The word karma literally means 'deed or action,' but implies the entire cycle of cause and its effects. According to the Law of Karma, every human action-in thought, word, or deed-inevitably leads to results, good or bad, depending upon the moral quality of the action. There is no such thing as action without results. "As we sow, so shall we reap," is the unerring law which governs all deeds. The Law of Karma conserves the moral consequences of all actions, and conditions our future lives accordingly. We ourselves create our future destinies by our own choices each minute. Every child born in this world is born to work out its own past deeds.
The doctrine of karma is the answer provided by Hindus to the questions of why suffering and inequalities exist in the world: "Why should one person be different from another in his looks, abilities, and character? Why is one born a king and another a beggar? A just and merciful God cannot create such inequalities." The doctrine of karma, a law of actions and their retribution, can be viewed as the law of causation (cause and effect) applied to the moral realm. The law that every action has a reaction works in the scientific world as well as in the moral world.
The doctrine of karma is based upon the principle of cause and effect. This doctrine of cause and effect differs from the Christian notion that God punishes the wicked and rewards the virtuous. The underlying basis for this difference is that Hindu religion is a god-loving religion rather than a god-fearing one.
Karma is neither predestination nor fatalism. Fatalism and predestination imply that individuals are bound by circumstances or by some outside power and, as such, cannot free themselves with their own effort. That is exactly opposite of karma. The Law of Karma is actually the law of harmony and equilibrium. It adjusts wisely, intelligently and equitably each effect to its cause. But, it is also the law of opportunity, which allows an individual to change his past for a better future. If we understand karma as the law of order and opportunity, we will become self-reliant and understand that we cannot and should not escape responsibility.
Author : Shri Bansi Pandit