The word karma has its origin in Hinduism, and a loose literal translation would mean ones deeds and the effect such deeds yield. It is often misconstrued that karma only means punishment for past misdeeds, however this is not true. A good and merciful God also rewards the good actions of a good man.
Although this is a concept that had its origin in Hinduism, it does not belong exclusively to the Hindu’s. I have found this concept in the Bible as well “ As you sow, so shall you reap”, and its meaning- you will be rewarded or punished as per your actions. If we understand and accept all that is found in the Bible and the Vedas, as spiritual beings, why are we still struggling to rise above everyday challenges.
Right living is simple as explained in our great books, it is the interpreters who have complicated it by over analysing and defaming the original message. The original meaning is that we should act in a way that is pleasing to God in order to get the rewards that we deserve as we can see from various religions.
Krishna–“Fixing your heart on Me, you will overcome every difficulty by My grace; but if from self-conceit you do not listen to Me, you shall perish utterly.”
Mohammed–“If you rely upon God as He ought to be relied upon, He will provide you as He provides the birds: they go out empty and hungry in the morning and come back big-bellied at eventide.”
Native American–“All things give thanks to You, O Wakan-Tanka, who are merciful, and who help us all. We ask all this of You because we know that You are the only One, and that You have power over all things!”
All religions believe that we receive our rewards and punishment either in this life or in death. However Hinduism, because of its belief in rebirth believe that if we do not receive our benefits and punishment in this life, same can and will be meted out to us in our next life.
This theory to me, as a Hindu makes sense, how else do you explain the difference between the place, family, society and circumstances in which people are born. It is said in the vedas that our previous life determines this life and what we do in this life determines the circumstances of our next life.
Karma is the intertwined knot that has no beginning and no end, this symbolizes the interlinking of cause and effect, if you desire only positive results act only in a positive manner.