Yoga: What is karma yoga?
KARMA YOGA, THE YOGA OF ACTION
PRINCIPLES OF KARMA YOGA
“Karma Yoga is the selfless devotion of all activities, both internal and external, as sacrifice to the Lord, of all the works offered to the eternal, as Master of all energies and austerities of the soul”.
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The key components that determine that any action can be qualified as being Karma Yoga
It is not what you do that counts, it is the attitude during the action that determines whether a task is a karma yoga task, eg a liberal job or a compulsory job. Work is manuality Swami Sivananda teaches us “give your hands to work, and keep your mind fixed on the lotus feet of the Lord.”
The same as attitude. It is not what you do that counts but your real motive behind it. Your motive must be pure. Swami Sivananda says: “Man usually plans to get the fruits of his labor before beginning any kind of work. The mind is so structured that it can not think of any kind of work without pay or reward. A superb man can not do any service. He will weigh work and money on a scale. The Selfless Service is unknown to him ”
DO YOUR DUTY
Often “duty” is referred to as “correction”. You will incur demerit if you avoid your duty. Your duty is to God, or to the Self, or to the Inner Master who teaches you through specific circumstances of your life when they present themselves.
DO THE BEST YOU CAN
Whatever you have to do, do it as best you can. If you know a better way to serve, you should apply it. Do not stop for fear of effort or criticism. Do not work in a careless way just because nobody is watching you or because you feel that the task is not for you. Give the best of you. Try to perform actions that can bring the maximum of kindness and the minimum of evil. Practice Karma Yoga more and more.
RESIGNATION OF RESULTS
God is the doer. You are not the doer, you are only the instrument. You do not know the intentions of God or the plans of God. God is the actor. The Self never acts, it is modified. It’s only the Gunas, the three qualities, the ones that are playing. The way to realize this truth is to work constantly for the good of the work and to turn away from the results, good or bad. It is the desire for action that compels the individual. It is the detachment from the action that will dilute the karmic seeds. Detachment from the results also means detachment from the kind of work itself. There is no task that is inferior or superior to another task. Do not get attached to your work. Be ready to give up your work if necessary.
SERVE GOD OR THE SELF IN ALL
Do to others what you would like them to do to you. Love your neighbor as yourself. Adapt, adjust yourself, settle down. Supports the insult, supports the offense. Unity in Diversity. We are part of the same body. Practice acting humility. Beware of power, fame, name, pride, censorship.
FOLLOW THE DISCIPLINE OF THE TASK
Each job is a teacher of some kind. You can learn different skills by performing different jobs. Each job has different requirements in terms of time, degree of concentration, skills, experience, emotional delivery, physical energy or will. Try to accomplish whatever task you are doing, good.