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Gita Lesson - 0804: Description of Karma Yoga

Bhagavad Gita
Unit - 08
Lesson - 0804: Description of Karma Yoga
By Raja Subramaniyan

The difference between Karma and Karma Yoga lies in the attitude with which the action is done. One need not make any addition/ deletion/ modification of activities that are being done by him. One can continue to do whatever that is being done in terms of doing professional work, carrying out personal/ family/ social obligations and activities for entertainment.

In order to convert Karma into Karma Yoga, one should understand the purpose for which the work is being done. The purpose is not for any visible benefit but for gaining adequate mental maturity so that the truth regarding the self could be fully understood. Once we gain Self-Knowledge then we can live joyfully. Therefore, converting Karma into Karma Yoga is the first milestone to be crossed before one can hope to reach the final destination of Joyful Living. Karma Yoga involves changes in attitude as detailed below.

1. All of us are bound to action and no one can remain in inaction.

2. We are doing our action as our part to keep the universe going.

3. There is no other purpose in doing our action. We do not do action for obtaining any specific result except for gaining mental maturity.

4. We should adhere to Dharma in all the actions under all circumstances. Special Dharma overrules Ordinary Dharma and we should not abstain from action on any pretext.

5. We should do our duty without the notion "I am doing". We should not think or talk about our work as if it is a big accomplishment.

6. We need to do our duty to the best of our ability all the time.

7. We have no right on the fruits of our action.

8. We need to do our duty as our offering to God.

9. We need to accept the results of our action as a gift from God.

10. We need to reduce the actions that are prompted by the likes and dislikes of the mind.

11. We need to increase the actions that are prompted by the rights and wrongs of the intelligence.

12. We must carry out all the actions prescribed by our tradition/ culture.

If we do action without converting them into Karma Yoga as suggested above, we will be making our likes/ dislikes stronger. As a result, we will develop attachment, which will corrupt our intelligence further and our intelligence will no longer be able to guide us to Joyful Living. Therefore, we need to do our action as Karma Yoga so that we do not remain attached to the world forever resulting in continuation of suffering.

Chapter 3: Karma Yoga [Verse: 030]

3.30 Therefore, Oh Arjuna, surrendering all your works unto Me, with mind intent on Me, fight without desire for gain and the mind free from attachment and anxiety.

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