Is believing or even knowing of the vedic scriptures necessary for a good karma and rebirth (or relieve thereof)?

I have seen this What is required for a Westerner who agrees with Advaita Vedanta to attain a good rebirth? question, and I think the very question is based on false assumptions.

My understanding as of now is that if you do right and avoid doing wrong, karma is improved, and no knowledge of any scripture is required. (But of course, it is easier to do so when you know.)

I have a hard time absorbing all the answers and comments; even more to pick the best answer instead of one that pleases me most.

Thank you all but, give me some time.

My choice is impure because I have only impure knowledge. Based on "You will have to reduce anger, greed and lust" I have chosen an answer.

  • You are definitely wrong. I saw many of my friends saying that there is nothing than to do good karma in scriptures. They feel that they are doing good karma and no need to worship god. Learn advaitha then you will learn how karma works Commented Jan 14 at 19:10
  • @user2225190 what god? This site is about Hinduism. I'm well aware of the Abrahamic religions in which context your comment would make perfect sense. Commented Jan 14 at 19:15
  • God is consciousness as per hinduism. It is formless and exists everywhere with no start or stop. We believe that the consciousness is in species, stones etc (both movable and immovable objects) so we see god everwhere like sun god, moon god, rain god, fire god etc. Condciousness is in every atom. See, without consciousness then our body, our brain are just flesh without movement. It is consciousness that exists everywhere running the universe. Commented Jan 14 at 19:40
  • Hinduism allows worshipping you and me also as god i.e. we are worshipping the consciousness in you or me as god. The karma will be stored in consciousness which is in every atom as I said. Commented Jan 14 at 19:43
  • @user2225190 And so if "God is consciousness as per hinduism", where is the need of worship? Commented Jan 14 at 19:45

4 Answers 4


You have to be sensitive to spiritual values in your daily life for a good rebirth. Insensitiveness to spiritual values will not be helpful.

O son of Prtha! Pretentiousness, arrogance, overweening pride, wrath, rudeness, as also insensitiveness to spiritual values – all these are found in those born to a demoniac heritage.

Gita 16.4

You will have to reduce anger, greed and lust.

Lust, anger and greed – this triad leads to the destruction of man’s spiritual nature. They form the gateway to hell; they should be abandoned.

Gita 16.21

If a man is free from these three, the gateways to hell, he can work out his own good and reach the highest goal.

Gita 16.22

Then your karma will be automatically good and your chance of good rebirth will increase. Scripture (Sastra) is an useful aid but not absolutely necessary. You may learn the spiritual values from an exemplar.


They study the Vedas and discuss. But they do not realize the Ultimate Reality just as a spoon does not know the taste of food.

The head carries the flowers, the nose knows the scent. The people study the Vedas. But, very few persons understand the same.

Not knowing the Reality of the self, a fool is infatuated by the sastras. When the goat stands in the shed, the shepherd seeks for it in the well in vain.

The knowledge of the sastras is not competent to destroy the infatuation accruing from worldly affairs. ….

Scriptures are many, age is short. Obstacles come in battalion. One should pick up truth from falsehood as a goose picks up milk from water.

Having studied the Vedas and realized their essence the wise man should leave all the sastras just as one desiring corn leaves the husk.

Just as one satiated with nectar has no use of food, no one who is in search of Reality has anything to do with the sastras.

One cannot obtain release by reading the Vedas or the sastras. Release comes from experience, not otherwise, O son of Vinata.

[Garuda Purana, Dharma Khanda, Chapter XLIX]


Is believing or even knowing of the vedic scriptures necessary for a good karma and rebirth (or relieve thereof)?

All these Vedas, as you are aware, are divided into two portions — the Karma Kânda and the Jnâna Kânda. The Karma Kanda includes various sacrifices and ceremonials, of which the larger part has fallen into disuse in the present age. The Jnana Kanda, as embodying the spiritual teachings of the Vedas known as the Upanishads and the Vedanta, has always been cited as the highest authority by all our teachers, philosophers, and writers, whether dualist, or qualified monist, or monist. Whatever be his philosophy or sect, every one in India has to find his authority in the Upanishads. If he cannot, his sect would be heterodox. Therefore, perhaps the one name in modern times which would designate every Hindu throughout the land would be “Vedantist” or “Vaidika”, as you may put it; and in that sense I always use the words “Vedantism” and “Vedanta”.

Source: Vedanta in its Application to Indian Life. Date Accessed: 15-01-24.

In Summary, Vedanta consists of three portions - Karma Kanda, Jnana Kanda and Upasana Kanda. Out of which Karma and Upasana Kanda aren't being followed anymore and aren't given authority in a few of Hindu traditions too. So your question about believing - No. Belief is not totally necessary for all Vedic scriptures when we talk about jnana yoga or Advaita Vedanta, while it's not necessary to reject Vedanta either if you don't believe in them. Practices in Advaita Vedanta such as mindfulness, meditation, neti-neti, etc are sufficient to neutralize karmas, slowly.

My understanding as of now is that if you do right and avoid doing wrong, karma is improved, and no knowledge of any scripture is required. (But of course, it is easier to do so when you know.)

No. You need scriptures or at least knowledge from them to know what is right and what is wrong. You cannot establish right practices and karma without the knowledge of how to do so without scriptures. The dangers of lack of knowledge is very high as it results in a high ego which is the only barrier to good karma/liberation. Bare minimum knowledge of Advaita and scriptures are required at least.

Essentials of Advaita Vedanta and requirement of a guru.

Advaita Vedānta school has traditionally had a high reverence for Guru (teacher), and recommends that a competent Guru be sought in one's pursuit of spirituality, though this is not mandatory.[221] Reading of Vedic literature and reflection is the most essential practice.[221] Adi Shankara, states Comans, regularly employed compound words "such as Sastracaryopadesa (instruction by way of the scriptures and the teacher) and Vedāntacaryopadesa (instruction by way of the Upanishads and the teacher) to emphasize the importance of Guru".[221] According to Comans, this reflects the Advaita tradition which holds a competent teacher as important and essential to gaining correct knowledge, freeing oneself from false knowledge, and to self-realization.[222] Nevertheless, in the Bhamati-school the guru has a less essential role, as he can explain the teachings, but the student has to venture its further study.[223]

Source: Wikipedia. Advaita Vedanta. Moksha - liberating knowledge of Brahman > Guru. Date Accessed - 15-01-24.

On Knowledge of Scriptures

  1. Sastras are innumerable, and again it takes a long time to understand their real meaning (even if one succeeds in going through them); life is short, but the obstacles are many; therefore the intelligent should only take the real meaning of them as a Hamsa (swan) separates the milk only out of milk-mixed water.

  2. The Puranas, the Bharata, the Vedas, and various other Sastras, wife, children, and family are simply so many obstacles on the path of Yoga-practice.

  3. Dost thou desire to know all by thy own experience - that this is knowledge, and that is worth knowing, etc., - then thou shalt fail to know the end of the Sastras even if thine age be over a thousand years.

  4. Considering life to be very impermanent, try to know only the indestructible Sat, give up the unnecessary reading of books, and worship Truth.

  5. Out of all the beautiful objects that exist in this world, most are intended either to please the tongue or give pleasures to sex: if you can relinquish the pleasures of both these,then where is the necessity of this world for you. (Meaning that these two constitute the essence of selfishness in a man's mind; discard them, and you get rid of the selfish feeling, thereby living for virtue and the good of humanity alone.)

  6. The sacred rivers after all are but waters and the idols worshipped are nothing but either stones,metals, or earth. Yogis go neither to the former nor worship the latter, because within themselves exist all sacred places and the synthesis of all idols.

  7. Agni or Fire is the god of the twice-born who are given to sacrifice; the Munis call the Atman within them their god, the less intelligent portion worship the idols, but the Yogis see Brahman equally everywhere - both in the fire, within themselves, in idols, and all around.

  8. As a blind man cannot see the sun although it lightens the whole world, so those blind of knowledge, or the spiritually blind, also cannot perceive the Omnipresent Eternal Peace that encompasses the whole universe.

  9. Wherever the Mind (of a Tattvajnanin) goes, it sees the Paramatman there because all and everything is full with the One Brahman.

  10. As the serene bright sky is observable with all its panorama of forms, names, and colours, so he who is able to realize the idea that "I am Brahman" - in spite of all forms, names, and colours - alone can see the eternal Paramatman actually.

Mahabharata. Krishna to Arjuna. Uttara Gita. Date Accessed: 17-01-24

  • I have trouble fully understanding your answer, and don't really know how to ask. You say "The dangers of lack of knowledge is very high", so it is possible to be right by mere intuition, or luck, but this is highly improbable? And another thought: if a being has not yet reached the level of being born as a human, what access to the scripture can it have? Commented Jan 15 at 17:44
  • @GyroGearloose depends on the school of thought Minamasa generally believes from what I have heard one cannot escape Karma, so rituals elevate us and those are prescribed in Vedas. Other schools agree Vedas allow us to ESCAPE karma/samsara and gain moksha.
    – Haridasa
    Commented Jan 15 at 20:18
  • @Haridasa as i have nearly no background knowledge of Hinduism, your comment confuses me more than clarify. If "one cannot escape Karma", what use can do rituals? Commented Jan 15 at 20:23
  • 1
    @GyroGearloose I too have mainly background knowledge except for the Bhagavad Gita which is usually vedantic text. Rituals as per Minamsa create good Karma and elevate us to diviner realms. The six Vedic Darshanas are Minamsa, Samkhya, Nyaya, Vaisheshika, Yoga, and Vedanta(Uttara Minamsa). Each has its sutra I suggest you pick the philosophy you like and read about it. Wikipedia while not credible is a good starting place.
    – Haridasa
    Commented Jan 15 at 20:28
  • @Haridasa You cannot escape Karmas. Your response is not fit in the Advaitic context in which OP is writing. Check question properly please.
    – user29449
    Commented Jan 16 at 4:59

There are different answers according to the individual consciousness of a person. These different answers we find even in Bhagavad Gita. In 16th chapter Kṛṣṇa describes about demoniac kind of people, they don't know what should be done and what not, they are unclean not truthful. They beleive world is unreal and produced of sexual desire, thus they engage themselves in horrible works that are meant to destroy the world. So Kṛṣṇa further says such people are envious, mischievous and they take birth in demoniac species of life thus opening the gates of hell through lust, greed and anger. Therefore, people who are of such degraded consciousness, for them Kṛṣṇa suggest in 16.23 that you please try to follow the scriptures -:

yaḥ śāstra-vidhim utsṛjya

vartate kāma-kārataḥ

na sa siddhim avāpnoti

na sukham na parām gatim

Translation -: "But he who discards scriptural injunctions and acts according to his own whims attains neither perfection, nor happiness, nor the supreme destination."

Purport -: As described before, the śāstra-vidhim, or the direction of the śāstra, is given to the different castes and orders of human society. Everyone is expected to follow these rules and regulations. If one does not follow them and acts whimsically according to his lust, greed and desire, then he never will be perfect in his life. In other words, a man may theoretically know all these things, but if he does not apply them in his own life, then he is to be known as the lowest of mankind. In the human form of life, a living entity is expected to be sane and to follow the regulations given for elevating his life to the highest platform, but if he does not follow them, then he degrades himself. But even if he follows the rules and regulations and moral principles and ultimately does not come to the stage of understanding the Supreme Lord, then all his knowledge becomes spoiled. Therefore one should gradually raise himself to the platform of Kṛṣṇa consciousness and devotional service; it is then and there that he can attain the highest perfectional stage, not otherwise. The word kāma-cārataḥ is very significant. A person who knowingly violates the rules acts in lust. He knows that this is forbidden, still he acts. This is called acting whimsically. He knows that this should be done, but still he does not do it; therefore he is called whimsical. Such persons are destined to be condemned by the Supreme Lord. Such persons cannot have the perfection which is meant for the human life. The human life is especially meant for purifying one's existence, and one who does not follow the rules and regulations cannot purify himself, nor can he attain the real stage of happiness.

(Ref - Bhagavad Gita As It Is, 16.23, By His Divine Grace Śrīla Prabhupāda, Original Macmillan edition, 1972)

Just as a part of extension for the answer, there are people above this demoniac consciousness also, who try to follow the scriptures. Thus they are generally attracted to karma Kanda way of life. Thus Kṛṣṇa describes them in 2.42-43 as follows -:

yām imāṁ puṣpitāṁ vācaṁ

pravadanty avipaścitaḥ

veda-vāda-ratāḥ pārtha

nānyad astīti vādinaḥ

kāmātmānaḥ svarga-parā



bhogaiśvarya-gatiṁ prati

Translation -: Men of small knowledge are very much attached to the flowery words of the Vedas, which recommend various fruitive activities for elevation to heavenly planets, resultant good birth, power, and so forth. Being desirous of sense gratification and opulent life, they say that there is nothing more than this.

(Ref - Bhagavad Gita As It Is, 2.42-43, By His Divine Grace Śrīla Prabhupāda, Original Macmillan edition, 1972)

Thus karmis are already on human platform (above demoniac consciousness) so they tend to follow scriptures but unfortunately get stuck in karma kand or heavenly enjoyment. Thus further for their betterment Kṛṣṇa advices in 2.45 as follows -:

trai-guṇya-viṣayā vedā

nistrai-guṇyo bhavārjuna

nirdvandvo nitya-sattva-stho

niryoga-kṣema ātmavān

Translation -: The Vedas mainly deal with the subject of the three modes of material nature. Rise above these modes, O Arjuna. Be transcendental to all of them. Be free from all dualities and from all anxieties for gain and safety, and be established in the Self.

(Ref - Bhagavad Gita As It Is, 2.45, By His Divine Grace Śrīla Prabhupāda, Original Macmillan edition, 1972)

Kṛṣṇa advices karmis to rise above scriptures rules and regulation and come to the Brahma Bhuta platform. Thus for people who are already on Brahma bhuta stage, Kṛṣṇa says further in 18.54 as follows -:

brahma-bhūtaḥ prasannātmā

na śocati na kāṅkṣati

samaḥ sarveṣu bhūteṣu

mad-bhaktiṁ labhate parām

Translation -: One who is thus transcendentally situated at once realizes the Supreme Brahman. He never laments nor desires to have anything; he is equally disposed to every living entity. In that state he attains pure devotional service unto Me.

(Ref - Bhagavad Gita As It Is, 18.54, By His Divine Grace Śrīla Prabhupāda, Original Macmillan edition, 1972)

Kṛṣṇa says here that a person on Transcendental platform starts pure bhakti towards Me. And that's the stage of perfection. So we saw how different types of people be they demoniac, karmis, jnanis, etc have different mentalities and for their betterment Kṛṣṇa answers in different ways. Demons are engaged in abominable activities so Kṛṣṇa says you atleast follow scriptures. Karmis who follow scriptures, to them Kṛṣṇa says you rise on Brahma bhuta platform, in order to transcend the heavenly pleasure. Further jnanis are already on Brahma Bhuta stage so Kṛṣṇa says at that point they start pure devotional service, means they become devotees of the Lord and enter the spiritual kingdom.


Is believing or even knowing of the vedic scriptures necessary for a good karma and rebirth (or relieve thereof)?

Believing in vedic scriptures or hindu scriptures is neither necessary, nor sufficient for moksha or for good rebirth.

What is mentioned in the Hindu scriptures is also mentioned in other places, notably in some Buddhist scriptures. It is also possible for some of these teachings to be independently rediscovered by others.

For example, there are similarities between Bhagavad Gita and some Buddhist teachings.

Bhagavad Gita

2.15 That firm man whom, surely, these afflict not, O chief among men, to whom pleasure and pain are the same, is fit for attaining immortality.

2.38 Having made pleasure and pain, gain and loss, victory and defeat the same, engage thou in battle for the sake of battle; thus thou shalt not incur sin.

12.18 He who is the same to foe and friend, and also in honour and dishonour, who is the same in cold and heat and in pleasure and pain, who is free from attachment.

12.19 He to whom censure and praise are equal, who is silent, content with anything, homeless, of a steady mind, and full of devotion that man is dear to Me.

Anguttara Nikaya 8.6

Gain does not obsess his mind, and loss does not obsess his mind. Fame does not obsess his mind, and disrepute does not obsess his mind. Blame does not obsess his mind, and praise does not obsess his mind. Pleasure does not obsess his mind, and pain does not obsess his mind. He is not attracted to gain or repelled by loss. He is not attracted to fame or repelled by disrepute. He is not attracted to praise or repelled by blame. He is not attracted to pleasure or repelled by pain. Having thus discarded attraction and repulsion, he is freed from birth, from old age and death, from sorrow, lamentation, pain, dejection, and anguish; he is freed from suffering, I say.

It is also not even necessary to believe in a permanent, everlasting Atman for achieving freedom from samsAra. Merely focusing on the impermanence of things can deliver one from grief.

Bhagavad Gita

2.26 But even if thou thinkest of It (Atman) as being constantly born and constantly dying, even then, O mighty-armed, thou shouldst not grieve.

2.27 For certain is death for the born, and certain is birth for the dead; therefore, over the inevitable thou shouldst not grieve.

  • Another brilliant answer fully equipped with resources!! Keep educating us! :)
    – user29449
    Commented Jan 17 at 14:19

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