Karma, a word of Sanskrit origin, in the simplest terms means a deed or an action. It is also regarded as a cycle of cause and effect, wherein the actions of a person (cause) have a certain effect, either good or bad, on the future of the individual (effect).
Like many religions, the Hindus too believe in the concept of Karma. It makes an appearance in Indian spirituality due to its role in the attainment of Moksha. Basically, it is believed that every action of an individual has a certain outcome. If a person commits a good deed, they receive a reward and if a person commits a bad deed, they receive a punishment. These effects are not necessarily immediate and some believe that bad deeds have a repercussion only in a person’s next birth, thus stopping them from attaining Moksha. Unless a person is absolved of their sins, they cannot be freed from the chains of time.
People always attempt to maintain a balance between their good and bad deeds, trying to gain atonement for all their wrong doings. Prayers, fasts and offerings to the Hindu gods are just one of the many ways people try to absolve themselves of their sins. Devotees visit various Hindu temples across India, reading spiritual books and chanting prayers to the almighty, asking for forgiveness.
Many devotees also await the popular religious gathering called the Kumbh Mela. It is believed that if one performs good karmic actions like taking a kumbh snan (holy bath during the Kumbh Mela), it is considered more auspicious due to the time period, thus helping one pave their way towards immortality or Moksha!