Hinduism Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for followers of the Hindu religion and those interested in learning more about Hinduism. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I was reading this post recently where @jabahar explains about Are people always reborn as people? where user answers as —

Depending upon karma a jivatma (spirit) may reborn in the body of other animals. As per Shrimad Bhgagavatam:

bhūtāni tais tair nija-yoni-karmabhir bhavanti kāle na bhavanti sarvaśaḥ [SB - 7.2.41]

In course of time every being receives a material body as per his corresponding actions.

So I got that we can be incarnated as any species but does the karma of previous life affect the new life?

The question I asked is because some people say that we pay for our sins in the same life, so if this is true than why we are reincarnated based on karma as we have already paid for our bad deeds in the same life?

Also, if karma of past life isn't considered than why people have troubles with their lives because on the other hand people say you are getting troubles in this life because you did something bad in the past life?

I also read about How exactly does karma work but I am syncing the two major aspects i.e karma and rebirth.

share|improve this question
up vote 15 down vote accepted

Yes, it does.

To know why we have to reborn even if we pay for our sins in the same life we need to understand the three types of Karma, viz. sanchita or arjita(stored/preserved), prārabdha(preordained) and kriyamāna or āgama (accumulating):

prārabdhāgāmyarjitāni karmatrayamitīritam [Varah Up. - 12]
Prārabdha, āgami and arjita, these are the three karmas.

The coming of existence (creation) and ceasing of existence (dissolution) have been going on infinitely. Hence, a jivatma also takes birth and dies infinite times in it. As a jivatma continues his life, he engages in numerous kinds of actions both good and bad. But his single life time may not be enough to experience the results of all his actions. And because a reaction must follow an action, to experience the reaction of his own actions the jiva has to take birth again accordingly.

1.Sanchita Karma

Now the thing is, because a jivatama takes countless births, his actions are also countless. So all the unexperienced pending reactions of the jivatama that are due to be experienced are stored as Sanchita Karma. So sanchita karma of a jiva is too large, nearly infinite.

2.Prārabdha Karma

Only a portion of the sanchita karma can be experienced in one life time. So that portion of karma which determines most events and type of life of a jivatma is known as Prarabdha Karma. It is this prarabdha karma that determines the species of life and major events in life.

3.Kriyamāna Karma

Because a jivatma is not only experiencing reactions to his past life actions (like sudden accident, winning of lottery, etc.) but also engaged in newer ones, all his present life actions get accumulated and known as kriyamana karma. These karmas will either yield result in the same life or if they do not get experienced then they will get stored up as sanchita karma to influence the future lives of the jivatma.

Now that we know these three types of Karma, the answers to your questions can be understood easily:

If we pay for our sins in the same life, then why do we reincarnate?

It is because, even if we pay for some of our deeds, we have numerous other reactions of psat life still in pending to be experienced. So even if our karmic account of this life stays clean, to balance out our past actions we have to take birth again unless we clear them out some way in the present life.

If karma of past life is not considered then why people have troubles in their lives?

This question indeed suggests the fact that Karma of past life do affect the present life. For example, sometimes even good persons face accidents, misfortune etc. and some bad people, even though engaged in bad actions, move freely. This happens all because of prarabdha karma. If a person has in his prarabdha to face accident, then doesn't matter how good he is in his present life, he will certainly face it to balance out his past life action. Similarly, if a person has in prarabdha to enjoy a luxurious life, then he will certainly do so even if he does bad actions.

Karma goes very deep (gahanā karmaṇo gatiḥ- BG 4.17). Hence, understanding all its implications becomes difficult and complex. But I hope this answers the two questions you have asked.

share|improve this answer
When does Kriyamana karma yield its result in current birth and when does it get stored as sanchita karma? – JavaTechnical Apr 20 '15 at 10:53
@JavaTechnical That's a broad topic to discuss. So I had wrote about it in the book The Absolute Truth. – Be Happy Apr 24 '15 at 11:13
@BeHappy plz help me hinduism.stackexchange.com/questions/8567/… – Sagar Sep 16 '15 at 4:59

In fact rebirth is caused by the result of pending karma itself.

Jivatma will get body only when he has good or bad karmas in his account :) These good and bad Karmas don't get cancelled by one by another. One has to suffer/enjoy their both karmas. When the balance is zero that Jeevi will not born again; thats nothing but Moskha/Muthi. Which can only be achieved by offering the karmas to the God.

This is the reason why Lord Sri Krishna insisted in abandoning the result of actions:

BhagavadGita 2-51

Karmajam buddhiyuktaa hi phalam tyaktwaa maneeshinah;

Janmabandha vinirmuktaah padam gacchantyanaamayam.

-> Endowed with spiritual intelligence wise men giving up the results arising from actions certainly liberate themselves from the bondage of birth and death attaining the state of complete tranquility


The theory of Karma is not so simple to understand.

I would like to quote from one of Sri Samavedam Shanmukha Sharma's discourses on this topic:

"The results of Karma (may be good or bad) will not be given all of it at once to any one just like a mother who cooks the exact amount of food needed for her child but not the entire bags of rice that they have stored in the house."

share|improve this answer

People enjoy fruits of good karma and suffer for bad karma. But, the result is felt in sequence of the deeds. Take for example that I do a good deed today. I will nor enjoy the effect immediately because I am currently enjoying/suffering a past deed. Once, I reach that good deed, I will enjoy the fruit. This also is a logical ground for the concept of rebirth. One single birth is not sufficient for accounting for all the deeds committed. So, people take rebirth to account for their past deeds. However, in every birth people commit new deeds, and this puts him continuously in the cycle of birth and death.

share|improve this answer
You should cite sources. – Keshav Srinivasan Dec 17 '15 at 8:30

people say you are getting troubles in this life because you did something bad in the past life?

No. There is only one birth.

Considering many births, then let's assume you are in your very first birth(i.e. you never born before), then troubles you face in this birth(first birth) means that can NOT be derived from previous birth, because no previous birth exists. So troubles face in this birth is concerned within this birth only.


Many Hindu ancient traditional Rishis, Pandits, Gurus, told that a dead can never be born again.

"Paapokam paava karmaanam
paapathma paava samabhava
thraheemam kundari kaatsha
sarva paava harey..harey..!"

Meaning: I am a sinner since I was born. I sin. I'm the great sinner among all sinners. Oh God save me..!

There is only one way to get rid of sins, Saama veda dhandiya maha bhramanam says:

"Prajapathi thevapiyam
aathmaanam yagnyam
krithuva prayachith."

Meaning: To set free from sin, Prajapathi=(GOD) has to sacrifice his own body.

Asathoma Sath Gamaya.. Thamasoma Jyothir Gamaya.. Miruthyama Amiruthyam Gamaya..

share|improve this answer
Any down voters, can you disprove my answer??? – Boss Jul 22 '14 at 21:40
Rebirth is one of the accepted tenets of Hinduism. What you say sounds a lot like what christians say about Jesus and christianity. Can you at least provide the name and references of the saints / rishis / gurus whom you have quoted? – Sam Jul 27 '14 at 18:58
100s of down vote if I was able to..@Boss – vusan Sep 28 '14 at 9:50
@Boss: Uhh...yeah, we can disprove your answer. How about the Bhagavad Gita? – AdityaS Jul 17 '15 at 21:39

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.