I am delighted to be able to share with you all yet another interesting topic this week. Last week I released my book in eBook format across various eBook platforms. Below is a link with which you can access and purchase it. I’ll love to get feedbacks, suggestions for a possible future revised edition. Happy reading!
Today I’ll like to harp on a subject which I find interesting and very informative as well; Karma Yoga. Before elaborating on this subject I’ll like to give a brief introduction to the word Yoga. Yoga means to connect with the absolute, and as such there are various forms of Yoga. Different forms of Yoga have different requirements and practices. We have Jnana Yoga, Karma Yoga, Bhakti Yoga, etc. What is popularly referred to Yoga today, is but a branch of Yoga called Astanga yoga or The Yoga of Postures and breathing techniques.
In other words, Astanga yoga would mean the yoga which helps us connect with the Absolute through the process of postures and breathing techniques. Our focus today however is on Karma Yoga. So what Is Karma? We must have heard of the word so many times and people are quick to quote this word when someone gets a repercussion for an action they performed. We have three types of Karma; karma, Akarma and Vikarma viz action, inaction and prohibited action. These three types or forms of karma basically show us how intricate karma is. This is to also clarify the popular misconception that Karma only means repercussion. Of course Karma means the principle of cause and effect or like Newton’s Law which states that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.
There is more to Karma though, than just cause and effect. This basic principle however shall be used here to explain or give some insight into what Karma yoga is all about. So if Karma is the principle of cause and effect, and Yoga means to connect with the absolute, so Karma Yoga should mean in simple words; connecting with the absolute through the principle of cause and effect. How can this be done? If every action we take or engage in is sure to bring us a reaction then how can we act in such a way that our actions bring us closer to the Supreme destination? By engaging in Karma Yoga. When we perform any type of action we are sure to be bound by the reactions of that action, whether positive or negative. The positive results bring us pious credits which we can enjoy this life time or in another life time, while the negative results bring us impious credits which we have to suffer this life time or another.
Either way we are bound by the fruits of our actions. Now many people may wonder what is wrong in enjoying the positive or pious credits from good deeds that I do. The simple answer is, in as much as positive actions are advocated, if they are done separately from the Supreme i.e. not in Yoga, then we are sure to be tied to the results of such good deeds. Good deeds tie us to the circle or repeated birth and death because in as much as we have some credit to enjoy or suffer we have to always take birth in the material world to experience these results. It is like a criminal who gets parole for good behavior then goes out to commit crime and he is sent back to prison to again suffer his punishment. So what does Karma Yoga offer? Karma yoga offers a means or a process by which we can engage in our daily activities and even in activities which may bind us to positive results and yet be free from those results.
This is achieved by offering the activity we engage in to the Supreme Lord or surrendering the results for the Lord’s enjoyment. A typical example would be working for the Lord. In the unavoidable discharge of one’s daily activities, we will see that we have to work to maintain the body. The process of working can be very binding if one is not careful, because we encounter a lot of things in the process. Those who are merchants have to lie in order to make a profit, people have to scheme and plan much to the loss of others in order to make gains, innocent living organisms are killed knowingly or unknowingly as we commute to our places of work every day, etc.
If the goal of our work is to give pleasure to our senses and to enjoy the results then we are sure to face the reactions for all the things we do, such as the examples given above, because we are responsible. However if we simply work with the understanding that we are doing our work for the satisfaction of the Lord and show this by actively dovetailing our work with the Lord as the center, through donations of the fruits of our actions, then the Lord is sure to protect us from the intricacies and results of our actions or Karma. In as much as this is a good means to gradually rise to the platform of total absorption in the Lord’s service, one should not think that this is a viable means to engage in various sorts of negative activities and think that by giving the fruits to the Lord in sacrifice or donation that one is immediately free from the results of that activity. That is to say, Karma yoga is not a consensus for capricious activities. This naturally brings us one of the types of Karma which is prohibited action. We should not engage in prohibited activities and expect the lord to protect us.
When one knows what is real action or Karma, when one knows what is inaction and what actions are to be avoided then he is the real knower of things. Till next week do read share and follow for more. Hopefully I will develop this subject further next week.