Ask A Hindu: How is Karma Viewed?

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By Sreedharani Nandagopal 

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.

About Sreedharani Nandagopal

Sreedharani Nandagopal followed her physician sister to Seattle in 1969. She attended University of Washington to get her Physics and engineering degree. Then, In 1975 went back to India and got married to an electrical engineering professor (Mallur Nandagopal, Ph.D.) and at the same time I received her immigrant visa. Together they returned to Seattle. In 1977 they moved to Spokane. Her husband has done some innovative things for the city of Spokane, one of them being rebuilding the Upriver Dam Hydroelectric project which produces annually
over $3 million in revenue to the city. Sreedharani taught for the Community Colleges of Spokane for 27 years and other colleges in this area including NIC. Together they do volunteer work for the schools and community at large by giving presentations about Indian culture, Hinduism, etc. They also try to educate the Spokane and the vicinity citizenry by bringing classical concerts and dance-dramas from India with the help of Rotary, Spokane Arts, Spokane city, Innovia Foundation, and many other organizations, and individual donors.

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