There are several tasks (karma's) a human being can do.

Does sin is associated with the task that human is performing? or it is associated with the thoughts of the human being, who is performing the task?

I will illustrate with an example,

let us assume two persons named F,N. Suppose F believes a set of rules and follow them accordingly without fail. But N believes that no task in this universe is wrong unless the particular person thinks that it is wrong. So, both are performing karma by fully believing they are performing correct karma.

  • Who is performing sins? Both are strongly believing in their thoughts and performing karma.

  • Is bad/good associated with karma or with thoughts ?

  • If bad/good associates with karma, then if N believes strongly a bad karma as good one and performs his karma, then is he committed sin?

Simple instantiate: F believes killing anyway is bad task, but N believes strongly that killing others for self survival is very good task.

  • There is no sin. There is only karma. Karma means 'you get what you do'. That's it. It is not like a punishment. Rather you get that which you did. Intention matters and not the action. Action comes back as reaction. But intention changes whether it is 'good' or 'bad'. Hard to understand isn't it? Think of this example. F is a very bad person in his heart. But he donates the salary he gets to poor people. But in His heart he curses them all the time. Y is a very good person in his heart. But he never donates his salary to anyone. Complicated scenario
    – Sai
    Commented Mar 6, 2015 at 6:27
  • As per my understanding, this is how it affects. X in his later lives, is never happy in his thoughts. He gets all the money he wants (because He donated in early lives). But in His heart he is not satisfied. Whereas Y in his later lives never gets any money. But in his hearts he is very happy and always content. Therefore intention matters. Purify the thoughts. That is the door to the bliss! All the best sir!1
    – Sai
    Commented Mar 6, 2015 at 6:29

3 Answers 3


There are no absolutes in this universe. Everything is relative. What is considered good at one time, place, or circumstance can be considered bad at another time, place, or circumstance.

In Karma Yoga, Swami Vivekananda says: "Every selfish action, therefore, retards our reaching the goal [God/Brahman], and every unselfish action takes us towards the goal; that is why the only definition that can be given of morality is this: That which is selfish is immoral, and that which is unselfish is moral."

Sankaracharya agrees with this. He says in Upadesa Sahasri (XV. 54.) "A man gets liberated if he discards the ideas of 'me' and 'mine' in all respects and gets the perfect conviction in the etherlike goal [Brahman] devoid of (the gross and the subtle) bodies, described here according to right inference and the scriptures well-studied."

This can be seen directly in the Gita. Arjuna is a kshatriya, it is his duty to protect people, and if that means killing, then he should kill. Arjuna tries to give in Gita I. why he should not fight, not kill. But he is trying to raise the banner of non-injury out of his own sense of cowardice, not benevolence. In Gita II. Lord Krishna tells him why he should fight and kill. Further, in Gita XVIII. 4-11. and 23., Lord Krishna says what acts and duties should be performed. Swami Vivekananda has said this also. He states that it is the duty of the sadhu to not injure anyone; but it is the duty of the householder to raise his sword if necessary to defend his family, for a householder to plea non-injury in such a circumstance is simply cowardice.

You give as your final question "F believes killing anyway is bad task, but N believes strongly that killing others for self survival is very good task."

It does not matter what F or N believe. What matters is what Sruti says, what the Vedas say is good/bad or moral/immoral. What Sruti says decides whether or not good or bad karma arises from certain actions. As an example, the Brahma Sutra 3.1.25 says "If it be said (that the sacrifices in which animals are killed) are unholy, (we say) not so, on account of scriptural authority."

In general, harming or injuring another in thought, word, or deed, leads to bad karma. But there are exceptions, and those exceptions are stated in Sruti and it does not matter what you personally believe.


As per the Great Writer in Gujarat Mr.Thakkar has written a good book to understand the Karma.

The Karma is Done by Body, Mind and Speech. Body have 10 Senses Known as; 5 karmendriyas (Organs of Actions) and 5 Gyanendriyas (organs of Senses) All Karma are done by that, by body. Mind have Buddhi (intellect), Ahamkara (Ego) and Mind have five consciousness. There is require to understand mind, beyond being mind. Mind have five states of consciousness in human forms.

Jagruti - Waking Swapna - Dreaming Sushupti - Deep Sleep (slumber) Turiya - Underlying state in all the above states Unmani or Turyateeta - State of enlightened beings where the cosmos is experienced as oneness.

And Third One is Speech.

Now, refer Gunas; Which are also known as prakriti. There are Three Gunas. These three gunas are called: [sattva] (goodness, constructive, harmonious), [rajas] (passion, active, confused), and [tamas] (darkness, destructive, chaotic). In short Satva is Positive create Punya (Righteousness), Rajas is Neutral neither create punya (Righteousness) or Pap (sin) and Tamas only creates pap (Sin).

These three Gunas are the base of all the activities we done. Only Karma is not have its fruit, its depend on the Gunas. The Example Given by Mr.Thakkar were not totally show true picture, but its lead to right understanding of Karma and its Gati (Result). There is Karma and its Fal (Fruits) which are as per Gunas.

For Example: For Doing Karma. Like if it is stated that A will kill B
--Now Sattva People will join military or police and for stopping the B from doing Illegal Act A fire a Gun and B will Die, As per the mental feeling of A have Virtues, So A do its Karma and also Gain Punya (righteousness).
--If There is Rajas Karma, A will try to clear its Gun, and sudden that fire and kill B, it this action (karma) the feeling of the A is neither right nor to do something wrong, its neutral, so that will neither create righteousness nor sin.
--If there is Tamas karma, A would be either thief or to gain something by illegal way, kill B, The mental feeling is to do something wrong, so in result, A Do Karma as its written that A will do it, and also create the Sin.

So By doing Karma, A if do Satva, do karma and have righteousness, if Rajas neither righteousness nor sin, If Tamas do karma and create the Sin (for which he pay the price).

Now see how Fruit are received by Satva, Rajas And Tamas. It is said that A must die by Gun Shot
-- Now if A is to gain Good Fruit by even facing the Fruit of its past karma, A will join the military, or police and Get the shot and as he had feeling to do something good, as fulfilling duty, He get the Fruit, and also create righteousness.
-- If he has to get result as Rajas, he try to clean the gun and suddenly bullet fired from gun, as the mind of the A is neutral and he neither want to do right nor wrong he will neither get righteousness nor sin in his account of Karma and Fruit.
--If There is Tamas Karma, A will try to theft or do wrong thing and get shot by police, and that will create sin.

So As per three Gunas the person do Karma, and also get the fruit.

If There is decided that, as per karma of the A he will Get Rs.1,00,000/-; If he want to act as Satva, he would do some prestigious work and will get honour price, so he get the money and also create righteousness. if he get by lottery or from some place, as person have neutral mind and feeling, neither righteousness nor sin will created in Karma Account, If person would act under effect of Tamas he would do some wrong act, theft the money, or by extortion, and create sin.

Karma are connected with the Gunas and Mental Status. Karma are depend on feeling (bhava) like Hug to Mother, Hug to Wife or Hug to Daughter is Act of Hug, but the feeling are different and create different righteousness or Sin in Karma Account.


There are several things that come into play. The main question, is what is task? Is the task helping or harming people,nature,plants,living beings,things around him?

If the task is to help people who are in need then both thoughts and deeds are considered good. Because this is changing your state of mind into something positive. Basically, moving into satvic state, purifying one's mind. But if you can do something good and but intentionally avoid then you are building guilt..

But if the task is to cause grief to others by giving or taking away, then such thoughts are considered negative and going into wrong direction.

There is a fine line sometimes, you have to do your best for better/greater good and with best intentions and in positive frame of mind.

Also, whose rules are we talking about here? Basic rules, ethics of life are common. But the rules again vary for plants and animals. Animals hunt to kill and eat. They are just doing what they are supposed to do, for feeding themselves and not for sport/fun. But humans who hunt for fun are definitely wrong.

Main Rule: live simple and think high. Most of the problems come, if people stray from this simple rule.

  • Suppose we hypnotize a person and feed in to his brain "harming others is the nicest and very good task in this universe and remaining all tasks are bad " , then the person believes and does the same. Is it sin ? I think not , because his thoughts are in favor of harming with no guilt .
    – hanugm
    Commented Mar 5, 2015 at 7:08
  • Yes, the person who hypnotizes will be actionable. Hence the path to moksha needs stronger practice/control over mind which is not influenced by others.
    – vent
    Commented Mar 5, 2015 at 7:27

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .