Karma is a Sanskrit word meaning action. Generally speaking, the use of the term is with reference to its spiritual implications and has the status of law–that which never has an exception or from which Nature never deviates. Thus as spiritual law karma references the notion that as one sews so shall one reap. This is thought to refer to good and bad effects from good and bad actions. As a matter of tradition the idea of reaping good and ill effects may obtain in this life or not and from this life or past ones. The term has been further described as having several facets:

  • Sancita karma = the sum total of all karmas of the past
  • Prarabdha karma = that effect which is ripe and ready to be experience at a particular time (life/incarnation)
  • Agama karma = that which results from planning and preparing as from schooling or training that begets employment
  • Kriya karma – that results from present or past action such as the opened doors in retirement to any foreign state a past US president enjoys
  • Fixed karma implies results that are certain to be felt or experienced
  • Non-fixed karma implies effects or results that may or may not be experienced

On karma the great Ayurvedic Vaidya from 200 B.C. called Charaka writes in the the classic foundational Buddhist Ayurveda text Charaka Samhita:

Ca. Sa. I.67-69 “At the time of dissolution, the Self gets detached from these enjoyable entities. Thus (the Self), subdued by rajas and tamas, gets manifested from the unmanifest state and then reverts to the unmanifest and thus moves continuously like a wheel (from one state to another). Those who are attached excessively to duality (pleasure and pain experiences) and are engrossed by ego are subjected to origin and destruction but not others who are contrary to them.”

Ca. Su.XI.28-31 “According to religious scriptures and those who are devoid of defects, freedom from rebirth is not mentioned for those who have not overcome their mental defects. Rebirth has been established on basis of perceiving with divine vision by early and earlier great sages who were devoted to religious scriptures, are devoid of fear, attachment, aversion, greed, confusion, and conceit; devoted to ultimate knowledge, endowed with authoritative knowledge, having practical experience and having movement of mind and intellect quite not deranged. So one should decide like that. By perception also it is observed—progeny dissimilar to parents, difference in complexion, voice physiognomy, mind, intellect and fate despite of the similar genetic source, birth is a superior and inferior clan, slavery and sovereignty, happy and unhappy life, inequality in life span, achievement of the result of the deed here, inclination of untrained ones to weeping, breast-suckling, laughing, fear, etc., appearance of marks in body parts, difference in result despite similarity in action, intellectual interest or otherwise of previous birth showing the coming back of the persons who had left the world, liking or otherwise in spite of similar face. On the same basis it is inferred that the deed of the self is unavoidable, indestructible, related to previous body, and continuing is known as “daiva” (fate). This (rebirth) is the result of that (deed). Hereafter another (birth) will also be true. Seed is inferred from fruit and vice versa.”

Ca. Sa. I.116-117 “The deeds of the past life, called fate, are known as the cause of disease arising in a given time. There is no major action, the fruit of which is not enjoyed. The diseases caused by karmas (actions) obstruct therapeutic measures and diminish only on their (karma) destruction.”