Karma & Dharma in Hinduism

Hindus believe that if our actions are pious, we walk a path of righteousness that leads us closer to God.
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According to Hinduism, karma is seen as a person's actions bringing about either positive or negative results in the current life or in a future life through reincarnation. In other words, a person's deeds and behavior are reflected in his life circumstances. Dharma refers to religious law, moral duty and the essential character of the cosmos, as well as a person's individual nature.

1 Karma

Karma is a Sanskrit word meaning "act" or "deed." More precisely in Hinduism, karma refers to the universal principle of cause and effect. It is also referred to as action and reaction. "As you sow, so shall you reap" is another way of expressing the law of karma. In Hindu religion, karma refers to the consequences that human beings create through their own actions.

2 Types of Karma

According to Hindu teachings there are three types of karma. Prarabdha karma is karma that is experienced during a person's current lifetime. Sancita karma is stored karma that has not reached fruition yet. Agamin, also known as sanciyama karma, is karma that has been sown in the current life, but not reaped until a future life.

3 Reincarnation

Reincarnation refers to the cycle of birth, death and rebirth. Hinduism explains that karma ties into the concept of reincarnation through the belief that not all karma is immediate. Karma accumulates and the consequences of a person's actions may not return to that person until a future lifetime. The actions of previous lives shape the conditions and circumstances of subsequent lives. A person is liberated from the cycle of reincarnation once he has realized God and his karma has been resolved.

4 Dharma

According to Hinduism, dharma is the power that runs the universe. Dharma is the divine law that governs all of creation. Dharma also refers to duty, morality and virtue. As well, Dharma applies to an individual soul path. When we live in accordance with the divine law of dharma, we are in harmony with truth and move toward spiritual advancement. Dharma is the code of conduct, ethics and moral obligation that leads an individual closer to God when right action is practiced in harmony with this divine law.

Darlene Zagata has been a professional writer since 2001, specializing in health, parenting and pet care. She is the author of two books and a contributing author to several anthologies. Zagata attended the Laurel Business Institute to study in the medical assistant/secretarial program. She earned her associate degree through the U.S. Career Institute.