Swami Krishnananda says that the four most important facets of our psychological makeup are: the intellect or the reason, the will or the volition, the feeling or the emotion, and the energy or the capacity of action. These correspond to the four methods of Yoga: Jnana Yoga, Raja Yoga, Bhakti Yoga, and Karma Yoga.
Nehaabhikramanaasho’sti pratyavaayo na vidyate; Swalpam apyasya dharmasya traayate mahato bhayaat. 40. In this there is no loss of effort, nor is there any harm (the production of contrary results or transgression). Even a little of this knowledge (even a little practice of this Yoga) protects one from great fear. COMMENTARY: In Karma Yoga (selfless action) even a little effort brings immediate purification of the heart. Purification of the heart leads to fearlessness.
What does this mean?
Karma Yoga, or selfless service, entails integrating mindfulness and intention into daily tasks, elevating actions from menial to meaningful. It is performing our duty with no focus on what what we might recieve in return. Now, some may think that this sounds easy, but humans don’t generally do things without a purpose, and when we have a purpose to our service then that becomes our ‘fruit’. So Karma Yoga might seem like the easiest form of Yoga, but instead it can be the hardest because embracing it fully means challenging and overcoming our usual habit of expecting things. Duty for duty’s sake takes practice and true intention.
“Most of us do not live. We only react. We have no independent, deliberately chosen way of living. We adjust ourselves to conditions prevalent outside so that our life is mostly a kind of accommodation with existing conditions and prevalent situations in life. But it is necessary to develop a stuff in one’s own self. It is a very unfortunate way of living to be just a bundle of reactions to outer conditions.” – Swami Krishnananda
Whenever duty becomes necessary or is reactionary there is always a psychological connection with the result, but how can we perform our duty wholeheartedly when our heart is not in the duty but in what the duty will bring to us? Duty becomes a sort of instrument that we are employing, a means to an end rather than the end in and of itself. However, when we truly embrace Karma Yoga the benefits spontaneously follow without our asking for them. Duty is not a dry performance. It is filled with the potentiality of the fulfillment of our life. The mind has to be purified of all emotional dross, of any kind of material and social prejudice, and then we will find that duty performed with intention is the same as fulfillment. This is Karma Yoga. “Resort to that,” says Bhagavan Sri Krishna in these verses of the Bhagavadgita.
If you are interested in practising Karma Yoga with us, then please use this form to get in touch.
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