The Path of Action – Karma Yoga
What is Karma Yoga? Is it working tirelessly, consistently and perfectly well? Is it just discharging duties effectively?
The answer to this lies in the Bhagavad-Gita. The Gita defines Karma Yoga as the path of right action performed without any desires or expectations. In the 3rd chapter titled “Karma Yoga” Lord Sri Krishna says “With me in your mind dedicate all your actions to me without worrying about the fruits of action”.
Our mind has powerful likes and dislikes. When we cater to the whims and fancies of the mind we generally avoid or procrastinate what we don’t like. As the mind has endless desires the action that we perform will lack direction and energy. When we entertain these desires our work will naturally lack energy and we do not have the mental stamina to do the work and end up getting stressed, taking holidays, etc.
Not only these worries of the past, but craving for the fruits of future and tremendous excitement or fever for doing the present activity also dissipate energy and leave us mentally fatigued. The mind can’t program or plan a determined path. It is the intellect or the logical reasoning part of the brain which can steer us in the right direction.
For example, if we are on a diet and we are prohibited from eating sweets the mind will sill tempt us. But there is the little voice or the intellect which tells us “Don’t This is not good for you.” Lord Krishna lays out the formula for performing the right action.
He says “Pitch your mind to higher ideal in life. Let intellect direct all your efforts to that. Then you get tremendous energy and enthusiasm to do the work.” How true this is. When mind entertains selfish desires we drain out. The moment we identify an unselfish goal and work towards it we gain more energy and power.
Thus one should identify an unselfish goal and let the intellect direct all actions towards the goal. By listening to the intellect we become objective in action and not get entangled in our activities. So when we are unattached, drop our ego, not worry about fruits of action and just do our work without the fever of doing it, then it becomes karma yoga.
MK Gandhi had boundless energy until his dying days. The reason is obvious. His goal was to selflessly serve the nation and the people. Hence he was a true Karma Yogi.
Contributed By: Usha Hariprasad, [email protected]
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