Most people have some familiarity with the Vedic concept of karma. Many such exotic concepts entered the consciousness of Westerners during the Romantic period of the 1800's. The countercultural revolution of the 1960's reintroduced the use of these spiritual and philosophical terms, and the New Age Movement has continued the legacy.
More recently, the award-winning television series My Name Is Earl has contributed to making karma a household word. We have come to speak of good karma, bad karma, your karma, my karma. We say that something or some relationship is karmic.
However, most people use the word karma [English—action] when they are actually talking about karmaphala—the results of one's actions. There is considerable confusion as to the true meaning of karma, leading many to suppose that the information on the subject is generally inexact and speculative—a mere hypothesis incapable of definite proof.
Karma is a term borrowed from the religions native to India. Outside of its original context, the word karma has been most associated with the idea that one is the ultimate recipient of his or her actions. But some call this the law of karma. Which is it? Is it karma, the law of karma, or maybe both, or neither?
And how does it work? How does the source of the action—the actor—become its recipient? Is the law of karma a physical law, a spiritual law, or some act of God? Can or does God ever intervene when it comes to karma? What is the place of karma in religions other than those of India?
My intent here is to present the detailed mechanics of karma and the karmic cycle as they have been known for thousands of years. I intend to show how karma is expressed precisely in our lives every day and how we can make positive changes in our lives that bring the benefits we desire.
Karma is not the simple subject that many take it for. Its complexities have been preserved by the dharmic traditions of Buddhism, Hinduism, Jainism, and Sikhism. In comparative religion, the religions that originated on the Indian subcontinent are referred to as the dharmic religions. Each of these great traditions has its own particular metaphysics and offers slightly different perspectives on the topic of karma.
I mentioned here the word dharmic. Few Westerners are familiar with this closely related concept of dharma. There was the television series Dharma and Greg that ran from 1997 to 2002. More recently, there was the "DHARHA Initiative," a secret project on ABC's Lost. But dharma just hasn’t caught on like karma has.
The Indian concept dharma is a fundamental principle found in the same central Asian philosophies that brought us karma. In fact, the notion of dharma may be even more fundamental than that of karma.
At a deeper level, dharma refers to the essential truth of a being as well as the essential truth of all being. Our dharma tells us what we should be doing, and karma is the feedback we receive regarding how well we are fulfilling our dharma. In short, dharma is RESPONSIBILITY and karma is ACCOUNTABILITY.ma play in your life?