Karma yoga means to be absorbed in action or “The Yoga of Action“.
A yoga where you have to perform daily tasks such as serving parents, feeding pets, protecting trees and plants, and vacuuming the house, washing dishes, or talking to someone, etc. These activities also involve your mental activity, thoughts, imagination.
If you engage yourself in any activity with the right attitude, you are practicing Karma Yoga. This is what is included in Karma Yoga.
What is Karma Yoga?
The word ‘karma’ means “action, to work”. Any mental or physical activity is called karma. The result of this action is also called karma. Thus the term also refers to the earthly law and principle of cause and effect.
The word karma is derived from the root “Kru”. The word karma is derived from the suffix ‘mind’ in the root “Kru”. Karma means action, business, luck, etc. Thus, in the broadest sense, Karma Yoga refers to the yoga in which efforts are made to attain God while performing actions.
We always do some activity (physically or mentally) in every moment of our life, which comes under karma.
When you act without worrying about the consequences, without knowing whether it will be in your best interest or not, it is called “Yoga of Karma”. For this, a verse has been said in the Shrimad Bhagavad Gita that “going for action, do not desire for the fruit”.
If you involve yourself happily in any activity, it is Karma Yoga. If you do it with a lot of effort, only karma will happen, not yoga.
Karmayoga in Bhagavad Gita
Karmayoga is expounded in the Bhagavad Gita. Karma is considered the cause of bondage in Indian philosophy. But in Karmayoga that form of karma has been described which is not the cause of bondage. Yoga means the efficient performance of actions (Yoga: Karmasu Kaushalam). It means to act in such a way that it does not create bondage.
Now the question is, which actions create bondage and which do not? According to the Bhagavad Gita, the actions which go for God with a selfless spirit do not create bondage. They are helpful in attaining the supreme state of salvation. In this way, doing selfless work without any attachment and karma is really Karmayoga and by following it man will be on the way to free himself from his karmic debt.
The 3 Types of Karma
In Vedanta philosophy, three types of karma have been told-
Sanchit Karma – Sanchit Karma means that the actions we performed in those bodies which we have assumed in the previous birth are called Sanchit Karma.
Prarabdha Karma – Prarabdha Karma is such a Karma that is very strong among the Sanchit Karmas, these Karmas are so strong that they go to the next life to enjoy the fruits of the Karmas. It is certain that the origin of our happiness or unhappiness is according to Prarabdha karma.
Kriyaman Karma – These are also known as Agami Karma. Agami means the action to be done next, the actions which the person has not started yet, are the upcoming actions that give fruit in the future. The Agami karma is under the control of human beings, if we want, we can make them if we want, we can destroy them.
Who is a Karma Yogi?
Karmayoga teaches that act for the sake of action, act without attachment. A karma yogi is one whom he enjoys doing and has no other reason for it.
If a yogi works selflessly in the path of God, he does not have ego, greed, anger, and lust, then he is called a karma yogi.
In simple words, a karma yogi does not renounce action, he simply renounces the fruit of action and becomes free from the miseries of action. His position is like that of a giver in this world and he never worries about getting anything.
Karma Yogi characteristics:
- There should be no rigidity in a Karma Yogi and there should be no feeling of greed, anger, and lust.
- They will never act out of praise, name and fame, or gratitude.
- They see everyone equally. Colour, caste, creed, religion, etc. should be able to mingle with them.
- Karma Yogi are always loyal to their duty and never expect any result.
How to Practice Karma Yoga?
Everyone can practice Karma Yoga. To understand, take a look at some of these simple ways to practice Karma Yoga in your daily life;
A karma yogi needs to have a good attitude towards all his duties/roles, he has to have good thoughts towards every person and work. Do every work with full awareness and while doing your work one should have love and a good attitude.
No work should be done with greed and evil motive. Also, one should not think of any kind of profit from that work. Start the change by changing yourself, never criticize yourself.
For anyone who wants to take up Karma Yoga, you should think about and write about all your roles. Karma Yogi has to have dedication and devotion towards every work and he should perform his every duty.
A Karma Yogi has to serve not only the individual but also the animals and birds etc. He does not discriminate between any person and animal and has respect and love for all.
Benefits of Karma Yoga
The benefits of Karma Yoga can be felt after some time of regular practice.
Actually, those who apply this yoga in life never have bad thoughts towards others nor do their mind gets distracted about their work. It helps to reduce the ego and fulfill without attachment, and without personal desire.
A karma yogi has a positive attitude towards his work, which can remove negativity. Your priorities become clearer, peace of mind may improve, which can help keep mental problems at bay as well.
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