I have heard a lot in hinduism about our karma passing on to our next life. If I am a horrible person this life and living a great life, the next one is going to be miserable. By that logic, people who are living a miserable life did bad things in their past life.

On the other hand, Hinduism teaches people to help helpless/miserable people. If they deserve it anyhow, why help them? Isn't helping them a sin too?

This feels contradictory, and I'm confused.


2 Answers 2


Only Isvara can know definitively if the suffering in this life is due to past sins. Humans can't be sure. There are two reasons for this.

First Reason

Suffering inevitable in this world

Contact of the senses with their objects generates cold and heat, pleasure and pain. They come and go, being impermanent. Bear with them patiently, O scion of the Bharata race!

Gita 2.14

Even a man who has lived his life perfectly will die and endure some suffering.

Second Reason

Isvara distributes the fruits of Karma

The fruit of action is from Him, this being the logical position.

Brahma Sutra Sankaracharya Bhasya III.ii.38

So only Isvara can be certain if a person's suffering is due to past life sins since He is distributing the fruits of Karma.

And isn't helping them a sin too?

Hindu scriptures ask us to help people who are suffering

I abide in all beings as their inner-most soul. Disregarding My presence within them, men make a show of worshiping Me through images. If one disregards Me present in all as their soul and Lord but ignorantly offers worship only to images, such worship is as ineffective as a sacrificial offering made in ashes. A man who persecutes Me residing in others, who is proud and haughty, who looks upon God as the other – such a person will never attain to peace of mind. If a man disregards and persecutes fellow beings, but worships Me in images with numerous rituals and rich offerings, I am not at all pleased with him for proffering such worship. A man should, however, worship Me in images, side by side with discharging his duties, which include the love of all beings, until he actually realizes My presence in in himself and in all beings. As long as man is self-centered and makes an absolute distinction between himself and others (without recognising the unity of all in Me, the Inner Pervader), he will be subject to the great fear of Death (including every form of deprivation of self-interest). So, overcoming the separateness of a self-centered life, one should serve all beings with gifts, honor and love, recognizing that such service is really being rendered to Me who reside in all beings as their innermost soul.

Srimad Bhagavata Purana III.29.21-27

Need to feel for the afflicted

A Brahmana might be even-sighted and calm in disposition. But if he cannot sympathize with the afflicted, all the merits of his austerity come to naught like water kept in a broken pot.

Srimad Bhagavata Purana IV.14.41

A Jiva should not presume to play the role of Isvara and judge another person. He has not been given that right.


Helping people commit sins is bad (because part of the sin aka negative/paapa karma goes to you), but helping suffering people is never bad. Not sure what part you're confused about...

Also keep in mind, that even if people deserve all sorts of diseases and disabilities and so on, which they certainly do, they also deserve your help to solve them, no?

Do not assume that you are outside Karma, your good actions towards others are deserved by them too, as are your bad actions. How can this be? Well it's simple because the individual soul is immortal, and has infinite lives, there's some karma here or there which allows you to be pulled down or up, and that karma is dissolved by another person helping/hurting out of their free will.

That's why it is said to not be angry or hateful towards anyone, as anyone doing any bad (or good) to you, is also deserved by you even as it may appear, or may really be out of their free will. Those people in their free will are creating bad Karma for themselves, that's another matter.

If you go and help someone, don't assume that something good is happening to another person that he doesn't deserve. Your free willed actions are also Karma Phala for another person. Now, of course, if your free willed actions are producing good things in another person, you get Punya, and the opposite results in Paapa, that's another factor that is directly affecting you, rather than the other person.

And, before that stupid bot replies, I won't be giving any sources, because it's not needed.:)

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