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How is Karma viewed in Hinduism?
Karma and Dharma are the Sanskrit words that are like the two sides of coin, with two words giving the foundation for Hinduism or Sanathana Dharma (meaning eternal order of righteousness). Hindus believe that if our actions are pious, we walk a path of righteousness that leads us closer to God. Depending on the Dharma of a person, that person will reap the benefits or suffer the consequences which are called his Karma.
“Karma” literally means “action,” in Sanskrit and more broadly names the universal principle of cause and effect, action and reaction, which Hindus believe governs all consciousness. Karma is not fate, for we act with what can be described as a conditioned free will creating our own destinies.
According to Hinduism, karma is seen as a person’s actions bringing about either positive or negative results in the current life or in a future life through reincarnation. In other words, a person’s deeds and behavior are reflected in his life circumstances. Dharma refers to religious law, moral duty and the essential character of the cosmos, as well as a person’s individual nature.