Karma Doctrine


Why do bad things happen even to good people? Why is there so much suffering in the world?

      "Suffering is not punishment but the prize of fellowship. It is an accompaniment of all creative endeavour"; "Suffering takes us to the centre of things and away from trivialities of life".

      The doctrine of karma offers a satisfactory solution to the riddle of suffering. According to it, God's creative act is in conformity with the law of karma. Though He is omnipotent, and can violate the law of karma, he does not do so because that would be inconsistent with His moral nature and violative of the principle of natural justice.

      The Mundaka Upanishad explains creation with the allegory of different seeds sown in the earth. Just as sown seeds yield according to their kind, different plants and trees in turn yield different kinds of fruits and medicines. Just as the earth does not in any way interfere in the process of the growth of each seed, God also puts human beings in different positions according to their nature and karmas. God is not responsible for the evil, suffering and pain. Evil as well as good, are the outcome of one's own karmas of three types: Sanchita karmas, accumulated actions (from past lives as well as in this life) whose fruits have yet to be reaped; Prarabdha karmas, the karmas which have started yielding results; and Agami karmas, the future actions. Of these it is possible to avoid the consequences of Sanchita karmas and abstain from Agami karmas through religious practices and sadhana. But one cannot escape the consequences of Prarabdha  karmas which have become operative. We have to live with the negative or positive outcome of these karmas. We alone, and not God, are responsible for the outcome.


- Ashok Vohra