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Karma – the universal principal of cause and effect

Karma is the universal principal of cause and effect, which governs all consciousness. All deeds, thoughts, vibrations of any sort, are ruled by a law that demands perfect rebound.

cause and effect

The concept of karma lies at the very heart of Buddhist and Hindu philosophy. The word comes from Sanskrit kri, meaning ‘to do’. Karma is not fate, for we have free will to create our own destinies; but the result of action. The consequence or fruit of an action is part of the action, and cannot be separated: sooner or later it returns upon the doer, either in this life or in a future one. According to the Vedas, a person consists of desires and, as is his desire, so Is his will. As is his will, so Is his deed. It is complex to predict which karma will yield exactly which result, but generally ‘as you sow, so shall you reap’.

All living creatures are bound by the laws of karma. We humans are said to produce it through thoughts, works, actions that we perform ourselves or though actions other perform under our instructions. Everything we have ever thought, spoken, done or caused is karma, as is everything we are thinking, speaking or doing this very moment. The innumerable karmic seeds we create will produce a positive or negative result, sooner or later in this life, or some future one.


This is accumulated karma from all previous births yet to be resolved – the sum of yet unrealized karmas committed during previous existences. This is your total cosmic debt. At every moment an individual is either adding to or educing his or her cosmic debt. It would be impossible to experience and endure all karmas in one lifetime, so it needs to be fulfilled in your future births until the balance is exhausted. The imprints we inherit from past lives create our personality, inclinations and talents. Our likings, abilities, attitudes and inclinations are based on the thought and actions of past lives.

From the stock of acquired karma a handful is taken to serve one lifetime, the present karma, which is for ‘action that has been unleashed or aroused’. It also refers to the action that manifests now. It is the portion of acquired karma that was earned in the past and is already occurring. The karmas of destiny are like arrows already in flight; it is almost impossible to change their direction. You cannot erase this karma, you must go through it, because it is already in process with no way to change it.


This is the karma of the present life over which we have control. It embraces everything that we produce in this life. Through it we create our karma for this life and lifetimes to come. Some Approaching karmas bears fruit in the current life; the rest is stored for future births as Aquired karma. While we are free to choose our action, our old tendencies and habits (from acquired and present karma) influence Approaching karma. An individual fully aware of his actions can choose the good karma that will yield good future results.


Karma is infinite. Every habit is karma. The result can be good or bad, depending on perception. Being aware of our tendencies may help to bring them under control. But karma that has already yielded a result (or is in the process) cannot be changed. So present karma must be endured. However, spiritual masters believe it is possible to erase acquired karma through practice that help us to make right choices: prayer, meditation and selfless service. Approaching karma can be erased through greater awareness.

To conclude, all individual soul must experience karma if they live in the phenomenal universe. To escape the cycle of life, death and rebirth, the individual must exhaust his karma and realize his true self as the highest truth of oneness.

wheel of life