Whether a student of spirituality is new or has been studying for a while, it always pays to review the basics, in this case, “what is karma?”.
“Karma” comes from the Sanskrit root kri, which means to act, do, or make. It is exactly the same as the Latin verb ago from whose form, actus, we get our English words act and action.
Both verbs are “all purpose” words–that is, they can be applied in many situations to express the idea of many forms of action both mental and physical. This is important to know so we can realize that karma covers the entire range of human action, whatever its character.
Karma, then, means any kind of action, including thought and feeling. But it also means the effects of actions. For karma is both action and reaction.
Being a fundamental principle of existence it may be thought of as the law of causation governing action and its effects in the physical and psychological plane.
It extends back to the moment of our entry into relative existence and extends forward to the moment of our exit from relative existence–even if that exit is a matter of transmutation of consciousness rather than external cessation of manifestation in a relative form or body.