Karma Yoga, the Science of Action

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Devotees in London

Summary of a more elaborate answer:

Karma (action) is a fundamental part of our existence and Karma yoga is a branch of Bhakti Yoga.

The spiritual soul is active by nature, it cannot stop doing something even for a moment. Even in sleep the jiva thinks, remembers, elaborates.

na hi kascit ksanam api

jatu tisthaty akarma-krt

karyate hy avasah karma

sarvah prakrti-jair gunaih

“Everyone is forced to act helplessly according to the qualities he has acquired from the modes of material nature; therefore no one can refrain from doing something, not even for a moment.[1]

The natural law imposes reactions for the actions done. And so we at the present are the result of what we have done in the past.

It is futile to complain about something you don’t have: simply you don’t deserve to have it. You have to learn the science of deserving something and eventually you’ll get it.

For this reason, Guru (spiritual masters), Shastra (the revealed Scriptures) and Sadhu (learned scholars) spare no effort to make us understand how we should act. A good part of the Vedas is dedicated to action.

There are various types of actions and consequent reactions.

akama sarva kama va

moksa kama udaradhih

tivrena bhakti yogena

yajeta paramam purusam

“A person who has broader intelligence, whether he be full of all material desire, without any material desire, or desiring liberation, must by all means worship the supreme whole, the Personality of Godhead[2].”

 Those who have the strong desire (sraddha) to elevate themselves pay close attention to the type of their actions. Through knowledge and practical application they can experience material pleasures and ultimately rise up to the world of Krishna.

[1] Bhagavad-gita 3.5

[2] Srimad-Bhagavatam 2.3.10


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