In English we are studying Indian literature and the teacher can’t explain to me exactly what karma is. I understand dharma but I don’t understand what karma is/how it is related to dharma. I’m trying to write a paper on this and I’m having a LOT of trouble. If anyone can help me out it would be very appreciated. Thanks
Dharma–teaching or religion; honor or status
Karma–Law of Cause and Effect
So in a nutshell, Dharma is the all-encompassing Hindu teachings or scripture while Karma is the part of the Dharma that says “Do bad things and bad things will happen to you.”
Shoot, now I have Boy George singing in my head.
Shiva, thank you so much!
(You got Boy George in my head too!)
George Harrison said that Bob Dylan’s lines
Look out kid
It’s somethin’ you did
God knows when
But you’re doin’ it again
are about karma.
Seriously, karma simply means what you do. It’s from the verbal root k.r meaning ‘to do’. Deeds, actions.
In A Concise Dictionary of Indian Philosophy by John Grimes, the entry for karma takes up 3 pages and has 13 definitions depending on the various schools of thought. The first one is the most basic: “The accumulated effect of deeds in lives, past and present.”
To add: Karma is a sequence of action that has results, positive and negative; sometimes beyond what we view as a lifetime. Dharma is wisdom passed down by folks who know a bit and care to share, that can give you a leg up on not making some of the more unlucky choices that can result in bad Karma.
Right might nice of 'em to care!
To help you a bit more with your paper, shimmery, I’ve found that Huston Smith has a wonderful way of explaining complex and multiform Eastern theology. A basic primer is The World’s Religions. Anything with his name is a good read, though.
Dharma is a character on an ABC sitcom; Karma is an album by the group Delerium.