The Role of Karma in Daily Life

July 8, 2023 (Last updated on: October 30, 2023)
A female monk is staring at you

As you navigate through the depths of this article, you will unravel the intricacies of karma – its origins, its different types, its impact on our lives, and its role in shaping our destiny.

You will learn about the fascinating link between our past, present, and future lives and how our actions create ripples in the fabric of the universe.

With a rich blend of philosophical insights and practical guidelines, this article will empower you to incorporate the wisdom of karma into your daily life.

This article is enlightening if you are interested in understanding the principles governing life and the desire to live more consciously. Immerse yourself in karma, and discover how this age-old wisdom can guide you towards a life of harmony, responsibility, and spiritual growth.

Understanding Karma

Karma, a concept deeply ingrained in various cultures and religions, is a subject that touches upon the core of human existence. Its definition is as diverse as the societies and beliefs it is part of. The universality of karma is found across different cultures, emphasizing the interconnectedness of all living beings.

The very nature of karma is intertwined with the essence of our existence. Karma refers to the deeds, actions, and intentions a human puts forth in the universe. But karma isn’t solely about activities. The thought process, the words spoken, and the desire that stirs within us all generate karma.

If we delve deeper into Hindu philosophy, we find that the concept of karma is incredibly detailed. Hindu scriptures describe three types of karma:

  1. Sanchita Karma: The accumulated karma from past lives that we are born with. It’s like a backlog of karmic actions, some of which we experience in our current life.
  2. Prarabdha Karma: This type of karma refers to a portion of the Sanchita Karma that is currently active and influencing our present life.
  3. Agami Karma or Kriyamana Karma: We create karma through our thoughts, words, and actions.

The Sanchita and Prarabdha karma, to some extent, limit our free will. However, the Agami Karma is entirely within our control, allowing us to shape our destiny through actions.

Good Karma and Its Implications

Good karma is born from pure deeds and good intentions. When aligned with goodwill and positive preferences, a person’s deeds are believed to generate good karma. Just as an apple seed gives rise to an apple tree, good deeds beget happiness and positive outcomes in life.

Good karma plays a crucial role in personal success. It is not merely about prosperity or material gains but about enriching the human spirit and promoting spiritual growth. The book “The Laws of Karma: Deeper Insight to the Esoteric Teachings of Kriya Yoga” by Goswami Kriyananda sheds light on how cultivating good deeds can lead to a fulfilling life.

It is essential to foster good karma. This involves regular spiritual practices and acts of kindness, compassion, and love. Embracing honesty and righteousness also aids in the generation of good karma.

Bad Karma and Its Repercussions

Just as good deeds generate good karma, evil deeds or actions spurred by ill intentions result in bad karma. This could include acts of violence, dishonesty, deceit, or causing harm to others.

Inanimate substances and situations don’t generate karma. Only living beings generate karma with their thoughts, actions, and intentions. Thus, good acts and bad karma are not a product of unfortunate circumstances or ill luck but rather the result of one’s own actions.

The repercussions of lousy karma are just as profound as the reap the benefits of good karma. It is believed that negative karma can lead to hardships and suffering in life. This could manifest as health issues, financial troubles, strained relationships, and overall dissatisfaction in life.

However, it’s essential to understand that karma isn’t about punishment. It’s about understanding the balance in the universe and learning from our mistakes. It’s about realizing that our actions have consequences, which helps us make better decisions and become better individuals.

Karma’s Effect on Daily Life

The karmic cycle is an unending spiral of cause and effect. It profoundly impacts life’s decisions and relationships. It may seem abstract, but karma affects your life in more ways than most people realize.

Life, as we know it, is a constant interplay of cause and effect. It’s a dynamic process of action and reaction. And at the heart of it, all lies the principle of karma.

Every decision we make, every action we take, every word we utter adds up, contributing to our karma. And this karma, in turn, influences our lives. Everything is interconnected in the grand scheme of karma, from our relationships to our careers, happiness, and struggles.

Moreover, karma isn’t just about the harmful effects of individual actions. Collective karma refers to the consequences of actions done by a group of individuals. This could be a family, a community, a nation, or even the entire human race. Just as an individual’s actions have repercussions, the collective actions of a group also bear collective outcomes.

The Concept of Past Lives and Karma

Past lives and karma are inextricably linked in Eastern spiritual traditions. Past karma, which refers to the accumulated deeds from previous lives, can significantly impact our current life.

Buddhist philosophy postulates that a person’s actions have four dimensions: mental, verbal, bodily, and livelihood. The combined karmic effect of these four dimensions determines a person’s fate, consisting of an individual soul in its cycle of birth and death.

The principle of past lives and karma is about more than just past and present. It also gives us insights into the future. It is believed that the actions we take now, the karma we create in our current life, will determine our circumstances in future lives.

This is not to imply that our past karma binds us. While it’s true that we cannot change our past actions, we have the power and the free will to shape our future by our present actions. The concept of karma empowers us to take control of our lives, encouraging us to make positive choices that foster happiness and spiritual growth in our current lifetime.

Karma: Practical Tips and Insights

Understanding karma theory is one thing, but applying it to daily life is another. It requires conscious effort, constant vigilance, and a commitment to leading a life of righteousness and virtue.

Here are some practical tips on how to make new karma and cultivate good karma:

  1. Practice kindness and compassion: Be kind, not just to others, but also to yourself. Treat others with respect and empathy. Practice compassion and understanding, even when it’s challenging.
  2. Be honest and truthful: Honesty and truthfulness are the cornerstones of good karma. Strive to be truthful in your words and actions. Avoid deceit and dishonesty.
  3. Let go of negativity: Negative thoughts and emotions can generate negative karma. Let go of anger, resentment, and jealousy. Cultivate positive emotions like love, peace, and happiness.
  4. Live mindfully: Be mindful of your thoughts, words, and actions. Remember that everything you do contributes to your karma.

Remember, the journey of karma is a lifelong pursuit. It’s not something that can be achieved overnight. It requires patience, perseverance, and a deep commitment to leading a life of righteousness and virtue. But the rewards are worth the effort. A life led by good karma is a life of peace, happiness, and spiritual fulfillment.

The Role of Intention in Karma

Intention plays a significant role in the karmic theory. According to Buddhism, the meaning behind an action determines the nature of karma it generates. An act with good intentions will create good karma, while an activity with bad choices, irrespective of its outcome, will generate negative karma.

The concept of intention underscores the profound connection between the mind and karma. It suggests that our thoughts, mental states, and physical actions contribute to our karmic reality. This insight can guide our spiritual path, encouraging us to be mindful of our thoughts and intentions, not just our overt actions.

Karma and the Path to Enlightenment

Many Eastern traditions believe understanding and mastering the karmic cycle is a key step toward enlightenment. We can generate good karma and move toward a higher spiritual plane by consciously steering our actions, words, and thoughts toward positivity.

The Spiritual Implications of Understanding Karma

The intricate philosophy of karma carries significant implications for spiritual enlightenment. Many Eastern traditions, including Buddhism, Hinduism, and Jainism, believe that mastering the understanding and application of karma is a crucial step in one’s spiritual journey. A deep comprehension of karma and its implications enables us to live our lives more consciously and purposefully, moving us progressively toward spiritual awakening or enlightenment.

The Enlightened Path through Positive Karma

The process of enlightenment is a journey of self-discovery and self-transformation. By understanding karma, we recognize that our thoughts, words, and actions have far-reaching effects. This realization leads to greater mindfulness and a conscious effort to create positive karma. When we consciously choose to generate positive energy by acting with kindness, compassion, and understanding, we navigate ourselves toward enlightenment.

The Noble Eightfold Path: A Guideline to Positive Karma

Buddhist philosophy offers an evident and structured approach to generating positive karma and progressing to enlightenment through the Noble Eightfold Path. This path provides guidelines for ethical and mindful living and is divided into three essential elements: Wisdom (Right Understanding and Right Thought), Ethical Conduct (Right Speech, Right Action, and Right Livelihood), and Mental Discipline (Right Effort, Right Mindfulness, and Right Concentration).

Karma and Ethical Living

In the context of karma, the Noble Eightfold Path guides us to live in a way that generates good karma and reduces negative karma. For instance, practicing Right Speech entails refraining from lies, slander, and harsh words, creating negative karma. On the other hand, speaking truthfully and kindly generates positive karma. Similarly, Right Action encourages us to act ethically and refrain from causing harm, which aligns perfectly with the creation of good karma.

Understanding the Law of Karma and Progressing Towards Nirvana

Finally, it’s crucial to mention that the aim of following this path is not to accrue ‘good karma’ for selfish gains. Instead, it is to cultivate wisdom, compassion, and mindfulness, thus purifying our minds and liberating us from the cycle of birth, death, and rebirth – a state referred to as Nirvana in Buddhism.

Hence, the path to enlightenment and the understanding of karma are intertwined. One can’t truly progress on their spiritual journey without understanding the impact of their actions, words, and thoughts and how they shape their reality – the very essence of karma. By cultivating a deep understanding of karma, we empower ourselves to actively steer our lives toward enlightenment.

The Concept of Karmic Debt

Karmic debt is a concept derived from the theory of karma, suggesting that the effects of past actions, good or bad, have to be experienced in the current or future lives. The aim is not to inflict punishment but to teach lessons and encourage spiritual growth.

However, it’s important to understand that karmic debt is not a life sentence. It offers opportunities for learning, growth, and redemption. By consciously acting with kindness and compassion, we can repay our karmic debts and create a positive karmic balance.

Karmic Relationships: Bonds Across Lifetimes

Karmic relationships are profound connections we form with other souls based on our karma from previous lives. These relationships might be with friends, family, or romantic partners and are often marked by a deep, unexplainable connection or attraction. These connections are not coincidental; they are formed due to past karma, thus tying individuals together across lifetimes.

The Role of Past Lives in Karmic Relationships

The nature of a karmic relationship is shaped by the actions, decisions, and behaviors that were manifested in previous lives. Unresolved conflicts, unfulfilled promises, or debt from past lives can manifest as karmic relationships in the current one. These relationships exist so we can address those unresolved issues, fulfill promises, and repay debts. The purpose is to restore balance and learn essential life lessons.

Challenges and Lessons in Karmic Relationships

Karmic relationships can often be intense and challenging. This is because they are typically driven by the need to resolve past karma, which can lead to complicated dynamics. These relationships may bring unexplainable familiarity, deep emotional resonance, immediate bonding, or irrational fear or dislike. The emotions run high, and the connections can be fraught with conflict, making them challenging.

However, these relationships are not meant to torment us. On the contrary, they offer us some of our most valuable life lessons. They push us out of our comfort zones and urge us to grow, change, and evolve. They often act as mirrors, reflecting the parts of ourselves that need healing or transformation.

Personal Growth and Spiritual Development Through Karmic Relationships

Through the trials and tribulations of karmic relationships, we experience significant personal growth and spiritual development. We learn to let go of harmful patterns, forgive, love unconditionally, and stand up for ourselves. These relationships teach us patience, tolerance, compassion, and many other virtues.

In this way, karmic relationships play a crucial role in our spiritual journey. They push us to confront our deepest fears and insecurities, prompting us to heal and evolve. These relationships often conclude once the karmic debt is settled and the lessons are learned. However, the wisdom and growth they catalyze remain, propelling us on our spiritual path.

While challenging, karmic relationships are opportunities for profound personal growth and spiritual advancement. They help us delve deeper into understanding the law of karma, its implications on our lives, and our connections with others. By navigating these relationships consciously, we can harness their potential to further our journey toward enlightenment.

Karma in the Age of Science

The comprehension and interpretation of karma have found a significant echo within the sphere of modern science. For instance, one can find a semblance between the law of karma and Newton’s third law of motion, which states that for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. This scientific principle, while initially applied to physical motion, can metaphorically represent the law of karma, where every deed (action) has a corresponding outcome (reaction).

Moreover, there are intriguing parallels between the teachings of karma and the discoveries in the field of quantum physics. Quantum physics, a branch of science that deals with discrete, indivisible units of energy known as quanta as observed in the microscopic world, concentrates on the notions of interconnectedness and the impact of the observer on the observed. These quantum phenomena echo the philosophy of karma in terms of how one’s actions (or observations) can directly influence their environment and experiences (or the observed). It opens up the perspective that all events are interlinked and that individual actions can have far-reaching effects, which is a key tenet of the concept of karma.

Understanding karma offers a profound moral and spiritual blueprint that guides our actions, decisions, and overall approach to life. It emphasizes the philosophy that we are not merely helpless victims of predetermined fate but rather active architects of our own destiny. The karma doctrine serves as a reminder that our present condition is a direct result of our past actions and that our future, in turn, is being shaped by our deeds in the present. This realization gives us the motivation to live consciously, making choices that will lead to positive outcomes and a better future.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the True Meaning of Karma?

Karma is a complex concept rooted in Eastern philosophies, primarily Hinduism and Buddhism. The word “karma” comes from the Sanskrit word “kri,” meaning action. At its core, the definition of karma refers to the law of cause and effect that governs the universe. It suggests that every action, word, and thought has consequences that shape our lives. In this sense, the true meaning of karma lies in understanding that we are the creators of our destiny.

What are the 3 Types of Karma?

According to Hindu philosophy, there are three types of karma:

  1. Sanchita Karma: This refers to accumulated karma from previous lives that a person is born with. It’s like a backlog of karma, some of which may be experienced in our current life.
  2. Prarabdha Karma: A portion of the Sanchita Karma that is currently active and influencing our present life. This is the karma that is ‘ripe’ for experiencing.
  3. Agami Karma or Kriyamana Karma: The karma we create through our actions, words, and thoughts in our present life.

What are Some Examples of Bad Karma?

Bad karma results from harmful actions, words, unintentional actions, or thoughts. Here are a few examples:

  1. Inflicting harm or violence upon others, either physically or emotionally.
  2. Dishonest actions like lying, stealing, or cheating.
  3. Being disrespectful or abusive towards others.
  4. Harboring negative feelings such as anger, jealousy, or resentment.

Remember, the intention behind these evil acts and actions contributes to bad karma.

What is the Basic Belief in Karma?

The fundamental belief of karma revolves around the principle of cause and effect. It posits that all actions, words, and even thoughts have consequences. Good actions result in good outcomes, while evil thoughts and actions lead to adverse effects. It upholds ethical responsibility and individual accountability, teaching us that we are the architects of our destiny.

How is Karma Triggered?

Our actions, words, and thoughts trigger Karma. When we act, speak, or even think, we set a chain of cause and effect in motion. This sequence of actions and reactions, both seen and unseen, shapes our lives and experiences. Thus, we are triggering karma in every moment of our conscious existence.

Does Karma Always Come Back?

Yes, according to karma, every action has a consequence. This does not mean every step will have an immediate or recognizable effect. Sometimes, the results of our previous actions may take time to manifest, or they may appear in subtle ways. Furthermore, some karma may carry over into future lives. The concept of karma suggests a cosmic balance that eventually ensures every action is accounted for.

Who Decides Your Karma?

An external deity or force does not decide Karma. Instead, it is a natural law of the universe, similar to the law of gravity. Our actions, words, and thoughts determine our individual karma too. The intention behind these actions determines whether the karma generated is good or bad. Thus, we are the masters of our karma, having the power to shape it through our conscious choices.


Understanding karma is significant as it provides a lens to view life and its many challenges. It teaches us that our actions, thoughts, and intentions have consequences, shaping our present and future lives. The spiritual path of karma reinforces the importance of living a life of righteousness, love, and compassion.

Ultimately, karma holds a mirror to human actions, reminding us that we are architects of our destiny. The journey to understanding karma is a journey toward self-discovery and spiritual enlightenment.


  1. Bhagavad Gita
  2. “Karma: A Story of Buddhist Ethics” by Paul Carus
  3. The Laws of Karma: Deeper Insight to the Esoteric Teachings of Kriya Yoga” by Goswami Kriyananda
  4. Many Lives, Many Masters” by Brian Weiss