This belief in reincarnation leads us to our next Hindu term – karma. Lucky for us, this one is bit more familiar. In very simplified terms, karma is the Hindu belief that a person’s actions in life will determine their fate in the next life. If a person is kind and selfless in this life, they’ll be rewarded in the next. Unfortunately, the opposite is also true. If a person is a scoundrel today, let’s just say they’ll be paying for it in their next tomorrow! Although our culture doesn’t always use the word karma, vestiges of it are apparent in phrases like, ‘What goes around comes around,’ or ‘He sure got what was coming to ’em!’
To understand moksha, which means ‘liberation,’ one must first understand several other important ideas in Hinduism – particularly, samsara. Samsara is a Sanskrit word that refers to the cycle of birth, death, and rebirth, to the passing of the soul from one life to another. As the soul transitions between these lives, the next incarnation is informed by the deeds of the previous life. This is the Hindu belief of the concept of karma. You may have heard people talk about karma and the idea that people’s choices will come back to affect them one way or another in the future. The Hindu concept of karma is similar to the popular use, but a person’s responsibility for her/his actions, good or bad, is dealt with in the next life, not the current one.
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