A karmic debt is, basically, any cause that hasn’t
yet found its effect.
According to the rishis, punishment in the afterlife
is the result of unpaid karmic debts. If I commit a
crime and don’t pay for it here on Earth, I will pay
by suffering later. Hell is the condition of karmic
suffering. It is worth remembering that hellish
experiences don’t depend upon dying. People have seen
Satan in dreams, visions, imagination, and even in
the flesh. Our minds put us in hell, and they can
take us out again.
Whether suffering is created here on earth through
physical pain or in the afterlife through psychological
torment, the causes remain the same, since they can
be tracked back to the working of Karma.
By saying that bad karma will one day catch up with
wrongdoers, are we guilty of wish fulfillment?
Skeptics would certainly say yes, because if a karmic
debt is paid outside the material world, it isn’t
being paid at all.
The matter can’t be easily settled, but in spiritual
terms we can observe the difference between someone who
is mature–and by implication has paid off some debts–and
someone who is immature, loaded down with unpaid debts.
The spiritually mature person pursues a meaningful life
through self-worth, love, truth, appreciation and
gratitude, reverence, and non-violence.
இ Adapted from Life After Death by Deepak Chopra