Karma in its Effect on Character

In Karma-Yoga chapter of the book ‘The Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda’ (Vol.I) based on his lectures and writings it is described that “The word Karma is derived from the Sanskrit Kri, to do; all action is Karma. Technically, this word also means the effects of actions. In connection with metaphysics, it sometimes means the effects, of which our past actions were the causes. But in Karma-Yoga we have simply to do with the word Karma as meaning work. The goal of mankind is knowledge. That is the one ideal placed before us by Eastern philosophy. Pleasure is not the goal of man, but knowledge. Pleasure and happiness come to an end. It is a mistake to suppose that pleasure is the goal. The cause of all miseries we have in the world is that men foolishly think pleasure to be the ideal to strive for. After a time man finds that it is not happiness, but knowledge, towards which he is going, and that both pleasure and pain are great teachers, and that he learns as much from evil as from good. As pleasure and pain pass before his soul they have upon it different pictures, and the result of these combined impressions is what is called man`s ‘character’. If you take the character of any man, it really is but the aggregate of tendencies, the sum total of the bent of his mind; you will find that misery and happiness are equal factors in the formation of that character”.

Dr.Mahesh Chandra Panda


About drmcpanda

Dr. Mahesh Chandra Panda, M.B.B.S.,M.D. Date of Birth:29.02.1948 Retd. (29.02.2008) Chief District Medical Officer Bargarh Orissa India
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12 Responses to Karma in its Effect on Character

  1. I have first read the excerpt on ‘Karma in its effect on character’ on May 5, 1990.

    On reading the text, then and now I have analysed the ups and downs of my life to relate how both pleasure and pain are great teachers; and had the self-realization that misery and happiness are equal factors in the formation of one`s character.

  2. Vinod Varma says:

    As Lord Krishna himself says in Bhagavath Gita, no one can sit even a moment without action (na hi kaschithkshanamapi jaathu thishtathyakarmakrth). Interestingly, we tend to assume we are doing action (prakrite kriyamaanani gunai karmaani sarvasah, ahankaara vimoodatma karthaaham ithi manyathe) without realizing no action is possible without divine will. Dedicated action untainted by play of ego and expectations leads to true joy of life.

  3. Prakash Padhan says:

    Thank you sir for your post on karma.

    Karma contributes to form one’s character. All things shall pass away,but one’s karma remains in society. Pleasure does not necessarily mean that person has peace; and peace is an internal thing. Lord Krishna says in 2nd Chapter of Bhagbad Gita-“Ashantasya kutah sukham”…”Where is the happiness without peace?”.

  4. Chandra Kumar Panda says:

    Om Sri Sainathaya Namah.

    The article on Karma in its effect on Character related to your previous article implies on the role of Karma and how it contributes to the moral and character of human beings.Aristotle says that man is born free but every where he is in chain. This indicates that in every step of life man is doing some sort of work which leads to his character.

    Yours Sincerely
    Chandra Kumar Panda

  5. Dr.Binod Bihari Naik says:

    Respected Sir,

    With reference to Topic “Karma in its Effect on Character”, I would like to say that Karma means action when applied causes reaction and ends with reflection and resound with preservation of same. It is also a rebound phenomenon called Boomerang. ‘As you sow so you reap’ is related to metaphysics though starts with physics. Hence one builds character as per law of Karma either noble or deceitful. Everybody knows Time and Tide wait for none. Needless to say all are related to God and Time is eternal to realise oneself to make career with character; because former is zero without later. Till date nobody has taken birth in this world to conquer Time. Time is God. Time in the form of watch (man-made) makes one aware to build his own fate as follows:

    W:-Words (Tongue)
    A:-Action (All limbs)
    T:-Thought (Mind)
    C:-Character (Consciousness)
    H:-Hospitality (Heart)

    Out of these five actions, Character has vital role for real enjoyment in ephemeral world to make free passage to God`s domain (Abode of bliss). One may build his career by virtue of his hard labour, remember it is for belly only and now it has become a fashion in modern civilization.

    So I would like to impart a Dictum to them as follows:
    Money comes and goes;
    But morality comes and grows.

    Thanking You,
    Your Divine Brother
    Dr.Binod Bihari Naik
    Sr.Surgery Consultant
    Bargarh Odisha

  6. Nageswara Rao says:

    Dear Sir,

    Very Nice and Learningful article on Karma in its Effect on Character. It’s true and each and every one need to agree that the character/personality of a person/individual depends on the Karma, he/she performed in their life time. Generally we are using the word “Karma Falam”; In Odia “Bina Karmare Falosunya”, “Karmakarichala kintu Falapai asha karana”,”Fala ape ape Miliba” abom “Karmabina Jevanasunya”.

    Thanks to Swami Vivekananda and Congratulation to You Sir for the realistic elaboration of the article with own experiences.

    With Regards,
    Bhubaneswar Odisha

  7. Karma yoga has been explained in detail in Gita by Lord Krishna. In simple words:Karma is action, or whatever we do all the time. Every moment spent in this world, whether enjoying or suffering, doing work for self or for service above self, working for narrow ends or for over all humanity; is part of life, character and our status in this world. Our mind perceives all these according to cult of our mind. A selfish person will be happy doing things for himself. Karma has to be appropriately balanced between self and society.

  8. Pradip Kuamr Bhoi says:

    Respected Sir,

    I read the article Karma in its Effect on Character. In Bhagwat Gita Bhagwan Sri Krishna has described about Karma Yoga, but in your article “Karma in its Effect on Character” lecture by Swami Vivekananda-“If you take the character of any man, it really is but the aggregate of tendencies, the sum total of the bent of his mind; you will find that misery and happiness are equal factors in the formation of that character” is the real knowledge gained.

    Thank You Sir.

  9. Respected Sir,
    Wish you had happy Janmastami!

    “Pleasure is not the goal of man, but knowledge”. This is the key line for us.
    Sir, your article has enlightened us about our Karma by which our personality gets reflected. It is also interesting to note that the reflection of our Karma is generated through our Character. The life-style of Swami Vivekananda is accepted as marvellous one by humanbeings of world. Sir,the last line of the article; ” misery and happiness are equal factors in the formation of that character” is accepted fact.

    Kedarnath Sahu
    Sohela Bargarh Odisha

  10. drppanda says:

    Nice interpretation sir.

  11. B.Bishnu Prasad says:

    Really it is true sir; we can not change our character without karma…

  12. Purnima Panda says:

    Pranam kaka,

    A nice article on Karma. Pleasure is not goal of man, but knowledge. This is the key line which enlighten our path. Thank u for the knowledgeable article.

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