma is not strictly deterministic but incorporated circumstantial factors. Buddhism teaches that there are other forces besides karma that shapes our lives. These include natural forces like the changing seasons and gravity.

Thus, When the unexpected happens, the Buddhist believes that he is reaping what he has sown, and he is wiping off a past debt.


Jain doctrine of Karma is distinctive. An unlike the Hindus view of Karma which purely is the law of nature, Jains believe that deeds and thoughts attract karma and that a person’s actions from past decide the quality of life he has now. Karma in Jainism is a physical matter present throughout the universe. The soul, called the jiva, carries these karma particles from one life to the next which adhere to it. Jains seek liberation by freeing themselves from the rebirth cycle by ridding all karma attached to the jiva. They do so by following their vows and living in the right mental and physical state.

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The purpose of life in all religion is thus to minimize bad karma in order to enjoy better rebirth in the next. The ultimate spiritual goal is to achieve release (moksha) from the cycle of samsara altogether. The person who has attained moksha creates no more new karma during the present lifetime and is not reborn after death.

– by Yajush Gupta of NewsGram.



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  • Antara

    The concept of Karma has become very popular globally! People believe strongly in the consequence of every single deed.

  • Enakshi Roy Chowdhury

    do good you ll get good, do bad and u ll get back what u have done the same way!

Next Story

Life Lessons We All Should Learn From Lord Shiva

There are lot's if life lessons that one can learn from this Hindu deity

There are many life lessons that one can learn from the philosophies of Lord Shiva. Wikimedia Commons
There are many life lessons that one can learn from the philosophies of Lord Shiva. Wikimedia Commons

By Ruchika Verma

  • Lord Shiva is the supreme Hindu Deity
  • He is a symbol of peace and tranquillity
  • There are lot’s if life lessons that one can learn from this Hindu deity

Lord Shiva as everyone knows is a Hindu God. He is one of the Trinity and is the principal deity of Hinduism.  God Shiva is considered the “destroyer of evil and the transformer” of the world. The Birth and history of Lord Shiva are topics of great discussions and confusions.

Lord Shiva is one of the principle deity of hinduism. Wikimedia Commons
Lord Shiva is one of the principle deity of Hinduism. Wikimedia Commons

Lord Shiva is known to have no end and no beginning, yet, the origin of his birth is a much sought-after topic for several generations. Many ‘Puranas’ claims Shiva to be ‘aja’ meaning the one who has no birth. Some other scriptures claim that Lord Shiva was born out of Lod Narayana or Lord Vishnu. However, the authenticity of all the claims remain unclear, and there is still a solid mystery which surrounds the origin and birth of Shiva.

Shiva is also known Mahadev, i.e., the gods of all gods and rightly so. Throughout the Hindu mythology, Shiva has been portrayed as a tranquil and peaceful figure who grants all prayers of his followers and devotees. His another name is ‘Bhole Bhandari’ because of his innocent nature.

Lord Shiva is known for his peace and tranquillity. Pixabay
Lord Shiva is known for his peace and tranquillity. Pixabay

However, other than his peaceful nature, the other thing Lord Shiva is famous for is his flaring temper. Indian mythology is full of stories about Lord Shiva causing mass destruction due to his anger. The opening of his third eye is said to cause mass destruction.

Also Read: Enigmatic Mount Kailash: The abode of Lord Shiva

Lord Shiva’s appearance is a beautiful shade of blue because of him consuming the poison from the sea to save the world. However, just like his body is shades of blue there are many shades to his personality as well. Here are few life lessons of Lord Shiva that we all need to take a note of.

  • Come what may never tolerate the evil. Being destroyer of the evil himself, Shiva teaches us to never tolerate or bow down in front of the evil.
  • Self-control is the key to living a fulfilled life. Excess is of everything is bad and losing control ourselves is worse. One should always have a control over themselves to live a successful and fulfilled life.
  • Materialistic happiness is temporary. To be happy, be adjustable like water. Shiva says that attaching our happiness to earthy, material things won’t give us long-lasting happiness.
  • Keeping calm is very important. Lord Shiva used to meditate for hours and is easily the epitome of calmness and that’s what he advocates too.
  • Desires lead to destruction. Shiva believes that desires lead to obsessions which in turn leads to destruction. Never desire more than what you deserve. Be happy with what you have and work hard for what you want to achieve.
  • Respect your family. Lord Shiva is husband to Goddess Parvati and father to Lord Ganesha and Lord Kartikeya. He respected his children and especially wife a lot. Respecting one’s  family is very important for living a successful life.
  • Control your ego and let go of pride. Ego prevents us from achieving greatness. Let go of your pride and control your ego to live a fulfilled life.
  • Everything is temporary. Everything in this world is temporary. Time changes as do we and our choices and desires. It is better to let go of all the ‘moh maya’ and live in the moment happily with what we already have.