The world have so many evil or corrupted people who are successful.

If karma is applicable to people, why do good people have to struggle?

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    Think like this. A person does lots of 'good' karma and gets fruits for it and then utilizes those fruits for 'bad' work. By the time he will get the 'bad' fruits, he dies. Other person does lots of 'bad' karma and gets fruits for it and then utilizes those fruits for 'good' work. By the time he will get the 'good' fruits, he dies. Such things will be extended in their next incarnations. BTW, I am not aware anyone evil/corrupted as "successful" so far.
    – iammilind
    Commented Oct 5, 2015 at 9:37
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    Yes I knew in first place, but just wanted you to say for confirmation. Judging a person based on money and fame is a bad karma in itself, hence you get an illusion feeling of seeing them successful. So actually when we judge them successful, we are getting the fruit of our bad Karma. e.g. Yudhishtira misguided Drona on killing of Ashwathama; For this post death, he saw Paandavas in hell as an illusion. (Un)Knowingly, we seed these thoughts into young children and creating an directionless race. The whole notion of success itself is flawed where we are creating an unwanted competition! :(
    – iammilind
    Commented Oct 5, 2015 at 9:47
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    As I wrote in my first comment, you can easily relate it to the bad karma of past (lives) for those who are suffering. A general example can be: Certain castes did atrocities on certain other castes for many years. Now we have caste based reservation system in India as repayment! We cannot say when the Karma would kick-in; the great souls like Parashurama or Gandhari can say such things in form of Shraap. However there are ways to even come out of such situations as well. But it's a different topic and discussion. For now, it would be interesting to see answers for this question.
    – iammilind
    Commented Oct 5, 2015 at 10:15
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    The God is so merciful that he gives you freedom to explore the depth of material life. For example if you want to devour creatures he will turn you in to more appropriate creature to give you ultimate freedom in your choice. The same is with the money.
    – user2578
    Commented Oct 5, 2015 at 20:34
  • 3
    It is a misunderstanding by most of the people. Karma will definitely work. But the Hinduism does not impose any time frame on when it will work. Commented Oct 6, 2015 at 5:32

4 Answers 4


This is not difficult to explain from the Karma and rebirth doctrine of Hinduism.

When you say a person is corrupt, you are only seeing the conducts and acts of the person in the current life.

This in the scriptures is known as the Vartamana Karma.

But, there are Sanchita Karmas (accumulated over previous births) as well as Prarabdha (which are commenced or ready to bear fruits).

Both these two Karmas were done by the Jiva in it's previous births, so we don't have any clue as to how they were (good or bad).

If you say a visibly bad person is leading a good life then that only means his Vartamana Karma is bad but he is carrying very good Sanchita and Prarabdha Karmas which are bearing their fruits in his current life.

See, the various relevant verses from the Devi Bhagavatam given below:

36-38. No soul is independent; every one is under the effects of one’s own Karma. The Pundits that have realised the Truth, say that Karma is of three kinds, Accumulated, Present, and Prârabdha? This whole world is due to Kâla (Time), Karma (action) and Svabhâva (Nature); unless the proper time comes, even the Devas cannot kill men. The men are killed on account of some cause, immediate; but the Great Time is the real Destroy


  1. The Karmas done by Jîvas are of three kinds :-- auspicious, inauspicious and mixed (partly auspicious and partly inauspicious); of which the auspicious is the Sattvik Karma, the inauspicious is the Tamasik Karma and the mixed, is the Râjasic Karma. Thus have been said by the Sages.
  2. These three again are subdivided into three. They are Sanchita (accumulated), Bhavisya (impending in future) and Prârabdha (commenced). All these Karmas are in dwelling always with the body


  1. Vâsudeva said :-- O blessed one! I now tell you what is truth and the matters connected with truth. 19-20. Effort, application and manifestation of energy are certainly the duties of man; but their effects are all under the Great Destiny or Fate. The Pundits knowing the ancient lore say that there are three kinds of Karma mentioned in the Purânas and Âgamas :-- First, the Sanchita Karma (done in past births); the Prârabdha Karma, the Karma already done; and the Vartamân Karma (Karma in hand).
  2. The Karma, auspicious and inauspicious, done in many previous lives and preserved in seed forms, remains always inherent in a human soul. Urged on by this Karma, the Jîvas quitting their previous bodies, enjoy Heaven or Hell as effects of these, their own acts. 22-23. According to their good or bad works, the Jîvas acquire the higher happy body and enjoy various pleasures in the Heavens, or they take up very painful vicious bodies and suffer various pains in hell.

  3. The Prârabdha Karma, those acts out of all the previous acts done in previous births that are fully mature and ready to yield their fruits, cannot be averted; their effects must have to be experienced and then they can die away; they cannot be expiated by penances or any other remedial measures. Therefore you must hand over unconditionally your new born babe unto the hands of Kamsa.


So, the Hindu concept of rebirth and the three different kinds of Karmas well explain the situations like "good people but still facing troubles in life" or the opposite scenario.

  • "Urged on by this Karma, the Jîvas quitting their previous bodies, enjoy Heaven or Hell as effects of these, their own acts." If they already go heaven or hell as fruits of karma, then do they again bear fruits of the karma because of which they went to heaven or hell? Or Do they expire after enjoying there? I mean, which prarabdha karmas lead to bear fruits as heaven hell and which prarabdha karma lead to bear fruits in next births?
    – LSSJ Broly
    Commented Jan 27 at 12:20
  • Good karmas will lead to heaven stay as long as those good karmas do not get exhausted ... same for hell but neither this pleasure or the suffering (in hell) are permanent @LSSJBroly
    – Rickross
    Commented Jan 28 at 6:14
  • Actually I'm asking like for ex.. x sins committed in all lives lived till now...then got hell for y sins after this life and then in next birth got the result of z sins which was stored as prarabdha. So basically I'm asking that which karmas lead to heaven hell and which lead to the prarabdha karma ready to fructify for experience in next birth (Value of y and z)
    – LSSJ Broly
    Commented Jan 28 at 7:57
  • And do we again get the result of the karmas experienced in heaven hell in next birth? (Is y=z)
    – LSSJ Broly
    Commented Jan 28 at 7:58
  • Answer to your second Q -- no once the fruits of karmas are experienced in either heaven or hell they are destroyed. Thy can not be experienced again. @LSSJBroly
    – Rickross
    Commented Jan 29 at 6:30

Before you can say evil people are successful, we need to define success. Is money called success or is the power to control called success? The more successful you are the more egoistic you will be,the more egoistic you become your life will become miserable. Bhagavad Gita says "Don't perform the action expecting a favourable result. Surrender the results of your actions to lord and accept what lord gives you". This will remove all your sufferings and you will find peace.

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    'karma works' ought be defined too.
    – ukhardy
    Commented Nov 29, 2015 at 3:18

This is a very good question that often arises in most of our minds.

As Sri Krishna says in Gita (16/17)

"gahana karmano gatih" meaning understanding the ways of karma is very difficult.

Hindus also believe in rebirth :(Gita, 2/27)

"who dies must be reborn and who is born must die".

We have another popular saying:

"Avasyameva bhoktavyam kritam karma shuva-ashuvam/maa bhuktam kshiyate karma kalpakotisatairnapi//"

meaning : No one not escape from the fruits of good and evil deeds. Without enjoying/suffering it can not be lessened even in crores of kalpas.

But we do not apparently see that happening aroud us. Sri Ramakrisha points out:

This world is His maya. Activities of maya are very puzzling, nothing can be clearly understood! (Kathamrita, 2 March 1884)

As Sitaramdas Omkarnathji used to say, many corrupt people are successful because they are now *getting fruit of good karmas in some previous lives. The bad deeds will yield evil results surely as soon as the store of the fruits of his good deeds ends, may be in this life or in some next lives.

Good people who are struggling but not getting desired results do not have enough stock of fruits of good deeds of previous births. But their good deeds will surely bear good results in future.

Also, “ Yato Abhyudaya Nishreyasa Siddhihi sa Dharmaha ”--so dharma gives both success and liberation while adharma may yield only worldly success..

Good people also struggle because

sreyascha preyascha manushyametatau samparitya vivinakti dhirah/sreyo hi dhiro'vipreyaso vrinite preyo mando yogakshemad vrinite//(Kathopanishad) meaning : 'Sreya'[That leads to Truth] and 'Preya'[That leads to happiness] come to every individual. The good (intelligent) ones accept the 'Sreya' and the people with lower intelligence embrace the 'Preya' for material well-being. (Reference :Stavakumanjali, Swami Gambhirananda, Udbodhan,page 63).

So as per the Upanishad, good people do not accept the path that leads to short term success. They always embrace the just path that leads to the Truth.Rejecting 'Preya' will mean suffering in the short run.

As Swami Vivekananda writes in a beautiful poem poem to the then king of Khetri:

Not a work will be lost, no struggle vain,

Though hopes be blighted, powers gone;

Of thy loins shall come the heirs to all,

Then hold on yet a while, brave soul,

No good is ever undone.

Finally I quote Sri Ramakrishna (Kathamrita, 25 Feb 1883)

Who will be able to understand His doings?...Success and failure are all in His hands. Here one prostitute got liberated while dying consciously beside the Ganges.(Udbodhan ed.page 140)

Reference: CW https://advaitaashrama.org/cw/content.php


Is life all about 'all that happens to us' or does it also include what we learn from it? If Karma was all that is required to explain whats going on then what happened to the first guy who got his money robbed even when he never robbed anyone else's money? The drama is not only about what happened to you but also what you learn from it. Karma takes care of 'what happens to you' to be fair as per what you do in the span of all the lives your soul lives, but doesn't ensure what you learn. Suppose if bad happens to you without any reason good will also happen without any reason so that you realize the higher truths of life. All that we need to learn from karma theory is to do good to others and move on. I don't say that bad will happen to you even if you are good, but I say that we need to do good, and that's the intention of karma theory. It is for you to know that GOD is unbiased and helping you to prosper.
Ask yourself what comes out of that struggle. A stage will come when karma theory will make no sense when you surpass duality. This theory is just to keep you going towards self-improvement.

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    Answers here need reference to authentic hindu scriptures! Its mandatory! Commented Feb 16, 2019 at 11:08
  • Na karmana na prajaya dhanena tyage anaike amruthathwa manushuhu.(Sanyasa sukhtam) retrating that karma can not lead you to salvation. Even with a thousand good karmas truth cant be realized. Karamanyevadhikarasthe maa faleshu kadachana maa karma phala heturbhur maatesangostvakarmani (geeta) reminding that don't bother about the fruit of action. These only try to tell us that sticking to fruits of action( what happens to you), if you don't move on you are not progressing spiritually. Commented Feb 16, 2019 at 14:49
  • geetha also says that individual is not the doer(for a person fixed his mind on akarma). Not even a dry leaf of a tree can fall without my will. Now all the karma theory becomes funny when only god is the doer. The theory of karma is good for those who still are not free from doer-ship. Commented Feb 16, 2019 at 14:54
  • It is not a direct reference but can be easily seen and understood. Commented Feb 16, 2019 at 14:55
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    That's fine but this site regulations mention authentic direct reference because to avoid speculative discussion Commented Feb 16, 2019 at 15:12

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