By Kamlesh Tripathi
Why do Hindus believe in these two doctrines? One being karma and the other being reincarnation. Because these doctrines not only explain the unusual occurrences logically. They also shed light on day-to-day events of life. Hindus do not consider life and death to be mutually exclusive. But intertwined and inseparable. Like the two sides of the same coin. If there are disparities between two individuals at the time of birth, and if we can see these disparities. Then the cause for these disparities must have preceded their birth.
- Karma: The word karma means “action.” In accordance with the cosmic laws of karma. Each individual reaps the fruits of his actions, performed in this lifetime or in former lives. This logically explains the disparities in creation, between various individuals, environments and situations. No deed, small or great, good or bad, can be without an effect—this essentially is the law of karma, the law of casualty. In fact one begins to feel as if Newton’s 3rd law of motion—‘to every action there is an equal and opposite reaction’ was drawn out of the doctrine of karma.
- Karma is no fate. Fate implies helplessness in a human being, to determine his own destiny. The law of karma states that the individual is the creator of his own destiny, because his conscious choices in life determines his actions and the fruits thereof.
- Reincarnation: Hindus believe that the jiva, or the individual being, travels from life to life. Acquiring bodies and environments best suited to exhaust his vasanas (vices) or innate tendencies that are expressed as desires, emotions, and actions. The exhaustion of vasanas allows the jiva to reach his ultimate goal: complete freedom from the cycle of birth and death through the realization of his true nature as the Self, or Brahman.
—synopsis from a book on Hinduism—by Chinmaya Mission Trust—