Meaning and Implications of Karma

The word ‘karma’ is a Sanskrit word derived from the root kri, which means ‘to do’. ‘Karma’ means any action that one does. Eating, walking, sleeping, studying, working-all these and any other action can be termed ‘karma’. The rituals prescribed by the Vedas or dharmashastras are also called ‘karma’. The portion of the Vedas that discuss the rituals is called karma-kanda.

Karma also means the effects of actions. The effects of an action can also be called karmaphala but generally the word karma is used. Karma used in the sense of the effect of an action means one has to reap the fruits of whatever actions one does, across various life times. The idea of doing called kartrivta or doership and experiencing called bhoktrivta or enjoyership leads to result of one`s own actions.

Karma may be different types according to its purpose. Nithya karma is action that has to be performed every day. Naimithyaka karma is that to be performed which is specific for person concerned. Niskama karmas are those actions that are performed without purpose of gaining any personal benefit or sense of kartrivta for the general good of others.

Based on the time of fruition of the karma, it can be Sanchita, Prarabdha and Agami Karma . Sanchita karma is the package of karma due to our past actions, which have to be exhausted in our future lives. Prarabdha Karma is that portion of the past karma that has given rise to the present body and which has to be exhausted by experiencing during the present life. Agami Karma is the karma yet to be earned in the present life or in the future lives.

Karma Yoga is doing work selflessly without expecting fruits of actions performed.

Dr Mahesh Chandra Panda

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About drmcpanda

Dr.Mahesh Chandra Panda Date of Birth:29.02.1948 Qualification:M.B.B.S.,M.D. Retd. (29.02.2008) Chief District Medical Officer Bargarh Orissa India
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18 Responses to Meaning and Implications of Karma

  1. Thanks Dr Panda for referral. Concept of Karma is quite simple and extremely complicated too. If we consider “Niskam Karma”, we are supposed to do our duty sincerely. What we get in life may not be truly proportionate to our actions. There are so many tragedies, adverse events and moments of dissatisfaction in life of person, which are painful moments, person is depressed and is not able to understand, why this happened to him, in spite of all the good deeds done by him. Incidents in life are net result of activities happening in persons’ surroundings and in universe. These incidents may not be in consonance with persons’ immediate or remote actions. If person is explained that a particular adverse event may be a fruit of actions of his past life, it is easier to get consoled. Lord Krishna has explained Karm-phal, Niskam Karma etc. in detail in Shrimad Bhagwad Gita. If one follows life and keeps his thought process according to Niskam Karma, mind is more at peace. In short Niskam Karma means that one is supposed to work according to his defined duties and not bother about results of these actions. We have only control on our actions, results are beyond our control. To be at peace, one should not bother about results but focus on our actions. One should be happy in every situation and all eventualities. The concept has been well explained in your article and it is quite informative. Love To Snigdha.

    • Thanks Dr Goyal for his valuable comment on the article ‘Meaning and Implications of Karma’ that If one follows life and keeps his thought process according to Niskam Karma, mind is more at peace. In short Niskam Karma means that one is supposed to work according to his defined duties and not bother about results of these actions. We have only control on our actions, results are beyond our control.

  2. Dhandapani Muthuswamy says:

    As mentioned by Dr Goyal karma is simple as well as extremely complicated. The ways of karma is also strange. The more we understand, the more we get amazed. This article also makes me amazing. Another excellent article you have shared with us. Thanks Dr Panda ji for sharing.

    • Thanks Dhandapani ji for his valuable comment on the article ‘Meaning and Implications of Karma’ that karma is simple as well as extremely complicated. The ways of karma is also strange. The more we understand, the more we get amazed.

  3. Dr Binod Bihari Naik says:

    Respected Sir,

    I would like to explain to some extent about the meaning and implications of KARMA that has surface to deep infiltration. Actually KARMA means action at personal level for own sustenance related to daily pursuits and universal discharges related to surroundings either visible or invisible and in both the cases the nature or mode of implication by one is reflected on self. The nature of action leads to reaction and resound that is reflected back to self.Hence good action brings happiness at physical level and makes mind tranquil and one becomes upgrading for self preparation to higher level.For good physique the path of Ahstanga Yoga such as Yama, Niyama, Asana, Pranayama, Pratyahara, Dharana, Dhyana & Samadhi are essential that lead to liberation with amazing constructive reflection to society as well as nature. Good action of human being motivates the nature bound souls divested and realised to own that is cosmic soul. But bad action always lurks the soul with nature and the individual soul never be liberated and subjected to suffering and harmful to self and society. However transformation may possible when it becomes close to realised soul or graced by Almighty changing habit of action. Hence the meaning and implications of KARMA are very deep at personal level for self management of life but easiest procedure is total surrender of all actions to Almighty and it is possible by incessant Namaswaran of Almighty in every action. It is my staunch belief.

    With Regard
    Thanks
    Your Divine Brother
    Dr Binod Bihari Naik
    Bargarh, Odisha

    • Thanks Dr Binod Bihari Naik for his valuable comment on the article ‘Meaning and Implications of Karma’ that the meaning and implications of KARMA are very deep at personal level for self management of life but easiest procedure is total surrender of all actions to Almighty and it is possible by incessant Namaswaran of Almighty in every action.

  4. V Chandra Sekhar says:

    Namaste Dr.Pandaji.

    No amount of kudos would be sufficient for your lucid & clear delineation of the different types of karmas a human-being has to encounter perforce. Sir, please correct me if my understanding of the subject is right: Agami karma which we earn due to our actions in the future life are the ramifications of the Sanchita karma , that is,the package of karma due to our past actions( Can it be construed that the karmas of our present lives become the Sanchita karmas in future life.). Please throw some light on this view-point.

    Regards
    Sekhar

    • Thanks Sekharji for his valuable comment on the article ‘Meaning and Implications of Karma’. To his queries about the time of fruition of the karma, I can only reiterate my views stated in my article that ” Sanchita karma is the package of karma due to our past actions, which have to be exhausted in our future lives. Prarabdha Karma is that portion of the past karma that has given rise to the present body and which has to be exhausted by experiencing during the present life. Agami Karma is the karma yet to be earned in the present life or in the future lives”.

  5. Rajesh Kumar Panda says:

    Respected Dear Kaka,
    Pranam.

    I read the article and concluded that what ever be the past one has to think of the present for doing something good.

    Yours lovingly nephew,
    Rajesh

  6. Prakash Padhan says:

    Respected Sir,
    Pranam.

    Sorry for my late reply. I had been to Kolkata, came back yesterday night. I read your post ‘Meaning and Implications of Karma’. I knew different meaning of different karma. Niskama karma is the best as in Bhagvad Gita- ‘karmanyevadhikaraste maa falesu kadacana….’ But people generally do result oriented karma. We have prarabdha karma and agami karma as well. Past is previous form of present, future is later form of present. So present is the only time to apply our action and knowledge. A Karma Yogi is able to be in niskarma karma state, otherwise too difficult for one to attain this stage.

    Thanks a lot sir for your valuable post.
    With kind regards,
    Prakash

    • Thanks Prakash for his valuable comment on the article ‘Meaning and Implications of Karma’ that past is previous form of present, future is later form of present. So present is the only time to apply our action and knowledge. A Karma Yogi is able to be in niskarma karma state, otherwise too difficult for one to attain this stage.

  7. Purnima Panda says:

    Pranam kaka,

    Karma refers to the spiritual principle of cause and effect where intent and actions of an individual influence the future of that individual. Good deed contributes to good karma and future happiness while bad deed contributes to bad karma and future suffering. Karma seeds habits and habits create the nature of man. Karma also seeds self perception and perception influences how one experiences life events. Both habits and self perception affect the course of one’s life. The concept of Karma is well elaborated and very informative.

    • Thanks Purnima for her valuable comment on the article ‘Meaning and Implications of Karma’ that good deed contributes to good karma and future happiness while bad deed contributes to bad karma and future suffering.

  8. Kedarnath Sahu says:

    Sir,
    Namaskar.

    A nice article which enlighted about Karma. Karma means action.The karma yoga suggests the way to live in this world without getting your hand dirty with the sinful actions. The essential doctrine of karma yoga is explained in several Upanishads and in the Bhagavadgita. It is meant not only for spiritual aspirants but also for worldly people, to whom work is the way of life and who have to deal with tougher challenges and greater distractions as they are engaged in the act of living. According to the Bhagavadgita, selfish actions or desire-ridden bind men to their consequences and subject them to the cycle of births and deaths. At the same time, one cannot escape from karma by shunning their responsibilities altogether. Inaction or non-action is a solution to the problem of karma. Liberation cannot be attained by abstaining from work or by renouncing work, because it is not possible for anyone to remain inactive even for a moment. The triple gunas (sattva, rajas and tamas) are always at play in causing desires. They hopelessly drive everyone to engage in actions to fulfill their desires. Besides actions such as breathing and digestion, which are autonomous, cannot be controlled or regulated. The meaning and implications as well as important beliefs and ideas about karma, karma yoga are found in the Bhagavadgita, and how one should engage in selfless actions as a way of sacrifice and service to God.The karma yogi knows the importance of controlling his senses .The sense of doership is another area of internal reform. Actions should not be done to feed the ego or strengthen the feelings of pride and ambition.

    Wish your healthy life.
    Kedarnath Sahu
    Science Teacher
    Sohela, Dist Bargarh

  9. Madhusudan Mahunta says:

    Dear Sir,
    Namaskar.

    It is a nice article that without Karma Yoga life is meaningless. Your article is highly appreciated by society. In Odia proverb i.e. ” Karme jie Nara, Karma eka tar Jibana ra Manadanda”. Sat karma gives good result in human life. Sat karma leads life in right path.

    Madhusudan Mahunta
    Sohela,Bargarh

    • Thanks Mahunta babu for his valuable comment on the article ‘Meaning and Implications of Karma’ that Karme jie Nara, Karma eka tar Jibana ra Manadanda” ( Odia proverb ). Sat karma gives good result in human life. Sat karma leads life in right path.

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