Chapter

Karma

Arvind Sharma

in Modern Hindu Thought

Published in print December 2005 | ISBN: 9780195676389
Published online October 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199081974 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195676389.003.0012
Karma

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In pre-modern Hinduism, karma was sometimes equated with fatalism. Modern Hinduism has rejected this notion by reasoning that the doctrine of karma views man himself as the architect of his life. This is the very opposite of fatalism and eliminates chance or caprice. Nevertheless, modern Hindus still believe in fate. Modern Hinduism is aware of the tendency to confuse karma with resignation. A new idea espoused by modern Hinduism is evolution. According to the doctrine of karma, one's experiences in life involve predetermination, but the extent of such predetermination is a matter of conjecture. Based on this position, three key interpretations can be identified within the Hindu tradition: maximalist, moderate, and minimalist. The maximalist view provides for the operation of free will. In the context of moksa, the concept of karma is both forward-looking and backward-looking.

Keywords: karma; Hinduism; free will; predetermination; fatalism; moksa

Chapter.  4423 words. 

Subjects: Hinduism

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