karma or karmankär´mə, kär´mən [key], [Skt.,=action, work, or ritual], basic concept common to Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism. The doctrine of karma states that one's state in this life is a result of actions (both physical and mental) in past incarnations, and action in this life can determine one's destiny in future incarnations. Karma is a natural, impersonal law of moral cause and effect and has no connection with the idea of a supreme power that decrees punishment or forgiveness of sins. Karmic law is universally applicable, and only those who have attained liberation from rebirth, called mukti (or moksha) or nirvana, can transcend it. Karma yoga (see yoga), the spiritual discipline of detachment from the results of action, is a famous teaching of the Bhagavad-Gita.
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