What Does Hinduism Teach About Karma And Reincarnation

Overview Of Hinduism

Hinduism is the third largest of the world’s major religions, with over one billion adherents. It is defined as a faith that is practiced by over 80% of India’s population and by over 6 million people across the world. Hinduism is known as an ancient religion, believed to have been derived from the Vedic period of India (approx. 1500-500 B.C.). A central belief of Hinduism is that of karma and reincarnation, which is the idea that a person’s actions have consequences in this life and future lives. This belief is reflected in Hindu scripture, the sacred books known as the Vedas, the Upanishads and the Bhagavad Gita.


Karma is the law of cause and effect, where one’s intentional and moral acts (karma) will determine a person’s life as well as their future lives. Hindus understand that karma accounts for a person’s life situation and is also implicated in their circumstances and successes. The concept of karma operates in a cycle, such that humans create karma in this life, which then affects future lives and experiences. Hindus believe that negative and selfish karma generates negative results, while virtuous and generous karma will bring rewards.

Karma is not considered a judgement, as it is understood that everything one experiences and creates is based on their individual actions and choices. It is believed that one’s spiritual development and advancement is determined by their karma. Therefore, an individual’s karma is a reflection of the choices and actions they have made throughout their lives, in both the physical and spiritual sense.


Reincarnation, or the cycle of rebirth, consists of a series of lifetime cycles where one’s souls are reborn into different bodies. Hinduism teaches that each soul is born with a certain amount of karma, which influences the life they live and the experiences they will encounter. In essence, reincarnation is a way to understand the concept of karma and free will, as well as suffering. Based on their karma, a person will be born in a certain place and given certain conditions. At the same time, free will allows the individual to choose to act out of love, generosity, and community rather than hate, greed and selfishness.

In Hinduism, the cycle of karma and reincarnation is seen as an opportunity for spiritual growth and progress. It is believed that, through spiritual contemplation and practice, one can understand the cycle of karma, break away from future cycles of suffering, and achieve enlightenment, or moksha. This is viewed as a way to break the cycle of karma and reincarnation, allowing one to achieve liberation from the cycle of suffering and rebirth.

Sacred Texts

Hinduism’s sacred texts provide some insight into the concept of karma and reincarnation. The Vedas, Upanishads, and the Bhagavad Gita are the primary texts on the subject. The Vedas explore the concept of karma and reincarnation, while the Upanishads provide a deeper understanding of it. The Bhagavad Gita is an extremely important scripture, providing guidance and advice on how one should act to attain liberation. It also speaks to one’s understanding of the cycles of karma and reincarnation.

Overall, the scriptures provide a foundation for Hindus to understand and implement the concepts of karma and reincarnation into their daily lives. They also provide guidance on how to use the principles of karma and reincarnation to achieve moksha and liberate themselves from the cycles of suffering.

Daily Practice

Hindus believe that we should live our lives according to the principles of karma and reincarnation, which means not engaging in any negative actions, or karma, and instead trying to do the right thing, or virtuous karma. This can be achieved through following and living by the teachings of the sacred texts, such as the Bhagavad Gita and the Upanishads. For example, one should practice generosity, non-violence, and self-control. By doing so, Hindus believe that one can break away from the cycle of suffering and karmic debts, and ultimately achieve moksha or liberation.

For Hindus, daily practice and living according to the teachings of karma and reincarnation is seen as a way to progress spiritually and ultimately achieve liberation. It is believed that by engaging in virtuous acts, a person can develop spiritually and break away from the cycle of suffering.

Religious Rituals

Religious rituals are an integral part of Hinduism, and are seen as a way to engage with the divine. Hindu rituals often revolve around the concepts of karma and reincarnation. For example, Brahmanas, or Brahmin rituals, involve rituals to increase ones karma and purification rituals to reduce ones karmic debt. Other rituals involve offerings to gods, praying to gods, celebrating festivals, and honoring ancestors. All of these rituals are centered on the idea of karma and reincarnation, and are believed to be ways to cultivate virtue and reduce negative karma.

Overall, Hindu rituals are designed to help individuals understand the concepts of karma and reincarnation, as well as to help them progress spiritually. By performing religious rituals, Hindus believe that one can gain enlightenment, or moksha, and break away from the cycles of karmic suffering and rebirth.

Philosphical Perspectives

The concept of karma and reincarnation is often used in philosophical debates. Philosophers such as Sankara, Adi Sankaracharya, and Adi Shankara have debated about the nature of these two concepts in various philosophical contexts. They have explored the questions of how karma and reincarnation interact, and how karma influences the cycle of suffering and rebirth. From a philosophical standpoint, revisiting the fundamental ideas of karma and reincarnation can provide insight into the human condition and the struggles we face in our existence.

Hindu philosophers have also explored the idea of free will and choice in this context. They have argued that, although karma dictates our circumstances, it does not limit our choices and actions. In other words, although one’s karma will determine their experiences, individuals can still choose to act in a way that is virtuous and loving in order to create positive karma and break away from the cycle of suffering.


In summary, Hinduism teaches that karma and reincarnation are fundamental laws that determine one’s experiences in life. Through the teachings of Hindu scriptures and daily practice, individuals can learn to understand and utilize these teachings in order to liberate themselves from the cycle of suffering and rebirth. Meanwhile, Hindu philosophical perspectives offer additional insight into these concepts, providing insight into the human condition and the role that karma and reincarnation play in our lives.

Jennifer Johnson is an experienced author with a deep passion for exploring the spiritual traditions of different cultures and religions. She has been writing about religion and spirituality for the past ten years in both print and digital platforms, engaging readers in meaningful dialogue about the soul's journey through this life. With degrees in Comparative Religion and English Literature, she brings an insightful perspective to her work that bridges the gap between traditional knowledge and modern theories. A lifelong traveler, Jenn has lived in multiple countries exploring various paths to understanding faith, and her dedication to learning new things is palpable in every piece she creates.

Leave a Comment