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There are three types of Karma namely Agami Karma, Sanchita Karma and Prarabdha karma. Among these, Agami Karma means our current actions; Sanchita Karma means our actions in the past lives which are yet to be experienced by us and Prarabdha Karma is the portion of Sanchita karma being experienced in the present incarnation. Now, who records the good and bad deeds of living beings and who is responsible for the experience of Prarabdha Karma?

  • Do you also include papa and punya in karma? – Sarvabhouma Jun 7 '18 at 14:39
  • Possible duplicate of How exactly does karma work? – iammilind Jun 7 '18 at 14:40
  • @Sarvabhouma Karma always include papa and Punya I thought. – Tat Tvam Asi Jun 7 '18 at 16:56
  • @iammilind That is not the duplicate of my question. – Tat Tvam Asi Jun 7 '18 at 16:56
  • Yes, it does I was thinking otherwise because I thought you are looking for philosophical answers. If you consider papam, punyam, then Chitragupta keeps account of all the living beings. I will post it as an answer if you are looking for something like that or only philosophical type (like subtle body, gross body). – Sarvabhouma Jun 7 '18 at 17:04
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The Atman and the five organs of perception do.

Bhishma said,’ No act done with the aid of the five organs of sensual perception, is ever lost. The five sensual organs and the immortal soul which is the sixth, remain its witnesses.’

Mahabharata Anusasana Parva Section VII

Records of all our deeds are kept in the casual body. The reason for calling this body causal is that the record of our karma kept in this body causes rebirth.

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Well, the usual answer from the Puranas is Yamaraja's assistant Chitragupta. He keeps an account of all the good/bad deeds that a Jiva does.

My terrible messengers, seeing the devotees of S’iva, run away out of terror as snakes run away terrified by Garuda. I also order My messengers with nooses in their hands never to go to them. My messengers go mostly to other persons than the servants of Hari. No sooner do My Messengers see the worshippers of the Krisna Mantra, than they run away as snakes get terrified at the sight of Garuda. Chitragupta, too, one of the beings in Yama’s world,recording the vices and virtues of mankind, strike off the names of the Devî worshippers, out of fear and prepare Madhuparka, etc., for them (a mixture of honey; respectful offering made to a guest or to the bridegroom on his arrival at the door of the father of the bride). They rise higher than the Brahmâ Lokas and go to the Devî’s abode, i.e., to Manidvîpa

Devi Bhagavatam 9.36

And, the other answer is that the Karmas always remain attached to the Jiva itself in the Linga Deha. The soul also carries the imprints of Karmas in seed forms

The Pundits knowing the ancient lore say that there are three kinds of Karma mentioned in the Purânas and Âgamas :-- First, the Sanchita Karma (done in past births); the Prârabdha Karma, the Karma already done; and the Vartamân Karma (Karma in hand). 21. The Karma, auspicious and inauspicious, done in many previous lives and preserved in seed forms, remains always inherent in a human soul. Urged on by this Karma, the Jîvas quitting their previous bodies, enjoy Heaven or Hell as effects of these, their own acts. 22-23. According to their good or bad works, the Jîvas acquire the higher happy body and enjoy various pleasures in the Heavens, or they take up very painful vicious bodies and suffer various pains in hell. 24-25. At the expiry of the above period in Heaven or Hell, when there comes the time of his assuming another body, the Jîva becomes conscious of the subtle body (Linga Deha) and takes his birth again. When the Linga Deha comes into existence, the part of the Karma done in various previous births that are ripe and ready to yield their fruits, gets attached to the Jîva by God (or Destiny).

Devi Bhagavatam 4.21

  • Amazing Answer Soul carries seeds of karma.. madhva told the same.. sex is to soul not linga deha or Sushma sarira – Prasanna R Jan 7 at 10:33
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The good and the bad deeds of karma are recorded by the living being or person himself /herself.

Mahabharata xii.291.22 As a man himself sows, so he himself reaps; no man inherits the good or evil act of another man. The fruit is of the same quality as the action.

What karma you are doing now maybe it's bad or good you are responsible for it so you are responsible for Prarabdha karma. Karma is nothing else than a result of your deeds.

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There is a Devata who records the good and bad deeds of all Jivas called Chitragupta. He is the assistant to Yama, the Deva of Justice.

The Garuda Purana says:

4-5. The sinful man cries when he hears the mingled wails of 'Oh, Oh,' and having heard his cry, those who walk about in the city of Yama.

All go to the door-keeper and report it to him. The doorkeeper Dharmadhwaja, always stands there.

  1. He, having gone to Chitragupta, reports the good and evil deeds. Then Chitragupta tells it to the King of Justice.

  2. The men who are Deniers, O Tārkshya, and always delight in great sin; these are all, as is proper, well-known to the King of Justice.

  3. Nevertheless, he asks Chitragupta about their sins. Chitragupta, although he is all-knowing, enquires of the Śravaṇas.

  4. The Śravaṇas are the sons of Brāhmaṇ who wander in heaven, on earth, and in the nether regions, hear and understand at a distance, and see a long way off.

  5. Their wives have a similar nature, and are called, distinctively, Sravanīs. They know accurately all that is done by women.

  6. These report to Chitragupta everything that is said and done, openly and secretly, by men.

  7. These followers of the King of Justice know accurately all the virtues and vices of mankind, and the karma born of mind, speech and body.

  8. Such is the power of these, who have authority over mortals and immortals. Thus do these truth-speaking Śravaṇas relate the actions of man.

  9. To the man who pleases them by austerity, charity and truthful speech, they become benevolent, granting heaven and liberation.

  10. Knowing the wicked actions of the sinful, those truth-speakers, relating them before the King of Justice, become dispensers of misery.

  11. The sun and moon, fire, wind, sky, earth and water, the heart. Yama, day and night, the two twilights, and Justice--know the actions of man.

17 The King of Justice, Chitragupta, Śravaṇas, the sun and others see fully the sins and merits of the embodied being.

But ultimately, Brahman himself records the karmas of all Jivas, because he is omniscient and is the dispenser of the fruits of karmas.

The Brahma Sutra itself says this in Chapter 3, Pada 2.

  1. The omnipresence (possessed) by that, (understood) from the declaration of extent.
  2. From thence the reward; on account of possibility.
  3. And on account of scriptural declaration.

Ramanujacharya's commentary for sutra 36:

(Svet. Up. III. 9); 'whatever is seen or heard in this world, is pervaded inside and outside by Nârâyana' (Mahânâr. Up.); 'The eternal, pervading, omnipresent, which the Wise consider as the source of all beings' (Mu. Up. I, 1, 6).

His commentary for sutra 37:

For it is he only--the all-knowing, all-powerful, supremely generous one--who being pleased by sacrifices, gifts, offerings, and the like, as well as by pious meditation, is in a position to bestow the different forms of enjoyment in this and the heavenly world, and Release which consists in attaining to a nature like his own.

Commentary for sutra 38:

That he bestows all rewards--whether in the form of enjoyment or Release--Scripture also declares 'This indeed is the great, the unborn Self, the eater of food, the giver of wealth' (Bri. Up. IV, 4, 24); and 'For he alone causes delight' (Taitt. Up. II, 7).

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In Bhagavata Purana 6.1.42, we can find answer for this question:

सूर्योऽग्निः खं मरुद्देवः सोमः सन्ध्याहनी दिशः
कं कुः स्वयं धर्म इति ह्येते दैह्यस्य साक्षिणः ॥ ६.१.४२ ॥

The sun, the fire, the sky, the air, the Indriyas(Senses of perception and organs of action), the moon, morning and evening twilight, day and night, the four directions, water, the earth, time and supreme god himself - these indeed are the witnesses of the good and evil actions of a Jiva (an embodied soul).

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No one records Karma. Because if someone does then that one's Karma also has to be recorded. Going like that would result in infinite chain.

What we call Karma and Karma-phala (results) are just interaction of 3 modes of Prakruti -- viz. Sattva, Rajas, Tamas.

BG 5.14 - Neither "Doership" (Kartutva) nor "Actions" (Karma) nor "Reactions" (Karma-phala) of the people are created by the Omnipotent; But only their nature [3 modes] pervades.
BG 5.15 - The Omnipresent neither accepts anybody's sin nor even virtue. Knowledge remains covered by ignorance. Thus the creatures become deluded.

Also refer this answer.

Analogically understand as -- A feature film is made up of lots of events having actions-reactions. But ultimately it's just a magnetic film reel.

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More appropriate question would be,

How Karma of all living beings is recorded?

since, 'who' is highly subjective term which usually refers to sentients which in turn is also subjective up to some extent.

First and foremost principle to understand is, there exists no entity in Universe (all entities outside your soul) which may go unaffected by your actions; You are welcomed to think of contradictions, then only you can fully appreciate this fact. Now, when one performs action s/he in turn experiences corresponding action of Universe according to Universe's nature. So, here comes your question. Where one's actions or Karma is recorded? It can be deduced from above, one's Karma is recorded in rest of the entities of Universe. The information isn't centralized, instead it is distributed in rest of the entities which in turn collectively affects us.

I disagree with answers that suggest that Karma is recorded by our senses. If we look literal meaning of 'record', it means to store the information. Senses are the way to obtain information, not to store them.

I'm sure above concept is mentioned in literary texts. I'd be grateful if someone would point relevant sources (for skeptics ;).

Some of the information contained in this post requires additional references. Please edit to add citations to reliable sources that support the assertions made here. Unsourced material may be disputed or deleted.

  • 1
    You should cite some sources. – Pandya Jun 8 '18 at 4:46

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