Karma Yoga

How to Practice Karma Yoga, Check Principles & Benefits of Karma Yoga

Karma Yoga

Karma Yoga is an ancient spiritual concept. How many times have we heard stories regarding Karma yoga and various adages associated with them in Bhagavad Gita? Let’s get to the fundamentals of Karma Yoga and get answers to pertinent questions of karma yoga- what is Karma Yoga? ; Principles of Karma Yoga; How to practice karma yoga? ; and the Benefits of karma yoga in daily life.

What is Karma Yoga?

Carrying out one’s duties without any attachment to the results is Karma Yoga. Bhagavad Gita mentions Karma yoga as one of the paths to purify the mind and ultimately leads to spiritual liberation. Krishna suggests that karma yoga path centres on dharma (Duty) and work (actions). Karma or actions should be such that one’s dharma is like doing God’s work and in that sense being “like unto God Krishna” in every moment of life. To simply put it do your duty with utmost care and dedication without any expectations and attachments to results.

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Principles and benefits of Karma Yoga

 

Principles and benefits of Karma Yoga

Most of our activities and actions in daily life either attract attention or avoid attention. However spiritual path of karma yoga emphasises to perform all our actions without any misgivings or expectations. Let us understand the principal factors described in Bhagavad Gita for karma yoga practice

  • Faith – Faith in higher reality is a must. Nurturing faith by keeping the company of pious spiritual people is advocated. Infuses positivity and wisdom of better living.
  • Right knowledge – Without right knowledge, we continue to engage in egocentric actions and that way we keep on collecting immoral karma. The Bhagavad Gita recommends Jnana karma yoga which is the yoga of practising selfless actions with right knowledge as the correct approach.
  • Purity – Karma yoga cannot be experienced with an impure mind. An impure mind is filled with tainted thoughts and purposes. The purity of the mind has to be maintained at all the three levels, i.e., intent, thought and action. All desire-ridden actions arise since the Tri-Gunas are at play viz- Sattva, Rajas and Tamas. They are responsible for binding actions of selfishness, egoism and ignorance. The predominance of Sattva guna should be inculcated so that one can transcend all the gunas and engage in desire-less actions.
  • Objectivity or Detachment– Most people have strong likes and dislike about most things. What we like today is not necessary we like it tomorrow. This is called attachment. Gita mentions liberation cannot be attained with desire oriented actions and attachments. This leads to emotional instability. Feelings of worry, fear, stress and anxiety and these emotions takes one away for the goal of liberation. Dispassion in every action is a must to practice true karma yoga.

  • Discernment – The seekers of spiritual liberation should avoid indiscriminate application of the principles of karma yoga to any action without giving it a careful thought. The purpose of karma yoga is to do one’s duties and serve the righteous purposes of creation. The Holy Scripture Bhagavad Gita recommends the cultivation of discernment or buddhi in order to practice the true karma yoga.
  • Self-absorption – Bhagavad Gita describes the Atma-samyama- yoga which helps a karma yogi to continue his efforts with equability and dispassion.
  • Devotion – Devotion is the final fruit of a karma yogi. Pure devotion arises from the predominance of Sattva guna where the devotee has completely dedicated himself to the service of humanity or higher reality through persistent practice of karma yoga, after having acquired right knowledge and by renouncing the fruits of his actions, cultivated right discrimination and steadied his mind in the contemplation of higher consciousness through the practice of contemplation and meditation.

 

How to practice Karma Yoga?

How to practice Karma Yoga

  1. Karma arises due to desires and not from our actions. All the desire-ridden actions will bind us, and the cycle of birth and death will continue to bind us. So curtail and reduce your desires, but continue with your activities even if they are unpleasant or painful to perform.
  2. Do not neglect your daily duties and responsibilities. Bring your spirituality and balanced approach to all your actions. Try to make it a part of your daily living.
  3. Actions govern our existence. Higher consciousness created life and living by action and collective action (karma) of living beings keeps the world going. So do your duty with detachment.
  4. Renunciation is not to mistaken for an escape from our daily duties and responsibilities. Doing so would add to our selfish karma. True renunciation is giving up of the desires for the fruit of our actions and surrendering to the will of higher reality should be our approach.
  5. Learn to engage your minds in contemplation. Make an effort to remain in an absorbed state and perform actions with sacrificial attitude.
  6. When performing any action be completely free from attachments and desires but engage in actions to uphold your Dharma (attend to your daily duties and attend to the regularities of the world)

Now that is it clear How to practice Karma Yoga?

Keep doing your actions without attachments to the fruits. “karm karo sirf aur phal ki chinta mat karo!”

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