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.