Saturday December 15, 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

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

KARMA IN HINDUISM

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.

KARMA IN BUDDHISM

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.

KARMA IN JAINISM

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

Puja for The Spiritualism, Not for Vulgar Entertainment

The westerners practicing Hinduism have learned a pretty well from our "scriptures" and are becoming more spiritual while we just locked up those "holy books" only in the drawers of the altar. Thus we only love to shake our “butts to the boom-boom of Bollywood”.. right in front of the Gods' idols !!!

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Hinduism
he westerners practicing Hinduism have learned a pretty well from our "scriptures"

By Salil Gewali

Any auspicious days in Hinduism are expected to be observed with a complete purity of action and thought. The same holds true for other religions too. As per the Hindu scriptures, the believers are required to stay away from any kind of sense gratifications, particularly when the specific days are dedicated to Gods and Goddess such as Navratri, Laxmi Puja, Krishna Janmashtami, Shivaratri, to name a few. The pathway to devotion and spiritualism should not be “desecrated” by the blot of the brazen entertainment. The scriptures logically explain why it is antithetical, and its adverse consequences.

Hindusim
Incidentally, the Bhagavad Gita describes such situation as the rise of “tamasic vibes”.

 But, what a huge irony, rather a blasphemy that many people these days have started to choose the auspicious days of Gods to satisfy their base senses. Without a wee bit of regret, a certain class of people holds almost every auspicious day as the most “unmissable” occasion to booze with the friends, and what not, and stagger back home, lol! Such bizarre practices are fast catching now than ever.  Sadly, hardly any conscious people and spiritual organizations stand up and take the right measures to check such godless deviations.

What is quite unpleasant is that such a kind of unholy practices are often being facilitated by certain “Hindu intuitions” as well. On this past Laxmi Puja, the “propitious time” to perform the ritual had fallen between 6 PM to 7:53 PM. Yours truly decided to use that span of time for meditation. But hell broke loose. Apart from fireworks around, the Bollywood songs in high decibel burst forth from a certain Hindu institution quite frustrated the mission.

Hindusim
Sadhu Sanga Retreat, 2016

 One senior citizen laments – “Nothing could be irreligious than the fact that a favorable time for “puja” is also being used for the wrongful purposes. We rather expect the “Hindu institutions” to teach our children Bhajan, Kirtan, and other spiritual activities, not the loud and feverish parties and disturb others.”

Another college student adds “Having been much disturbed by the noise pollution, I have persuaded my parents to shift our place of residence to elsewhere, not at least near holy places with an unholy mission. I have started to see such institutions with the eyes of suspicion these says.” Is it that our institutions are unable to use their “discretion”, and as a result, they fail to differentiate between right and wrong?  One is deeply apprehensive that Bollywood songs and vulgar dances might as well be included as a part of the “puja ritual” as we have long accepted the fun of fireworks bursting as an integral part of Laxmi Puja which in fact is just an entrenched “misconception”.

Hinduism
Hinduism is expected to be observed with a complete purity of action

Needless to say, our roar for consumerism has almost drowned the whisper of inherent spiritualism. We are only just sending out the wrong messages. I’m afraid, the whole culture itself might be looked down with derision by other faiths. It might just become a subject of ridicule! It is no exaggeration, such negative notions against the “wrong practices” are all what we often read these days in several newspapers and social media. Do we want others to demean our profound spiritual heritage thus?  I believe it calls for a serious soul-searching.

Incidentally, the Bhagavad Gita describes such situation as the rise of “tamasic vibes”.  It warns in the strongest terms that mankind should absolutely be careful not to fall under the influence of any short-lived sense gratifications. Or else, our endeavor to “practice and preserve” the sanctity of a religion/spiritualism will be a futile exercise.

However, on the other hand, the westerners practicing Hinduism have learned a pretty well from our “scriptures” and are becoming more spiritual while we just locked up those “holy books” only in a drawer of the altar. Thus we only love to shake our “butts to the boom-boom of Bollywood”.. right in front of the Gods’ idols !!!

Salil Gewali is a well-known writer and author of ‘Great minds on India’.

Twitter:@SGewali.