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Gita Lesson - 0503: Superiority of Karma Yogi

Bhagavad Gita
Unit - 05
Lesson - 0503: Superiority of the Karma Yogi
By Raja Subramaniyan

A Karma Yogi is a person, who performs action with the right attitude. He is aware that he is doing all the action for the single purpose of making his mind mature enough to receive self-knowledge so that he can live joyfully.

A Karma Yogi is highly focused on his work. He is not worried about the possibilities of failure or success. He puts his best efforts, with complete concentration. He does not do any action for the sake of doing it. Nor he does action to satisfy anyone.

Example: A sales proposal is prepared by a Karma Yogi with an objective of making it 'the best'. He does not think about the outcome.

His focus is not to ensure that a sale is made. He neither wants to please his boss nor the customer with his proposal. His only aim is to put up the best-ever sales proposal. The proposal should cover everything that is expected and it should be perfect. A Karma Yogi works with complete dedication to bring up the best proposal within the agreed time limitation. Earning an increment, getting an incentive, aiming for the best sales-man award, scoring high on customer feedback and such results do not have any influence on the mind of the Karma Yogi while preparing the proposal. For some reason, if his boss decides not to submit this proposal to the customer, it will not cause any frustration in the mind of a Karma Yogi even if he had worked on the proposal staying late at work.

A Karma Yogi is highly focused on the work at hand and the intention is merely to do the best. There is no expectation that his work be certified as the best work. A good artist performs with such dedication. If we ask an artist, what he or she was thinking while performing, the answer will be 'nothing'. They do not even think that they are doing a job. Such is the focus on the work.

People have varied purposes while doing any action. The question 'why are you doing this action?' invariably brings answers that vary person to person or from time to time. A Karma Yogi will have only one answer. 'I do this action so that my mind becomes mature enough to comprehend self-knowledge'.

For a Karma Yogi, the goal and the means will never change. His goal is Joyful Living and his means is Karma Yoga. He is determined to remain focused on his chosen path until he reaches the destination of Joyful Living.

A Karma Yogi reaches his goal much faster than others do because he is focused on his goals and means.

Example: A person digs a well a few feet deep. If he does not reach water (expected result), he starts digging in another place.

It is not possible to reach the destination if one keeps changing his path this way. Those who are not following Karma Yoga will have multiple goals and they will keep shifting their priorities depending on what they think is right.

Example: A person works hard in the office and neglects her family. When the relationship at the home front is strained, she quits her job and dedicates her time for the family.

This is like a person trying to get water by digging the ground a few feet deep at many places. A Karma Yogi never shifts his attention. He has one goal. Whatever action he is performing, he does to the best of his ability, with the view of attaining mental maturity.

Example: There is only one correct answer to a math problem. There are infinite wrong answers to the same problem.

Similarly, there is only one correct way to do the work, which is doing it as Karma Yoga. The only goal for everyone is Joyful Living. A Karma Yogi knows this and others do not.

Teaching 16: Joyful Living should be the only goal of all human beings.

Chapter 2: Wisdom is the solution [Verse: 41]

2.41 Those who are on this path of yoga are resolute in purpose, and their aim is one. Oh Arjuna, the intelligence of those who are without this clarity is many-branched and endless.

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