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.


2 Answers 2


Yes, it does.

To know why we have to reborn even though we underwent & experienced some karmic outcome in the same life we need to understand the three types of Karma, viz. sanchita or arjita(accumulated/stored/preserved), prārabdha(preordained/ripe) and kriyamāna or āgama (accumulating/ongoing/current):

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 or Agami 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 past 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.

Unfathomable is the depth of accounting of Karma (gahanā karmaṇo gatiḥ- BG 4.17). It's implications are beyond comprehension. But I hope this answers the two questions you have asked.

  • When does Kriyamana karma yield its result in current birth and when does it get stored as sanchita karma?
    – user12458
    Commented Apr 20, 2015 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
    Commented Apr 24, 2015 at 11:13
  • @BeHappy plz help me hinduism.stackexchange.com/questions/8567/…
    – C Sharper
    Commented Sep 16, 2015 at 4:59
  • @BeHappy - Added some enhancements to the answer. A few more are needed, but thats all I could manage after today's Ekadashi. - "Sin" is inaccurate word with discussing karma. Good, bad, happy, sad, breathing, eating, listening, seeing - everything, every moment accumulates & eliminates karma very subtly.
    – Alex S
    Commented Aug 3, 2017 at 15:19

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."

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .