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Karma and Samsara


Karma is a Sanskrit word whose literal meaning is 'action'. It refers to the law that every action has an equal reaction either immediately or at somepoint in the future. Goodor virtuous actions, actions in harmony withdharma, will have good reactions or responses and bad actions, actionsagainst dharma, will have the opposite effect.
In Hinduism karma operates not only in this lifetime but across lifetimes: the results ofan action might only be experienced after the present life in a new life.
Hindus believe that human beings can create good or bad consequences for their actions and might reap the rewards of action inthis life, in a future human rebirth or reap the rewards of action ina heavenly or hell realm in which the self is reborn for a period of time.
This process of reincarnation is called samsara , a continuous cycle in which the soul is reborn over and over again according to the law of action and reaction. At death many Hindus believe the soul is carried by a subtle body into a new physical body which canbe a human or non-human form (an animal or divine being). The goal of liberation ( moksha ) is to make usfree from this cycle of action and reaction, andfrom rebirth.

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