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From Hindupedia, the Hindu Encyclopedia

By Swami Harshananda

Anārabdha literally means ‘not begun’.

Theory of karma and re-incarnation is accepted by Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism. According to this theory, the principle,

‘As you sow, so you reap’ can be applied to the field of our actions, both physical and psychical.

Karma’ is the unseen effect of an action which will become manifest in course of time under favourable circumstances. This karma can be classified as follows :

  1. Sañcita - ‘the accumulated’
  2. Anārabdha - ‘not begun’
  3. Ārabdha or prārabdha - ‘the begun’
  4. Kriyamāṇa - ‘being done now’
  5. Āgāmi - ‘giving fruit in future’

The entire mass of karma which has accumulated over several births, which is yet to fructify, is ‘anārabdha.’ It is from this stock of karma, that a part gets ripened and causes the present birth.

Philosophical and religious works declare that ātmajñāna (self- realization) can destroy this mass of anārabdhakarma, thus preventing future transmigrations.

The word is also used in its literal sense of anything that is not begun or undertaken.


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