Define karma and explain its relationship to samsara

Central Concepts: Dharma, Moksha, Karma, Samsara

define karma and explain its relationship to samsara

Hinduism - Karma, samsara, and moksha: Hindus generally accept the doctrine of In one prevalent view, the very meaning of salvation is emancipation occupational, and age-defined roles that are requisite to maintaining the health of was content to regard marriage as the female equivalent of initiation into the life of. This article explains the Hindu concepts of Atman, Dharma, Varna, Karma, Samsara, Purushartha, Moksha, Brahman, Bhagavan and Ishvara. It is too simplistic to define Hinduism as belief in many gods or 'polytheism'. In Hindu and Buddhist practice, samsara is the endless cycle of life and death is an autonomous being instead of recognizing the connection between one's self its unpredictability—people are unaware of how the actions or karma in their.

One may learn this lesson by different means: Dharma and the three paths Hindus acknowledge the validity of several paths marga s toward such release. These ways are regarded as suited to various types of people, but they are interactive and potentially available to all.

The Bhagavadgita states that because action is inescapable, the three paths are better thought of as simultaneously achieving the goals of world maintenance dharma and world release moksha. The designation of Hinduism as sanatana dharma emphasizes this goal of maintaining personal and universal equilibriumwhile at the same time calling attention to the important role played by the performance of traditional religious practices in achieving that goal.

Because no one person can occupy all the social, occupational, and age-defined roles that are requisite to maintaining the health of the life-organism as a whole, universal maxims e. Brahmans priestsKshatriyas warriors and noblesVaishyas commonersand Shudras servants. These four categories are superseded by the more practically applicable dharmas appropriate to each of the thousands of particular castes jatis. In principle then, Hindu ethics is exquisitely context-sensitive, and Hindus expect and celebrate a wide variety of individual behaviours.

The polarity of asceticism and sensuality, which assumes the form of a conflict between the aspiration for liberation and the heartfelt desire to have descendants and continue earthly life, manifests itself in Hindu social life as the tension between the different goals and stages of life. For many centuries the relative value of an active life and the performance of meritorious works pravrittias opposed to the renunciation of all worldly interests and activity nivritihas been a much-debated issue.

define karma and explain its relationship to samsara

While philosophical works such as the Upanishads emphasized renunciation, the dharma texts argued that the householder who maintains his sacred fire, begets children, and performs his ritual duties well also earns religious merit. This concept was an attempt to harmonize the conflicting tendencies of Hinduism into one system.

It held that a male member of any of the three higher classes should first become a chaste student brahmacharin ; then become a married householder grihasthadischarging his debts to his ancestors by begetting sons and to the gods by sacrificing; then retire as a vanaprasthawith or without his wife, to the forest to devote himself to spiritual contemplation; and finally, but not mandatorily, become a homeless wandering ascetic sannyasin.

Dharma is the power that maintains society, it makes the grass grow, the sun shine, and makes us moral people or rather gives humans the opportunity to act virtuously. But acting virtuously does not mean precisely the same for everyone; different people have different obligations and duties according to their age, gender, and social position.

Dharma is universal but it is also particular and operates within concrete circumstances. Each person therefore has their own dharma known as sva-dharma.

What is correct for a woman might not be for a man or what is correct for an adult might not be for a child. The importance of sva-dharma is illustrated well by the Bhagavad Gita. This text, set before the great battle of the Mahabharata, depicts the hero Arjuna riding in his chariot driven by his charioteer Krishna between the great armies. The warrior Arjuna questions Krishna about why he should fight in the battle. Surely, he asks, killing one's relatives and teachers is wrong and so he refuses to fight.

Krishna assures him that this particular battle is righteous and he must fight as his duty or dharma as a warrior. Arjuna's sva-dharma was to fight in the battle because he was a warrior, but he must fight with detachment from the results of his actions and within the rules of the warriors' dharma.

define karma and explain its relationship to samsara

Indeed, not to act according to one's own dharma is wrong and called adharma. Correct action in accordance with dharma is also understood as service to humanity and to God. The idea of what has become known as sanatana dharma can be traced back to the puranas - texts of antiquity. Those who adhere to this idea of one's eternal dharma or constitution, claim that it transcends other mundane dharmas - that it is the para dharma, the ultimate dharma of the self.

It is often associated with bhakti movements, who link an attitude of eternal service to a personal deity. Now exhibited in the Horniman Museum, London.

define karma and explain its relationship to samsara

This is called varnashrama-dharma. In Hindu history the highest class, the Brahmins, adhered to this doctrine. The class system is a model or ideal of social order that first occurs in the oldest Hindu text, the Rig Veda and the present-day caste jati system may be rooted in this.

The four classes are: Brahmans or Brahmins - the intellectuals and the priestly class who perform religious rituals Kshatriya nobles or warriors - who traditionally had power Vaishyas commoners or merchants - ordinary people who produce, farm, trade and earn a living Shudras workers - who traditionally served the higher classes, including labourers, artists, musicians, and clerks People in the top three classes are known as 'twice born' because they have been born from the womb and secondly through initiation in which boys receive a sacred thread as a symbol of their high status.

Hinduism - Karma, samsara, and moksha | cypenv.info

Although usually considered an initiation for males it must be noted that there are examples of exceptions to this rule, where females receive this initiation. The twice born traditionally could go through four stages of life or ashramas. The ashrama system is as follows: Brahmacarya - 'celibate student' stage in which males learned the Veda grihastha - 'householder' in which the twice born male can experience the human purposes purushartha of responsibility, wealth, and sexual pleasure Vanaprastha - 'hermit' or 'wilderness dweller' in which the twice born male retires from life in the world to take up pilgrimage and religious observances along with his wife Samnyasa - 'renunciation' in which the twice born gives up the world, takes on a saffron robe or, in some sects, goes naked, with a bowl and a staff to seek moksha liberation or develop devotion Correct action in accordance with dharma is also understood as service to humanity and to God.

The idea of what has become known as sanatana dharma can be traced back to the puranas. It is often associated with bhakti movements, who propose that we are all eternal servants of a personal Deity, thus advocating each act, word, and deed to be acts of devotion. In the 19th Century the concept of sanatana dharma was used by some groups to advocate a unified view of Hinduism.

In order to see this content you need to have both Javascript enabled and Flash installed. It refers to the law that every action has an equal reaction either immediately or at some point in the future.

define karma and explain its relationship to samsara

Good or virtuous actions, actions in harmony with dharma, will have good reactions or responses and bad actions, actions against dharma, will have the opposite effect. In Hinduism karma operates not only in this lifetime but across lifetimes: Hindus believe that human beings can create good or bad consequences for their actions and might reap the rewards of action in this life, in a future human rebirth or reap the rewards of action in a 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 can be a human or non-human form an animal or divine being.

define karma and explain its relationship to samsara

The goal of liberation moksha is to make us free from this cycle of action and reaction, and from rebirth. Purushartha Purushartha Hinduism developed a doctrine that life has different goals according to a person's stage of life and position. These goals became codified in the 'goals of a person' or 'human goals', the purusharthas, especially in sacred texts about dharma called 'dharma shastras' of which the 'Laws of Manu' is the most famous.

In these texts three goals of life are expressed, namely virtuous living or dharma, profit or worldly success, and pleasure, especially sexual pleasure as a married householder and more broadly aesthetic pleasure. A fourth goal of liberation moksha was added at a later date.

Introducing Hinduism: Karma, Samsara, Moksha

The purusharthas express an understanding of human nature, that people have different desires and purposes which are all legitimate in their context. Over the centuries there has been discussion about which goal was most important. Towards the end of the Mahabharata Shantiparvan Vidura claims that dharma is most important because through it the sages enter the absolute reality, on dharma the universe rests, and through dharma wealth is acquired.

Samsara, Karma, Nirvana

One of the brothers, Arjuna, disagrees, claiming that dharma and pleasure rest on profit. Another brother, Bhima, argues for pleasure or desire being the most important goal, as only through desire have the sages attained liberation.

This discussion recognises the complexity and varied nature of human purposes and meanings in life. Brahman and God Brahman Brahman is a Sanskrit word which refers to a transcendent power beyond the universe. As such, it is sometimes translated as 'God' although the two concepts are not identical.

Brahman is the power which upholds and supports everything.

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