Karma Yoga – Yoga of Action
Karma Yoga Meaning
The word “Karma” means action and Karma Yoga is the Yoga of Action or duty. Karma Yoga is carrying out one’s duties without any expectations or without any attachment to the results. It is a selfless service to humanity. It is the Yoga of action which purifies the heart and prepares one’s inner self (the heart and the mind) for the reception of Divine Light. Bhagavad Gita mentions Karma yoga as one of the paths to purify the thoughts and feelings that ultimately leads to spiritual liberation. It is Himself Lord Krishna who suggests the path of karma yoga to Arjuna.
Karma Yoga Basics
It is not possible for us to keep quiet and do nothing. Whether we realize it or not, all of us perform actions all the time. Even sitting and thinking is action. All the Karmas that we do are desire oriented and are equipped with some expectation of fruits. This binds us with the world. But when we have decided to follow the path of Karma Yoga, then all our actions will be a service to the society. All our actions will have least bothering about the results. We will act as if we are an instrument in the hands of the Lord and doing all the work for him.
If we act with a feeling that we are simply a participant in the cosmic activity of Nature, without expectation of fruits, then our Karma will not bind us. Karma then will become Karma Yoga. To liberate, we should work unselfishly. We should surrender all our actions and their fruits to the Lord. That will free us from the bonds of Karma.
Principles of Karma Yoga
Let us understand the five principal factors described in Bhagavad Gita for karma yoga practice –
Bhagavad Gita mentions that liberation cannot be attained with desire oriented actions. Such actions lead to emotional imbalance. Feelings of worry, fear, stress, and anxiety take one away from the goal of liberation. Dispassion in every action is a must to practice true karma yoga. You should know that God is the doer and You are not. You are only the instrument. The way to realize this truth is to constantly work for work’s sake without being concerned about the result, whether good or bad. It is the desire that binds an individual. It is the detachment from the action that will dissolve the karmic seeds. Detachment from results also means detachment from the type of job itself. There is no job that is inferior or superior to a different job. Don’t be attached to your job. Be ready to give up your job if necessary.
In Karma yoga, the purity of the mind has to be maintained. All desire-ridden actions arise and are governed by three Gunas, viz- Sattva, Rajas, and Tamas. These three Gunas are responsible for binding actions of selfishness, egoism, and ignorance. We should transcend these Gunas and move ahead with the pure intention of doing the work well, right and pure motive.
The purpose of karma yoga is to do one’s duties sincerely and serve the righteous purposes of creation. The Holy Scripture Bhagavad Gita recommends the cultivation of discernment or intellect in order to practice the true karma yoga. Do what you are required to do. Perform your duties with full interest and enthusiasm.
Love all people around equally. Understand their thoughts and views well. Realize that all of us are one and part of the same universe. All of us are a participant in the cosmic activity of Nature. There is a universal energy which binds us all. Serve all with a view that we all are the child of God. All have the presence of divine light in us and it is our duty to serve all as and when any one of us is in need.
Do Your Best
Whatever you do, do your best. Use the best available way to serve. Do not stop because of fear of criticism. Give your best in every act. Karma Yoga is a selfless service and for the upliftment of yours. So the results will come when you do your best.
Benefits of Karma Yoga
- Karma Yoga purifies your heart by doing the selfless service.
- It will develop in you the divine love, humility, tolerance, sympathy, and mercy.
- Egoism, hatred, jealousy, ideas of superiority and all the kindred negative qualities will vanish.
- Karma Yoga is the tough yet the simplest path of self-realization.
- It makes you broad-minded.
- Selfishness will be eradicated by the practice of Karma Yoga.
- You will begin to feel oneness and unity.
- Eventually, you will obtain knowledge of the Self.