The mills of the gods grind slowly, but they grind exceedingly fine.
— Hafiz Shirazi
This trope covers incidents where:
- The word karma is used more or less "correctly" per its original meaning.
- A concept is introduced into a story or a story element that is essentially identical to karma, even though it's not called that.
For cases where the term karma
used "properly", see Call It Karma
. Frequently paired with the spiritual concept of Reincarnation
This page originally read "Describe Karma
here." Yikes! Of course that's also the whole point. Karma
is a complex spiritual concept whose disambiguation
is perhaps best left not to TV Tropes
, but to actual religious study.
Originally, the term Karma
was a Sanskrit
word for a rather specific spiritual concept, but over the centuries the word has been borrowed by countless languages, cultures, subcultures, religions, works of fiction, and even video games. Over time the word has evolved
to such an extent that many who consider it to be part of their everyday vocabulary are unfamiliar with its original definition.
While explaining the original meaning of Karma in a single paragraph is almost certainly oversimplifying it, the principle goes something like this:
- Actions have consequences.
- Divisibility is an illusion. All things are one. It is more true that we are a piece of the universe than we are individuals.
- Acting out of love makes the universe a better place, while malign motives degrade it.
- When you hurt someone else, you're actually hurting the universe at large, of which you are a part.
Therefore, when you commit an evil act, you are in a sense harming yourself and not just others.
Its most common and simplest definition (perhaps too
simple) is "If you do something bad, it'll come back to bite you in the ass."
Karma has also been equated to Equivalent Exchange
and Newton's Third Law of Motion: "For every action, there is an equal but opposite reaction."
Note that Hinduism
have different views on karma. In Hinduism, there is "good" and "bad" karma, while in Buddhism, all karma is bad
, and the goal is to achieve enlightenment and thus escape from its bonds.
Of course, several trope titles use the term "Karma" or "Karmic" (most of them incorrectly).