What is right karma and what is wrong karma can only be known by reading scriptures. It is indicated in Gita.

In Gita 16.23

"He who discards scriptural injunctions and acts according to his own whims attains neither perfection, nor happiness, nor the supreme destination"

But only hindus have the right to read the scriptures. Non-hindus don't have the right , in the past non-hindus didn't even have the access to the hindu scriptures.

So, Does theory of karma applicable to non-hindus ?

  • 2
    Sanathan Dharma is universal, So the theory of Karma must be universal too :-)
    – Shashaank
    Nov 2, 2022 at 11:23
  • @Shashaank Theory of karma is not applicable for animals. That thing is indisputable. So, you can't say it is "universal" . Sanatan dharma means eternal religion.
    – river
    Nov 2, 2022 at 11:26
  • By universal I meant for humans? Btw aatmas take the form of animals because of their deeds
    – Shashaank
    Nov 2, 2022 at 11:27
  • 4
    This question is like "Is gravitation applicable to non-physicists?"
    – hanugm
    Nov 2, 2022 at 11:37
  • 1
    @hanugm lol , Ha Ha ,Yeah , I think you are partially correct. Because one can know accurately what is right and what is wrong only by reading the scriptures. Though all humans know in general what is right and what is wrong. But sometimes , what they think is right is actually wrong. Also Hinduism is more about Law of Dharma . A brahmin man will be judged differently than a kshatriya man. I think similarly non-hindus will be judged differently than hindus. This is my opinion regarding this question . I just want to know what is written about in in scriptures.
    – river
    Nov 2, 2022 at 11:43

2 Answers 2


This could be a tangential answer , though not a picture perfect one (interms of non Hindus) ,

The first shloka of chapter 17 contains a similar question raised by Arjuna regarding those who have cast aside the scriptural injunctions.

ye śhāstra-vidhim utsṛijya yajante śhraddhayānvitāḥ teṣhāṁ niṣhṭhā tu kā kṛiṣhṇa sattvam āho rajas tamaḥ(17.1)
The Lord, in the twenty-third verse of the sixteenth chapter, declared that he, who having cast aside the ordinances of scriptures, acts in an arbitrary way, according to his sweet will, attains neither perfection nor happiness, nor the Supreme Goal. Listening to the Lord's statement, Arjuna thinks that only a few people know those ordinances. A majority of people do not know these ordinances, but they worship the gods according to their caste, social order (asrama), family tradition and innate faith. Due to their disregard for the ordinances of the scriptures, they should be regarded as demoniac, but due to their faith, they could be considered men of divine traits. So Arjuna wants to know, where such people stand. Therefore, he puts a question to Lord Krsna, in the first verse(17.1)
Swami Ramsukhdasjis commentary(Gita Sadhak-Sanjivani)

Bhagavan Krishna answers this question in 17.2

śhrī-bhagavān uvācha tri-vidhā bhavati śhraddhā dehināṁ sā svabhāva-jā sāttvikī rājasī chaiva tāmasī cheti tāṁ śhṛiṇu
Faith is of three kinds. Now the question arises, whether that faith is born of company, learning of scriptures, or of innate nature. The answer is, that it is born of their nature. By having this faith, people worship the gods etc.(17.2)
Swami Ramsukhdasjis commentary(Gita Sadhak-Sanjivani)

Sattvanurapasarvasya sraddha bhavati bharata-Here, the expression 'Sattvanunurupa' stands for Svabhavaja', which was used in the preceding verse. The term 'Sattva', stands for inner sense. So the faith of a man is in accordance with his inner sense. As a man's inner sense is sattvika, rajasa or tamasa, so is his faith. The term 'Sarvasya', denotes 'dehinam' (the embodied), used in the preceding verse. It means, that the faith of each person, whether he knows the ordinances ofthe scriptures or not, believes in them or not, acts, according to them or not and he may belong to any caste, creed, country, social order, of any tradition but, faith of each and all is of three kinds. śhraddhā-mayo ‘yaṁ puruṣho man's character is judged, by his faith. As a man's faith is, so is his character.
yo yach-chhraddhaḥ sa eva saḥ As a man's faith, is so is his 'Nistha', (state of being, conviction) and according to his conviction is his fate. His feelings and actions, are according to his faith. So long as, he maintains affinity with the world, he is the same as is his nature or his inner· sense.(17.3)
Swami Ramsukhdasjis commentary(Gita Sadhak-Sanjivani)

By this it can be inferred that svabhava (by what is acquired in and through several lives), determines with what shraddha one is impelled to do the karma ,(in case of casting aside the scriptural injunctions ) ..Accordingly the karma phala is reaped .


This is an excerpt from the book "Karma" by Sadhguru (Yes, I'm aware it is not from scripture, but the interpretation will probably match other commentaries of mainstream scripture)

“In actual fact, karma has nothing to do with reward and punishment. It has nothing to do with some despotic life auditor up in the sky, working with primitive devices of carrot and stick. It has nothing to do with a benign god up in the heavens. Nothing to do with divine retribution. Nothing to do with virtue and sin, good and evil, God and Mr. Lucifer. Karma simply means we have created the blueprint for our lives. It means we are the makers of our own fate. When we say “This is my karma,” we are actually saying “I am responsible for my life.” Karma is about becoming the source of one’s own creation. In shifting responsibility from heaven to oneself, one becomes the very maker of one’s destiny. Karma is the natural basis of all existence. It is not a law that is imposed from above. It does not allow us to outsource our responsibility anywhere else; it does not allow us to blame our parents, our teachers, our countries, our politicians, our gods, or our fates. It makes each one of us squarely responsible for our own destinies and, above all, the nature of our experience[…]”

“It is quite simple. Your five senses are collecting data from the outside world every moment of your life. You are literally being bombarded with stimuli at every instant. Over time, this enormous volume of sense impressions begins to assume a certain distinctive pattern within you. This pattern slowly shapes itself into behavioral tendencies. A cluster of tendencies hardens over time into what you call your personality, or what you claim to be your true nature. It works in the reverse as well: Your mind shapes the way you experience the world around you. This becomes your karma—an orientation to life that you have created for yourself in relative unawareness. You are not aware of how these tendencies develop. But what you consider to be “myself” is just an accumulation of habits, predispositions, and tendencies you have acquired over time without being conscious of the process. Take a simple example. Some people may have been joyful children but are now unhappy adults. There may have been life events that triggered that unhappiness. But in most cases, people have no clue how and when they acquired this persona.

The word has it's roots in Hinduism, but really it just describes a very natural law of how you attract or repel your own misery. This concept is pretty universal.

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