What one will become in his next life depends on one’s actions in this life. It is called the law of karma, and means that “as we sow, so shall we also reap.” Karma is a Sanskrit term, meaning work, and the law of karma refers to the principle, that our work, or actions, result in reactions, that further bind us to the circle of birth and death. This means the same amount of suffering I now give to other living entities will come upon me later, either in this life or in the next. In this way my present life, with its happiness and distress, is also a result of my actions in previous lives.
An illustration of the effect of karma is given in the Sanskrit term for meat: “mamsah.” The word “mamsah” is compounded from the two root words “mam” and “sah.” Mam means me, and sah means him. In other words: now I kill him and eat him, and in the next life he will kill and eat me. This is karma: as we sow, so also shall we reap.