Moral Acts Create Primarily Moral Karma

One of the confusions that tends to permeate the discussion about the law of Karma is the implication that because one is morally or ethically good, that one should therefore have physical pleasure or well-being. Sri Aurobindo exposes this confusion and points out that each type of action has its result primarily within its own sphere, and only secondarily will have effects of a different nature.

“…in the ordinary notion of Karma we are combining two different notions of good. I can well understand that moral good does or ought to produce and increase moral good and moral evil to farther and to create moral evil. It does so in myself. The habit of love confirms and enhances my power of love; it purifies my being and opens it to the universal good. The habit of hatred on the contrary corrupts my being, fills it with poison, with bad and morbid toxic matter, and opens it to the general power of evil. My love ought also by a prolongation or a return to produce love in others and my hatred to give rise to hatred; that happens to a certain, a great extent, but it need not be and is not an invariable or rigorous consequence; still we may well see and believe that love does throw out widening ripples and helps to elevate the world while hatred has the opposite consequence. But what is the necessary connection between this good and evil on the one hand and on the other pleasure and pain? Must the ethical power always turn perfectly into some term of kindred hedonistic result? Not entirely; for love is a joy in itself, but also love suffers; hatred is a troubled and self-afflicting thing, but has too its own perverse delight of itself and its gratifications; but in the end we may say that love, because it is born of the universal Delight, triumphs in its own nature and hatred because it is a denial or perversion, leads to a greater sum of misery to myself as to others.”

The direct impact of moral or ethical action is thus primarily in the field of moral and ethical result, with tangential and secondary effects in other forms of energy possible, but not necessarily supremely powerful in those other fields. Modern research shows, for instance, that strong emotions, such as love or hatred, release various biochemical reactions, such as stimulating hormones, which can indeed impact the physical body and its ultimate health, positively or negatively as the case may be, but such effects may be offset or overcome by specific direct actions taken to support physical health and well-being or not.

Sri Aurobindo,Rebirth and Karma, Section I, Chapter 12, Karma and Justice, pp. 104-105,