From Hindupedia, the Hindu Encyclopedia

By Swami Harshananda

Sometimes transliterated as: Karya-karana-bhava, KArya-kAraNa-bhAva, Kaarya-kaarana-bhaava

Kārya-kāraṇa-bhāva literally means ‘cause and effect relationship’.

The six systems of philosophy generally try to establish their doctrines based on:

  • Vedas
  • Allied scriptures
  • Logic
  • Reasoning

One of the basic topics discussed by these systems is the origin of this world. If this world is being experienced by our senses and mind, it must have had a beginning. It is an original cause from which it has evolved. To prove this logically, the theory of cause and effect and their mutual relationship has to be stated clearly. This is technically called ‘kārya-kāraṇa-bhāva’. Unconditionality and invariability are indispensable for this phenomena.

The examples commonly given are fire as the cause and smoke as the effect, clay as the cause and a pot as the effect. Arguing backwards, all the schools agree that there must be an original cause or causes for this world. There are wide difference of opinion in the number and nature of these causes.


  • The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore