I am interested to know if there is any book in Hinduism that describes the effects of different karmas. For example, the karmic effects of act of theft or the karmic effects of act of offering food to poor etc.

Edit 1: What is 'Brahmahatya' sin and if done what is the effect? Also I feel angry about the way many people kill the foetus if it is of a girl. A well developed foetus is considered similar to a Hrishi as he/she knows all his/her past lives.

What is the ill effect of such acts? Which kind of sin makes you suffer from mental disorders?

  • Do you want effects of Karmas in this life or in aftetlife? Commented Jan 22, 2017 at 10:51
  • Actually Both... I was told that sometimes one has to suffer for his ancesters' karma too... is it true? Commented Jan 22, 2017 at 10:53
  • But before that I think you need to limit your question some how.Because its a very broad question.Various beliefs exsists according to various texts ,sects and regions. Commented Jan 22, 2017 at 11:13
  • 2
    This question is poorly drafted. The questioner should redraft the question. A possible draft is 'What are the different types of sins and good acts and their effects?'. Commented Jan 23, 2017 at 12:27
  • 1
    Kindly read Garuda purana wherein u will get answer. Commented Jan 23, 2017 at 17:33

1 Answer 1


The question in the the title is too broad IMO.It can't be answered in few lines.

However, i have covered all the questions that are in the body and also the one that you asked in comments on adultery.

Effects of Theft:

The Manu Smriti in Chapter 12 discusses what a thief becomes in his/her next life depending on the objects that he/she has stolen.Here are a few such verses:

12.61. A man who out of greed has stolen gems, pearls or coral, or any of the many other kinds of precious things, is born among the goldsmiths

12.62. For stealing grain (a man) becomes a rat, for stealing yellow metal a Hamsa, for stealing water a Plava, for stealing honey a stinging insect, for stealing milk a crow, for stealing condiments a dog, for stealing clarified butter an ichneumon;

12.63. For stealing meat a vulture, for stealing fat a cormorant, for stealing oil a winged animal (of the kind called) Tailapaka, for stealing salt a cricket, for stealing sour milk a bird (of the kind called) Balaka.

12.68. That man who has forcibly taken away any kind of property belonging to another, or who has eaten sacrificial food (of) which (no portion) had been offered, inevitably becomes an animal.(Manu Smriti)

Now,if someone steals a Brahmin's gold then that's one of the 5 grave sins(Mahapatakas).Other than that robbery/theft is only a minor sin.

A thief can also atone for the theft if he/she wants by following methods like the ones given below:

Manu Smriti 11.163. The lunar penance has been declared to be the expiation for stealing men and women, and (for wrongfully appropriating) a field, a house, or the water of wells and cisterns

11.165. (To swallow) the five products of the cow (pankagavya) is the atonement for stealing eatables of various kinds, a vehicle, a bed, a seat, flowers, roots, or fruit.

Effects of donating food to the poor:

In Shastras charity of food is called "Anna Danam".

From Skanda Purana:

Narada described to Arjun about ‘daan’ (charity), its two ‘hethus’ (varieties), six ‘Adhishtaans’ (Reasons), six ‘Anks’ (Parties), two ‘Parinaams’ (end results or fruits), three bhedas (classifications) and three ‘Vinas Saadhanas’ (negative results).....The donors of charity must have the perspective of what kind of material is required or useful to the receiver or otherwise the purpose of charity would be defeated

So,charity of food to the poor is excellent compared to the same when done to some well-to-do person.

Further,Anna Dana is listed as the second best charity possible:

Three ‘Bhedas’or types of Daan are classified; the best types are charity of houses, temples, buildings, Bhumi (farms / fields), cows, Wells, gold and ornaments and the best of course is to give away one’s own life itself as ‘Daan’. The Secondary Variety of charity relates to Anna (Food grains), Vastra (Clothing), ‘Vahan’ etc.

Manu Smriti,in chapter 4,gives the effects of different kinds of charities including that of food:

Manu Smriti 4.228. If he is asked, let him always give something, be it ever so little, without grudging; for a worthy recipient will (perhaps) be found who saves him from all (guilt).

4.229. A giver of water obtains the satisfaction (of his hunger and thirst), a giver of food imperishable happiness, a giver of sesamum desirable offspring, a giver of a lamp a most excellent eyesight.

4.230. A giver of land obtains land, a giver of gold long life, a giver of a house most excellent mansions, a giver of silver (rupya) exquisite beauty (rupa),

4.232. A giver of a carriage or of a bed a wife, a giver of protection supreme dominion, a giver of grain eternal bliss, a giver of the Veda (brahman) union with Brahman;

Also,Dana should be done with shraddha(devotion and sincerity) and not to an undeserving candidate(an Apatra).Some Danas(including Anna Dana) should however be made only when asked for.

Ayaachtaani deyaani sarva daanaani yatnatah, Annam Vidyaaha Kanyaachahyanarthibhyona deeyate// Dvaamimau purushaa loke swargasyopari tishthatah, Anna pradaataa durbhikshe subhikshe hema vastradah

Shandalya Muni mentions that all types of charities be offered without being asked for and with clean conscience or with no view of securing returns; however Vidya, Kanya and Anna must not be offered without being asked for as a rule! Indeed, there are two types of charity givers who attam Swarga for sure: those who heartily give away Food during Durbhiksha and also those who happily give away gold and clothing during the days of general prosperity!

Brahma Hatya:

Killing a Brahmin is considered as one of the major sins.

Manu Smriti 9.235. The slayer of a Brahmana, (A twice-born man) who drinks (the spirituous liquor called) Sura, he who steals (the gold of a Brahmana), and he who violates a Guru’s bed, must each and all be considered as men who committed mortal sins (mahapataka).

AFTER serving his term in hell, the destroyer of a Brahmana, is born afflicted with white leprosy. Therefore, for the expiation of that sin, one should perform a penitential rite, (Satatapa Smriti,Chapter 2,Verse 1)


Abortion is stated in the Parashara Smriti as a sin that has no prayaschitta methods.

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What sin is incurred in killing a Brahman, abortion causes a sin twice as great ; there is no atonement for that sin. The abandonment of such a woman has been ordained by law.(Parashara Smriti,Chapter 4)


Adultery is mentioned as a minor offence or an Upapataka which causes loss of caste.

Manu Smriti 11.59. Slaying kine, sacrificing for those who are unworthy to sacrifice, adultery, selling oneself, casting off one’s teacher, mother, father, or son, giving up the (daily) study of the Veda, and neglecting the (sacred domestic) fire are Upatakas(minor sins)

Which kind of sin makes you suffer from mental disorders?

A person, pilfering lead, is born as suffering from head-diseases. Fasting for a day, he should give away one Dhenu weight of clarified butter according to the proper regulations. (7)

By stealing milk curd a person is born insane. For purification, curd, one Dhcnu in weight, should be given by him unto a Vipra. (9)(Satatapa Smriti,Chapter 4)

NOTE-Satatapa Smriti,which i have used as a reference in this answer, is among the 18 major Smritis.

  • Hi... what about betrayal like extra marital affairs n all...? Commented Jan 23, 2017 at 12:16
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    @Rickross... Please read my edit.. thanks in advance... Incredible knowledge u have... :) Commented Jan 23, 2017 at 12:24
  • @Deepeshkumar Thank u..chk my revised answer now..i have answered all ur questions..
    – Rickross
    Commented Jan 23, 2017 at 17:03

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