karma (Jainism)

April 21, 2015 · updated February 15, 2022

In Indian philosophy, karma is the natural moral law of the universe in which every good and bad action has a corresponding effect on the doer. This explains why some are richer, prettier or luckier than others and why otherwise similar people are at different spiritual levels. It is also the determining factor of the form into which one is reborn. "Good karma" results in a higher spiritual state and more favorable physical state, while "bad karma" has negative physical and spiritual results.

Jainism teaches that there are two different kinds of karma: ghati ("destructive") and aghati ("non-destructive"). The former affects the soul and the latter affects the body. Within each category are several kinds of karma, each of which has particular results and a way of being shed. One can only attain liberation when he or she has shed all karma.

Bad actions related to physical life accumulate aghati karma, which result in negative consequences for physical life (in the present life and/or the next). There are four kinds of aghati karma:

    - Happiness-determining (vedniya) - Body-determining (nam) - Status-determining (gotra) - Longevity-determining (ayushya)