In general, karma means actions i.e. working, performing, giving to charity, any religious activities, etc. To support these actions with the belief ‘I am the doer’ is called binding the karma. Claiming ‘doership’ of any action, binds karma.
1) The law of karma
Karma is nothing but the echo. When one calls ‘I am king’ in the mountains, the sound simply echoes back. Similarly, in present life we experience the effect of past life.
2) God is not the doer at all
Going further, the Vedas maintain that God is not the doer. Even the Upanishads say the same. God is not the doer; everyone has to undergo the fruits of his own karmas.
3) Karma is bound by inner intent
People label all actions or activities as ‘karma’. But in reality, the activity they see is the fruit of karma, not the actual karma itself. The intention of giving happiness to others binds good karma and the intention of hurting others will bind bad karmas. The bondage of karmas is bound by inner intent. The external actions are all effects.
4) The secret of cause and effect
That which is happening is an effect. When you submit your examination paper, it was the cause and what you receive is the result, the effect. Likewise, the causes that were created in your past life bring fruits to you in this life.
5) Charging and discharging of karma
Present karma effects are discharged karmas. Just like a battery, once they are charged they are ready to discharge their power all the time.
6) Karmas created unintentionally return their effects
Even if we unknowingly do anything good or bad, we still have to experience the effect. Just like when we accidentally put our hand in burning charcoal, our hand will burn.
7) Are karmas bound or released through chanting and penance?
When one does chanting or penance, one binds heavy merit karmas, for which one will receive material happiness in the next life. With dharma, karmas of punya are bound and with adharma, karmas of paap are bound.
8) The path of liberation from the bondage of karma, only in human life
Only humans can bind karma. This is because of the presence of Ego. One can only become free from the bondage of karma when they meet a Gnani Purush (The Enlightened One) and with His grace, they can attain self-realization. With this knowledge of self-realization, one can attain liberation in the human form. There is no other life form where one can attain liberation.