Imagine this. Person 1 helps out Person 2 on the premise that this deed will accrue "good karma". A son helps family out only for good karma and not for sentiment, belonging, or gratitude. A woman helps a friend on the same reasoning. They take such decisions for good karma so that moksha - or at least, no bad karma - may be attained for themselves.

From previous posts on this topic - As far as I'm aware, the scriptures don't seem to mention anything about intentional good deeds versus unintentional good deeds. It merely talks about good deeds and their fruits. So, it is correct to think that there is no difference.

And yet - Whatever sacrifice or gift is made, whatever austerity is practiced, whatever ceremony is observed--it is all called "asat," "unreal," if it is done without faith. It is of no account here or hereafter. (referencing the Gita)

There seems to be some factor in judging even "good" deeds, because if the deed is without "faith" then it's called Asat or False as per the Gita. I think my examples do have a kind of intent. What I ask is, do they fall in the Asat category? Does it count as selfishness? Would the lack of correct intent be Asat? What is correct intent? Because it is said there should be no attachment to the action or fruit, but does anyone take a decision without motivation or intent? Is it possible to know?

If you find some flaws or problems in my question please point it out with additional pointers on where to learn more on the topic.

  • It did in part, I had read it before posting and therefore linked back to it too. The thing is there seems to be some factor in judging even "good" deeds, because if the deed is without "faith" then it's called Asat or False as per the Gita - so would the lack of correct intent be Asat, too? Like, what really matters? What's really intent? Those are my questions
    – user21774
    Sep 9, 2020 at 17:42
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    You should add this explanation to your question itself to prevent closure as a duplicate. It's not clear what's missing in the two linked answers and how your question is different/unique from the other two. Sep 9, 2020 at 18:08
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    Just to let you know that I have deleted my answer for the time being. @neatbloke
    – Rickross
    Sep 10, 2020 at 14:23

2 Answers 2


""Person 1 helps out Person 2 on the premise that this deed will accrue "good karma"." Let's pause right there. Person 1 is helping Person 2 for accruing Good Karma! Then obviously the intent of the help is "not to help but accrue good karma" and yes that's obviously bad. The intent must only be to help for the sake of helping.You inner heart must bleed to help! Not to accumulate good karma. Not for anything at all. That is self less help. So don't assign any fruit to your deed good or bad. Geetha says that even if you did it with some purpose, offer that purpose or the result to Lord as well. Kind of like give away for some one else to use that. Almost all deeds are done today with purpose. There must not be any purpose. Help and forget immediately would be ideal.For Moksha, there should be a balance of the fruits of Good and Bad or no fruits.Unconditional help is Sat. Let me quote, why did Usas the morning deity sacrifice? Why did Purana Purusha sacrifice for life to evolve? They tied him to a pole and burnt him with his full consent! Satapata Brahmans and Purusha Sukta for reference. He holds the entire creation to evolve out of his sacrifice. How does your measly help with expected fruit compare? right?

Sacrificial Purusha Or animal is always tied to the pole: Satapata Brahmana, never do they immolate an animal without tying it to a pole. "Na varute yapaat pasum alabhate kadachana chapter 3 -7.3.1. This pillar is called "Yupastampa (sacrificial pillar)" or “Dwajastamba” in temples today- the flag mast. In front of which we prostrate in south India temples. Interesting to note that Without knowing we acknowledge the greatness of sacrifice by prostrating in front of the symbolic mast. :-)

The sacrifice of Usas for biological being is mentioned in aagneya Kanda in Sama Veda

May I also add Krishna’s remarks to Arjuna

Karmanye Vadhikaraste, Ma phaleshou kada chana – You have the right to perform your actions,but you are not entitled to the fruits of the actions

Good or Bad

  • Cite the references properly. Eg. Verse from Purusha Sukta which you mentioned
    – Pandya
    Sep 11, 2020 at 10:29
  • More references needed? Sep 21, 2020 at 5:53
  • Sorry for late reply. "Help to accrue good karma" - does it not imply that the person knows helping is better than not helping. Is that not good intent? Why must one's heart bleed to help before the action is done? Don't the lessons imply that you should be level-headed when making decisions? Asking genuinely.
    – user21774
    Sep 25, 2020 at 7:18
  • Ok for e.g. How much level-headed a toddler who helps and cares for another ? What decisions that toddler makes ? There is an innate hidden nature in you that cares and helps. Over time we cover it with purpose or altogether forget that. The inner voice, the inner guide that prompts you to act to help must not be forgotten. That voice is ever closer to Him than any other senses And hence such help is valued more. If Saturn looks, that help is given more weightage to measure youR innate personality. Like the classifying hat in Harry Potter Sep 25, 2020 at 13:24
  • Sorry to digress a bit, Let me also add that innate nature to help a fellow being was fine tuned for survival for life to evolve, the fundamental caring principle that has taken a beating from dangers before, and that, I think, knows the pain of survival, of being un-helped over centuries of suffering, and coded that in you. We must never forget that. Sep 25, 2020 at 13:29

Every action has a reaction. This is the law of karma. Good karma is referred to actions that occur according to the 4 vedic values of the vedic philosophy:

  1. Satya - Truth, always tell the truth
  2. Saucha - Cleanliness, purity
  3. Ahimsa - No violence
  4. Tapas - austerities

In contrast bad karma are actions that are performed without respecting these principles.

None of the less. all actions lead to karma for good or for bad. Karma is one of the reasons why we take birth in this material world, so irrespective of good or bad karma, our actions led us to take birth again and again, since immemorial time, in order to enjoy the reactions of our good karma or to suffer the reactions of bad karma.

According to Bhagavad Gita BG 3.9 the actions that are performed as a sacrifice for God and for His satisfaction do not generate any kind of karma. This is the foundation of Karma Yoga.

Now to your question:

  1. If you do sinful deeds then you will have to suffer the reactions and take birth due to bad karma.

  2. If you do "good" deeds but with the intention and attachment to enjoy the fruits of the reactions you will have to take birth also due to good karma.


  1. If you do "good" deeds but are not attached to the fruits of that actions and you have the "intention" to offer these deeds to Vishnu, then these good actions do not generate good karma and don't lead to take birth as explained in 2.

In conclusion any action good or bad with the wrong intention will prevent moksha. Good actions with correct intention will not prevent moksha but also will not foment it. The only way to attain moksha is to develop unconditional pure love for Krishna through Bhakti in this era of Kali Yuga.

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    Sorry for late reply. So the conclusion until now would be that the deeds should be offered to God? All else would technically fall in the category of Asat, i.e wrong intent/action?
    – user21774
    Sep 25, 2020 at 7:25
  • how will identify whether its good karma or bad karma.. the intention of the karma is good or bad (i.e. dharma or adharma) since intention determine dharma.. how would one know whether its dharma or adharma...if you and effect of karma turns one towards lord vishnu then its dharma otherwise its adharma.. @neatblock
    – Prasanna R
    Sep 26, 2020 at 8:34