The notion of “Karma and Dharma” originate in the Prathamo Upanishad that was received from Brahma by the Saptha Rishis, the patrilineal ancestors of Shroutha-Smartha Brahmins . This Upanishad precedes the Rik Veda and has been passed down father to son, at the time of the Upanayana (Opening of the eyes) during the Yajnya Upaveethi investiture ceremony. Briefly, and without dwelling on the Upanishad itself (which may not be revealed to the uninitiated, but only interpreted to them by learned Arya-Brahmanas), this Upanishad explains the purpose with which Brahma created Manushya. Manushya was created by Brahma to build (Karma) a Heaven on Earth on the three principles of truth, virtue and beauty and within the ambit of the divine law (Dharma) of generosity, compassion and moderation. Every step that Manushya takes towards this goal brings untold joy. Every step away brings untold misery. Manushya are the individual spirits that are born from the will of Brahma. They don fresh bodies by discarding worn out bodies, time and time again. But the accumulation of Karma and Dharma follow the spirit. The accumulation of consequences of the deeds of Manushya attach to the comparatively immortal Manushya rather than to the temporal bodies Manushya occupies. Enjoyable and unpleasant consequences do not cancel each other out, but, rather play out until the goal is accomplished or the accumulation reaches a nullity. The Grace of Brahma attained through any of Brahma’s “officers”, can lead to an end of the cycle of births and re births by the accumulation of consequences being passed on to another willing Manushya. Naturally, there will be many takers for enjoyable consequences but not many for the painful ones. Such negotiations may be conducted off-stage (in the period between temporal “birth” and “death” with Brahma’s officers or during the material manifest with the help of proper Arya-Brahmana priests (including astrologers and other adepts) Chandrashekhara Bharathi, Shankaracharya of Shringeri had this very interesting analogy to make about Karma. You are in a boat at sea. The winds and waves are your Prarabhda Karma (the results of your bright thoughts words and deeds through all your previous lives and times and the results of all your dark words, thoughts and deeds through all your previous lives and times). The boat is your body. The sail is your senses. The rudder is your mind. You are the inner controller: the immortal. You have no control over the winds and waves, but you can manage (Praptha Karma) the rudder and the sails to achieve your mission in life. Remember, even the winds of good fortune, badly handled, can capsize the boat. Even the waves of misfortune, properly handled can help you achieve your mission. The Saptha Rishis were humans at the dawn of the present creation (Kalpa) who sought answers to the mystery of why they were. They sought an answer so fervently that Brahma came to them in human form to answer their questions.