Why are some people in more favourable situations than others? Why are some rich, while others struggle? The answer to such a difference lies in the understanding of the punya and the pap. A punya is earned when our activities are good and comforting to others while a paap is earned when our activities are bad and cause suffering to the others. The result of punya brings worldly happiness and comfort, and the result of pap brings nothing but worldly suffering.
Our actions should not involve disturbing the comforts of other living beings, hurting or killing them in any way, directly or indirectly. By providing comfort and security to others, we gain punya. Punya brings happiness during this life or following lives. On the other hand, if we cause suffering or unhappiness to the others then we acquire paap. Such paap brings the unhappiness in this or future lives.
When talking about our behaviour, people mostly think of physical activities, but we should not forget our verbal expressions, and mental thoughts. For this reason, not only our physical activities should be wholesome, but our speech and thoughts should also be pure. We should also remember that we accumulate punya and paap (karmas) by asking someone else to do something for us or by encouraging someone else to do something.
Therefore what we have or how we are is a result of punya and paap caused by our past actions, whether good or bad. Knowing this would remind us that our activities should be wholesome if we want happiness and comfort in life, otherwise we should be ready to accept unhappiness and discomfort.
Everything in our lives is controlled by the accumulation of karma. To break out of the cycle of birth and re-birth we must free ourselves of karma. Thus ultimately we must free ourselves of Punya and Paap, following the Jain path will help us to do this.