Hinduism is a very complex religion. It has been said there are tens of thousands of gods, and there are many greatly significant words with vast meanings. Although this is true of the religion, the core idea and main emphasis of Hinduism is not based on following the beliefs, but rather how to live one's life in the proper way. The twin doctrines are two complex concepts that deal with this idea. The doctrines are called the law of reincarnation and the law of karma. In this paper I will explain how the law of karma works, the multiple Hindu words and ideas that are associated with it, and how reincarnation plays into karma.
Karma can be explained or defined in many different ways. Houston Smith calls it "the moral law of cause and effect (Smith 64), and while the literal meaning of the word as said in karma yoga means work Smith's definition generalizes the concept well. The idea behind karma is that for every action one takes there will be a reaction. If the work one is doing is positive then the reaction will in turn be positive. If one is doing negative things then that person will be repaid in a negative way. The logic behind karma in its most basic form nearly provable. By this I