Karma Yoga is the path of action. It is the path of disinterested
service. It is the way that leads to the attainment of God through
selfless work. It is the Yoga of renunciation of the fruits of actions.
Karma Yoga teaches us how to work for work’s sake—unattached—and how
to utilise to the best advantage the greater part of our energies.
‘Duty for Duty’s Sake’ is the motto of a Karma-Yogin. Work is
worship for the practitioners of Karma Yoga. Every work is turned into
an offering unto the Lord. The Karma Yogin is not bound by the Karmas,
as he consecrates the fruits of his actions to the Lord. Yogah
Karmasu Kausalam—Yoga is skill in action.
Generally, a work brings as its effect or fruit either pleasure or
pain. Each work adds a link to our bondage of Samsara and brings
repeated births. This is the inexorable Law of Karma. But, through the
practice of Karma Yoga, the effects of Karmas can be wiped out. Karma
becomes barren. The same work, when done with the right mental attitude,
right spirit and right will through Yoga, without attachment and
expectation of fruits, without the idea of agency or doership, with a
mind balanced in success and failure (Samatvam Yoga Uchyate),
does not add a link to our bondage. On the contrary, it purifies our
heart and helps us to attain salvation through the descent of divine
light or dawn of wisdom.
A rigid moral discipline and control of senses are indispensable for
the practice of Karma Yoga.
Brahmacharya is, indeed, essential. Cultivation of virtues such as
tolerance, adaptability, sympathy, mercy, equal vision, balance of mind,
cosmic love, patience, perseverance, humility, generosity, nobility,
self-restraint, control of anger, non-violence, truthfulness, moderation
in eating, drinking and sleeping, simple living and endurance, is very
Every man should do his duties in accordance with his own Varna and
Asrama, caste and station as well as stage in life. There is no benefit
in abandoning one’s own work in preference to another’s work.
Some people think that Karma Yoga is an inferior type of Yoga. They
think that carrying water, cleansing plates, serving food to the poor
and sweeping the floor are menial works. This is a sad mistake. They
have not understood the technique and glory of Karma Yoga. Lord Krishna,
the Lord of the three worlds, acted the part of charioteer of Arjuna. He
also acted the part of a cowherd.