Prarabdha Karma

Last updated: December 21, 2023

What Does Prarabdha Karma Mean?

Prarabdha karma consists of the past actions that are affecting the current life. Karma, in general, refers to all actions in life and the effect they have on life in the future, including future incarnations. Good karma leads to future happiness, while bad karma leads to suffering. Prarabdha karma cannot be changed, because it is the karma created earlier in life, or in past lives, that is yielding results in the present.

Prarabdha is a Sanskrit word meaning “commenced” or “begun,” while the word karma comes from the root kri, meaning “to act,” so prarabdha karma translates as “action that has begun.”


Yogapedia Explains Prarabdha Karma

Prarabdha is one of three types of karma. The others are sanchita karma, which is the sum of all karma that has been collected and kriyamana karma, or agami, which is the karma that is currently being created and will yield results in the future. Prarabdha is actually a component of sanchita karma.

Prarabdha karma is only exhausted after its consequences have been experienced or its debts paid. There are three types of this karma:

  • Ichha, that which is personally desired
  • Anichha, or karma without desire
  • Pareccha, or karma that is the result of another’s desire

The yogi who has achieved union with the Higher Self does not experience ichha prarabdha karma but is still subject to anichha and pareccha.

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