Growing up in school I would see bullies. Many of these bullies would be spoiled kids of rich parents. In fact, I've seen this trend where the more rich and affluent a family the more spoiled and insensitive their kids grow up to be.

You can even see examples of this among politicians, movie directors, the famous drunk driving kids of MLAs who get away with doing such evil things.

We typically say that the law of karma has caused such people to be born rich.

However, after being born so rich, these people have been committing crimes for decades in their lifetime while the poor people who grow up in a harsh environment turn out sensitive and caring?

We can see this pattern among world leaders as well who suppress their citizens and take away many of their freedom rights.

If you must do good deeds to get wealth and power in your next. We also say that the progress that you make towards dharma carries onto the next life. If that is true then how come so many people in wealthy families commit the worst of crimes?

TL;DR: People do lots of good deeds, get born in wealthy and powerful families. Then they do a lot of bad, insensitive things and end up harming lots of people in masses.

How have they made any progress in life if the law of karma is really valid here?


2 Answers 2


As per the law of Karma, you reap as you sow.

  • Brihadarankya Upanishad

स वा अयमात्मा ब्रह्म विज्ञानमयो मनोमयः प्राणमयश्चक्षुर्मयः श्रोत्रमयः पृथिवीमय आपोमयो वायुमय आकाशमयस्तेजोमयोऽतेजोमयः काममयोऽकाममयः क्रोधमयोऽक्रोधमयो धर्ममयोऽधर्ममयः सर्वमयस् श्रोत्रमयस् आकाशमयस् वायुमयस् तेजोमयस् आपोमयस् पृथिवीमयस् क्रोधमयस् अक्रोधमयस् हर्षमयस् अहर्षमयस् k श्रोत्रमयस् पृथिवीमयस् आपोमयस् वायुमयस् आकाशमयस् तेजोमयस् अतेजोमयस् काममयस् अकाममयस् क्रोधमयस् अक्रोधमयस् धर्ममयस् अधर्ममयस् सर्वमयः तद्यदेतदिदम्मयोऽदोमय इति यथाकारी यथाचारी तथा भवति । साधुकारी साधुर्भवति पापकारी पापो भवति पुण्यः पुण्येन कर्मणा भवति पापः पापेन । अथो खल्वाहुः काममय एवायं पुरुष इति स यथाकामो भवति तत्क्रतुर्भवति यत्क्रतुर्भवति तत्कर्म कुरुते यत्कर्म कुरुते तदभिसम्पद्यते ॥ ५ ॥

IV-iv-5: That self is indeed Brahman, as also identified with the intellect, the Manas and the vital force, with the eyes and ears, with earth, water, air and the ether, with fire, and what is other than fire, with desire and the absence of desire, with anger and the absence of anger, with righteousness and unrighteousness, with everything --identified, in fact, with this (what is perceived) and with that (what is inferred). As it does and acts, so it becomes; by doing good it becomes good, and by doing evil it becomes evil - it becomes virtuous through good acts and vicious through evil acts. Others, however, say, 'The self is identified with desire alone. What it desires, it resolves; what it resolves, it works out; and what it works out, it attains.'

But the Karma of previous birth also affect the soul.

  1. 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).

  1. Therefore the collective effect of Karma done in previous births always exists in a Jîva’s body. O Fair-eyed One! The effects of Prârabdha Karma, ripened and ready to yield their fruits must have to be experienced by a Jîva, whether happy or unhappy.

Devi Bhagwatam 4:21

One gets the birth as per their previous birth karma. If someone is doing bad karmas and still he is enjoying pleasures it means he did many good karmas in previous birth. When his good karmas exhausted, they had to suffer for their deeds.

  • Upvote! Does Brihadaranyaka Upanishad talk of the law of Karma? Or which other Upanishads do?
    – Adiyarkku
    Commented Jun 15, 2020 at 18:56
  • @Archit I quoted a verse of Brihadarankya Upanishad related to karma. Do you want some verses? Commented Jun 16, 2020 at 2:41
  • No no thanks, just asking generally do other Upanishads talk of the law of karma in detail? And names of 1 or 2 main ones
    – Adiyarkku
    Commented Jun 16, 2020 at 6:26
  • The texts/rishis says that our suffering is due to karma, but they fail to look deeper into this matter OR clearly ignores the harsh fact that karma isn't really the ultimate cause of our miseries but there's something more powerful and sinister operating behind the worldly scenes, that manipulates our actions and forces us to act in certain ways ... IT controls us in such a way that we the common jivas often fail to use our buddhi (the judging/discriminating faculty inherent in our psyche.) Commented Jul 7, 2023 at 10:10
  • ... Because of this powerful sinister force which is working in the background and constantly manipulating our thoughts, we end up doing deeds that often leads to our doom ... Our karma is NOT the ultimate cause of our suffering. Try to look a little deeper and you'll find out the source/origin (the root cause) of our ignorance and the actions that are born from it ... We're merely puppets here. We're hurled into this prison world so we could suffer and be a part of a sick play ... Karma is just an excuse that the Creator and his minions use in order to brush off "HIS" crimes under the rug. Commented Jul 7, 2023 at 10:40

This is due to a concept known as Prarabdh Karma.

As Swami Sivananda defines it -

Prarabdha is that portion of the past karma which is responsible for the present body. That portion of the sanchita karma which influences human life in the present incarnation is called prarabdha. It is ripe for reaping. It cannot be avoided or changed. It is only exhausted by being experienced. You pay your past debts. Prarabdha karma is that which has begun and is actually bearing fruit. It is selected out of the mass of the sanchita karma.

Sanchita Karma are one of three types of Karma which follow through our births.

Take it this way, it is like our debts from our previous lives which we pay in our current life.And this type of Karma can't be avoided by any means as it can only be exhausted by experience.

  • Even if this karma is from past debts it seems odd that so many people in wealthy, influential and powerful positions are corrupt which brings down a cascading effect on everyone else's lives as well. The people in power must have done some good deeds in their past lives but they are clearly not born with virtue. So the good karma from the past creates an environment where they generate massively bad karma. It seems counter intuitive.
    – Mugen
    Commented May 11, 2020 at 7:14
  • @Mugen Well I think this is due to Kali Yuga. In Bhagavata Purana it is clearly prophecised that in Kali Yuga the rulers will be corrupt. But Prarabdh Karma is also a reason for our current suffering.
    – RishX
    Commented May 11, 2020 at 7:41
  • But it seems we are not in Kali Yuga right now. Kali Yuga is over and we are in Dwapara Yuga. isha.sadhguru.org/in/en/wisdom/article/kali-yuga-end-lies-ahead
    – Mugen
    Commented May 11, 2020 at 8:40
  • 1
    @Mugen I think SadhGuru is using the yuga theory given my sri yukteshwae giri in holy science. This theory is totally wrong and is contrary to itihas and purana. We are currently in Kali Yuga.
    – RishX
    Commented May 11, 2020 at 9:02
  • Questioner among other point is refering to individuals with material wealth and affluence indulging in reckless misdeeds . Geeta ch 16 sloka 1-3 describes the various attribute of persons born with Daivi Sampad ( Divine State) . Someone's trait like indulgence in reckless misdeeds by flaunting wealth is not among the divine attributes mentioned in the shloka above rather they have been declared demonic , the negative traits( ch 16 sl 8-21)Scripture clearly tell that a person with good past Karma is born with divine attributes and not with negative character traits. Indulgent one no PEACE Commented May 17, 2020 at 4:09

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