Atanu Dey On India's Development

It is all Karma, neh?

In response to my recent post on the priorities of the Indian judicial system, Venkat commented in jest:

Hey Atanu!
Seems like you are passing the bucks too much to karma? :) Jus’ joking.

He was obviously refering to my closing line, “It is all Karma, neh?”. Although he did not mean it seriously, I think that there is a pervasive misconception about the concept of karma which we need to remove seriously.

The word “karma” does not mean ‘fate’. It means “work or action, and the consequence that arise thereof.” Karma does not mean predestination or predetermination. In fact, it means precisely the opposite. Karma means that it is our actions that determine the future, that what we do matters and has consequences. The concept is a general formulation of the fundamental law of action and its consequences, a specific instance of which are Newton’s laws of motion. Therefore it is the ultimate statement of “The Buck Stops Here.” And so when one says, “It is all Karma”, one is acknowledging that what we do matters and we are ultimately responsible for what we enjoy or suffer.


  1. I can’t but take exception at the use of Newton’s Laws of Motion in the context of karma.

    In my opinion, poor ol’ Newton’s Laws are the most abused Laws when it comes to the description of Karma.

    Newton’s Laws of Motion are intended to describe just what they claim to describe – Motion!

    The one law that is the most abused is of course the Third law which states that “Every action has an equal and opposite reaction.”

    The Theory of Karma has very little to do with this law and attempts to explain the Theory of Karma with this law has several fundamental flaws.

  2. I am not “using” Newton’s laws of motion (LOM) in the context of karma. Nor do I attempt to expand the scope of Newton’s laws beyond its proper domain of the motion of material bodies through space. While the abuse of Newton’s third law of motion is lamentable, I don’t see it how it is pertinent in the present context.

    Newton’s LOM are a set of general laws. They apply to all sorts of stuff, from apples to galaxies. These LOM are an instance of a more generalized set of laws which I call “Laws of Causality” or “principles that embody the relationship between causes and effects.” Karma is the most generalized of these laws of causality.

    So I claim that Newton’s LOM is an instance of a causal law which is an instance of the general principle of Karma. Therefore, Newton’s LOM are not advanced as an explanation for the law of Karma but rather the law of Karma can be used to give some support to the Newton’s LOM.

  3. Hi Atanu!
    I didn’t mean ’em seriously! i had seen a post in too where you had ended your comments with the same line “It is all Karma, neh?” and this made me remark so! nothing serious. and thanks for letting me know more about karma! waiting to see more posts.

  4. Venkat,

    If you are curious, the phrase comes from James Clavell in his novel “Shogun” and maybe “Gai-jin”

  5. Its strange how “karma” is misconstrued and completely turned on its tails by some people. The most ridiculous thing I heard about karma was that “its an incredible blame the victim device.”

  6. Atanu said, “Newton’s LOM are not advanced as an explanation for the law of Karma but rather the law of Karma can be used to give some support to the Newton’s LOM.”

    Firstly, I do not think that Newton’s Laws need any support from the Theory of Karma.

    Secondly, my comment on this blog was not directed towards Atanu’s use of the Laws of Motion but rather for a general misuse of the Laws Of Motion in the context of Karma.

    More on this is at a post on my blog.

  7. That case u quoted is not the only one..

    did u hear abt Bhoka Thakur ?

  8. thanks for inviting me to your website.
    quite a simple page but with informative content.
    well done.